[This was originally published on Aviary Magazine and mirrored on attrition.org.]
Not a day goes by without someone asking me where to find specific information. After a smart ass response about the value of a search engine, I can usually come up with a link or starting place for them. Because of recent articles on HNN and OSALL, I have received more requests for information on laws regarding computer crime.
To satisfy the law enforcement types as well as the hackers asking for the information, hopefully this article will do it. This is a quick compilation of some of my computer law bookmarks. Along with each site I will include some additional information about the site so you can determine if you really want to visit the site. I know that visiting two dozen sites in a day can get really old.
FEDERAL GUIDELINES FOR SEARCHING AND SEIZING COMPUTERS
“These Guidelines are the product of an interagency group, informally called the Computer Search and Seizure Working Group. Its members were lawyers, agents, and technical experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the United States Secret Service; the Internal Revenue Service; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the United States Customs Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; the United States Air Force; the Department of Justice; and United States Attorneys’ offices.”
SUPPLEMENT TO FEDERAL GUIDELINES FOR SEARCHING AND SEIZING COMPUTERS
“This Supplement is intended to update the Federal Guidelines for Searching and Seizing Computers that was published in July 1994. The Supplement describes relevant federal and state cases decided since July 1994 as well as a number of additional earlier decisions.(1) The cases in this Supplement are organized according to the sections in the Guidelines.(2) Where a case relates to more than one section, it is discussed in more than one place.”
International review of criminal policy – United Nations Manual on the prevention and control of computer-related crime.
“The burgeoning of the world of information technologies has, however, a negative side: it has opened the door to antisocial and criminal behavior in ways that would never have previously been possible. Computer systems offer some new and highly sophisticated opportunities for law-breaking, and they create the potential to commit traditional types of crimes in non-traditional ways. In addition to suffering the economic consequences of computer crime, society relies on computerized systems for almost everything in life, from air, train and bus traffic control to medical service coordination and national security. Even a small glitch in the operation of these systems can put human lives in danger. Society’s dependence on computer systems, therefore, has a profound human dimension. The rapid transnational expansion of large-scale computer networks and the ability to access many systems through regular telephone lines increases the vulnerability of these systems and the opportunity for misuse or criminal activity. The consequences of computer crime may have serious economic costs as well as serious costs in terms of human security.”
Depart of Justice: Office of Public Affairs Press Releases
For the most part, some of these are rather dry and they tend to pat themselves on the back a bit much. However, a rare few actually give interesting information about computer related crimes and the DOJ response to them. Some of the more interesting ones recently:
WISCONSIN HACKER CHARGED WITH MILITARY BREAK-IN
“PHONE PHREAKER” SENTENCED TO 18 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR DEFRAUDING PHONE COMPANIES, HARRASSING USERS
Argentine Computer Hacker Agrees to Waive Extradition and Returns to Plead Guilty to Felony Charges in Boston
ISRAELI CITIZEN ARRESTED IN ISRAEL FOR HACKING UNITED STATES AND ISRAELI GOVERNMENT COMPUTERS
Law Enforcement Links Directory & Police Search Engine
While not very comprehensive yet, this search engine promises to be an extremely valuable resource in the near future. My quick searches for various computer crime fighting LE agencies yielded most of the results I needed.
“The PRC offers consumers a unique opportunity to learn how to protect their personal privacy. Our publications provide in-depth information on a variety of informational privacy issues, as well as practical tips on safeguarding personal privacy.”
http://www.pimall.com/nais/n.tel.tape.law.html ONE PARTY/TWO PARTY TELEPHONE TAPE RECORDING LAWS
Also includes: STATE BY STATE LIST & STATE LAW FOOTNOTES
An example of the footnotes that make this page extremely helpful:
AZ is a one party state, ARS 13-3005.A(1)(2), AND also permits a telephone “subscriber” (the person who orders the phone service and whose name is on the bill) to tape (intercept) calls without being a party to the conversation and without requiring any notification to any parties to the call, ARS 13-3012(5)(c).
Canadian Criminal Code
The downside to this URL is the entire set of codes is in a single ASCII file. This is good for those of you who like to parse out specific information, but living hell on those who like to read consistently.
Code of Federal Regulations
Fully searchable Code of Regulations. Quite handy for those of you doing a little more in depth research into the law.
The U.S. House of Representatives Internet Law Library U.S. Code (searchable)
Another good site for searching the US Legal codes.
Cornell US Code Server
My personal favorite for searching through US Law. Their frame system is easy to navigate and allows for easy to determine absolute URLs. This is great when you want to find a specific law, and give someone a URL that points directly to the right text.
Example of State Statutes
Many people ask me about looking up their state statutes. I don’t have a single answer to help everyone, but this site shows a good example of what a little searching can do. Your state regulations ARE up on the web somewhere. You may have to dig a bit to find them.
The Colorado Statute Manager Web Site allows search access to the 1999 Colorado Statutes and Court Rules. This information is easily accessed by typing in keywords or numbers. The Statute Manager program is supplied by Intellinet as a free public information service. Intellinet also offers a paid subscription service which provides Annotations for the Statutes and Court Rules as well as a hyperlinked Table of Contents and Popular Names Index. These are available via the Internet on an annual subscription or on a “Daily Pass” basis.
Copyright Law and Fair Use
While not comprehensive, this is a great primer for those just getting started on learning the legal aspects of copyright and fair use.
Search the Copyright & Fair Use Site
Huge legal search engine
State Cases and Codes
Not only US Code, but more importantly, past State Cases. This is ideal for searching for case law.
Self Incrimination and Cryptographic Keys
Answer that age old question “do I have to give up my pass phrase?!”.
As with all things, this is by no means a complete list of legal resources. In fact, most of these have been collected over the past year or more. All of the URLs listed here worked as of 12/06/99. I can’t emphasize enough the value of a good search engine. You would be amazed at the amounts of resources out there just waiting to be used.