December 29, 2006

Who Thinks Up These Reassuring Names? [3:00 pm]

Justice Dept. Database Stirs Privacy Fears - pdf

The Justice Department is building a massive database that allows state and local police officers around the country to search millions of case files from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal law enforcement agencies, according to Justice officials.

The system, known as “OneDOJ,” already holds approximately 1 million case records and is projected to triple in size over the next three years, Justice officials said. The files include investigative reports, criminal-history information, details of offenses, and the names, addresses and other information of criminal suspects or targets, officials said.

[...] [C]ivil-liberties and privacy advocates say the scale and contents of such a database raise immediate privacy and civil rights concerns, in part because tens of thousands of local police officers could gain access to personal details about people who have not been arrested or charged with crimes.

[...] In an interview last week, [Deputy Attorney General Paul J.] McNulty said the goal is to broaden the pool of data available to local and state investigators beyond systems such as the National Crime Information Center, the FBI-run repository of basic criminal records used by police and sheriff’s deputies around the country.

By tapping into the details available in incident reports, interrogation summaries and other documents, investigators will dramatically improve their chances of closing cases, he said.

“The goal is that all of U.S. law enforcement will be able to look at each other’s records to solve cases and protect U.S. citizens,” McNulty said. “With OneDOJ, we will essentially hook them up to a pipe that will take them into its records.”

[shudder]

Slashdot discussion: OneDOJ to Offer National Criminal Database to Law Enforcement

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An Interesting Slashdot Discussion: What Would You Ask An RIAA “Expert?” [12:30 pm]

Slashdot | What Questions Would You Ask An RIAA ‘Expert’?

In UMG v. Lindor, the RIAA has submitted an ‘expert’ report (pdf) and 26-page curriculum vitae (pdf), prepared by Dr. Doug Jacobson of Iowa State University who is the RIAA’s expert witness in all of its cases against consumers, relating to alleged copyright infringement by means of a shared files folder on Kazaa, and supposed analysis of the hard drive of a computer in Ms. Lindor’s apartment. The RIAA’s ‘experts’ have been shut down in the Netherlands and Canada, having been shown by Prof. Sips and Dr. Pouwelse of Delft University’s Parallel and Distributed Systems research group (pdf) to have failed to do their homework, but are still operating in the USA. [...] Both Ms. Lindor’s attorney (pdf) and Ms. Lindor’s son’s attorney (pdf) have objected to the introduction of these materials, but Dr. Jacobson’s document production and deposition are scheduled for January and February, and we would love to get the tech community’s ideas for questions to ask, and in general your reactions, thoughts, opinions, information, and any other input you can share with us. (In case you haven’t guessed, we are the attorneys for Ms. Lindor.)

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Here We Go Again [12:26 pm]

Media, tech firms probe possible high-def DVD hack - pdf

The companies behind an encryption system for high-definition DVDs are looking into a hacker’s claim that he has cracked the code protecting the new discs from piracy, a spokesman for one of the companies said on Thursday.

[...] If the encryption code has been cracked, then any high-definition DVD released up to now can be illegally copied using the Muslix64 “key,” according to technology experts.

Jeff Moss, organizer of Defcon, the world’s largest hacking convention, said in an interview that Muslix64 appears to have found a real breach in the encryption system.

Slashdot’s discussion: HD-DVD and Blu-Ray AACS DRM Cracked; see the YouTube movie here

Later (2007-01-01): Studios’ DVDs Face a Crack in Security

Later (2007-01-26), confirmation: AACS confirms hacks on high-definition DVD players - pdf

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