Feeds

So what could the MoD learn from the Stasi?

Headspace: Olfactional infighting

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

"Some courts have dismissed the argument that a 'sniff' constitutes a search as absurd, on the basis that mere sensory perception cannot infringe the right to privacy because odours emitted from a person are exposed to the plain perception of the public at large. This reasoning ignores the fact that dogs are used precisely because of their supposed ability to detect odours, which are not exposed to the plain perception of the public at large."

"The US Supreme Court has recently recognised the threat to privacy posed by new surveillance techniques in Kyllo v. United States. In that case the police had aimed a thermal-imaging device at the appellant's residence to detect heat emanations associated with high-powered marijuana growing lamps. Based on the thermal-imaging information, police obtained a search warrant for the residence and found marijuana. In the appeal against the resulting conviction, the court held that when the police obtain by sense-enhancing technology any information regarding the interior of the home that could not otherwise have been obtained without physical intrusion into a constitutionally protected area, that constitutes a search and reasonable grounds are required to make that search legal. The court observed that this would assure preservation of that degree of privacy against government that existed when the right to privacy was adopted.

"There are some judges who believe that if constitutional scrutiny is in order for the imager, it is in order for the dog. Some courts have declared that the use of a sniffer dog, without reasonable suspicion to justify it, amounts to an illegal search and that any evidence found as a result of it should be declared inadmissible."

Having dealt with the law on privacy, I briefly discussed the difficulties presented by the use of olfactory evidence.

"Any questions?" the chair asked.

A man in the front row put his hand up.

"Presumably what you are saying about intrusion on privacy and legality applies to a lot of the new technologies we are developing."

His accent was soft and American.

"Probably."

"And are you saying that if we suspect someone is a suicide bomber, we invade his privacy without any prior suspicions, and we find bombs, that we would not then be allowed to rely on the evidence because of the privacy breach?"

"Well, no. In practice, and in those circumstances, that evidence would be permitted despite police having broken the law to obtain it."

Randy shouted out from the back row. "It's not that simple though Amber. If we think someone is carrying a bomb, we don't stop and search the guy, we terminate him."

Extracted from Headspace by Amber Marks, published by Virgin Books at £11.99. Copyright © Amber Marks 2008.

Get more information and buy Headspace here

Amber Marks is a criminal lawyer and freelance writer. She is presently undertaking doctoral research into new surveillance technologies at King's College, London.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.