Computer Crime Research Center


Ensuring the observance of civil rights while collecting of information using technical means

Date: September 01, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Natalia Akhtyrskaya

The development of scientific-technical progress conditions not only progressive changes in the economy, but also negative trends of criminal society development. This causes the emergence of new ways and forms of criminal offences. It is manifested that criminal groups often utilize multiple computer facilities and new information technologies. Thus, a huge international criminal group of hackers was nabbed in Russia, as was reported earlier in the interview with head of the Department K at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (department fighting high tech crimes in Russia). Criminals conducted virus attacks on the websites of banks and online gambling companies in the UK. Then they extorted money from these firms through various payment systems in exchange for cessation of their illicit acts. As was established, criminals acted from Balakovo, Saratov region, St.-Petersburg and Moscow, Russia. Late in July 2004, nine persons were detained during raids in several Russian cities. Many of them started to plead guilty at once. Police spokesman observed that besides players in the case who reside in CIS countries, there were residents of foreign countries. Particularly, he stressed that Russian police conducted each action in close cooperation with the British colleagues. A criminal case was instigated under several articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Police brought charges against two accomplices of the group; another six suspects on the case were detained by Latvian police. Preliminarily, nine UK-based companies became victims of the hackers. Hackers demanded a ransom between $5,000 and $50,000 from the management of the companies. The damage inflicted amounts to GBP 40mn.

Computer crimes are distant. So, according to the information provided by law enforcement of the Republic of Belarus, they initiated 11 criminal cases against several persons living in Germany. The suspects were the former residents of Belarus and Russia.

July 27, 2004, Google and Yahoo! websites were down approximately from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. due to the new version of MyDoom virus attack. The previous versions attacked websites of Microsoft and SCO.

Such messages raise the question about the necessity of a unified approach to counteraction to criminal actions, development of new technical control means, detection of information network intrusions, and also more perfect legal regulation of responsibility for the mentioned offences.

The global practice testifies that lawmakers differently evaluate such actions. Therefore, an information theft case was opened against a person who took the picture of someone else’s papers without right in France; in 1983 information was recognized as a thing in the Netherlands.

In 1973 a criminal liability for alteration, destruction or access without right to records on computer carriers was implemented in Switzerland. Germany introduced a criminal liability for computer fraud and computer espionage in 1986.

Technical equipment of law enforcement is the basis of modern revealing of crimes; legislation is a necessary means of turning information into evidence. Therein, the image shot by the video control camera showing two unknown persons right at the moment when they were activating the explosive device, served as the main evidence to arrest terrorists during the investigation of explosions in Istanbul on August 9-10, this year.

National laws of the CIS countries contain observation, tapping, and interception of data procedures involving seize of postal or telegraph correspondence, email and facsimile. But there’s a difference in approaches to these procedures, although, taking the international character of crimes committed using information technologies into account, it is necessary to unify approaches to legal provision of collecting information by using technical means procedure.

According to the draft of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine, seizure of correspondence and application of technical means to obtain information ought to be carried out only when there are due grounds to think that the correspondence from the suspect or accused to other persons, or from other persons to the suspect or accused, and also information exchanged by them, contain crime-related information, or documents or objects that could be of evidential significance, and if these data can’t be obtained in any other way.

The correspondence that can’t be subjected to seizure is as follows: letters of all kinds, wrappers, packages, telegrams, radiograms, emails, etc.

Having the grounds, the prosecutor should address the President of the local Court of Appeal on request of the investigator to seize or apply technical means to obtain information. The President of the Court of Appeal views the materials, listens to the prosecutor and takes the decision. The decision of seizure and application of technical means is inappealable and compulsory. The decision should specify the term of information collection. The investigator passes the decision to the head of the corresponding institution.

In emergency cases, seizure or application of technical means can be carried out during checking of complaints or other crime-related information, where it’s impossible to obtain information in any other ways in order to prevent crime or to establish the truth. Examination of the correspondence is carried out in presence of witnesses, or an expert if needed.

Tapping is conducted if there is a threat of violence, extortion of other illicit actions against a victim, witness or victim family member, basing on the reasonable decision of the prosecutor.

Not more than 30 days of tapping are allowed during criminal proceedings. This term can be extended if reasonably based, but not for more than 30 days each time. After the expiration of term of the authorized tapping, the justice, having known the prosecutor’s opinion, informs, in writing, persons whose telephone numbers were tapped and/or recorded within reasonable terms, but prior to the end of investigation.

The analysis of criminal procedural legislation shows that it is expedient:

1. to implement several articles regulating the order of collecting information using technical means (tapping, observation, etc.) to the Criminal Procedural Code;
2. to legislatively determine the circle of persons participating in the information collection. Laws should confine the circle of present persons due to the possibility that the fact of taking information from the channel of communication can be disclosed, as such: to carry out collecting of information without witnesses, irrespectively if they are employees of communication companies;
3. to sharply determine the term of installation of technical means to take information. Taking into account that information collection will be carried out during checks of applications or information, it is expedient to define 10 days term, i.e. to limit it to the duration of the check;
4. to analyze sanctions of the articles prescribing responsibility for public dangerous acts that pose elevated danger risks (extortion, terrorism, threat of causing physical injuries, high tech crimes) in cases of felonies;
5. to define information collection as an investigative work or action. It is impossible to make information collection an investigative work taking into account participation of witnesses;
6. to provide and attach a written statement of information taken using technical means to the report.

Guarantee of rights and liberties in the information sphere are among more important principles of a jural state and civil society. These rights are included in the acting mechanism of governmental management in democratic society, it defines protection of rights and liberties of a person in the information sphere. According to Kormich, a unified information structure should have unified principles of protection, namely:
- legal;
- organizational;
- technical;
- cryptographic;
- economic.

Only when all these elements function properly, it will become possible to maintain the appropriate system of prevention of criminal manifestation and observance of human rights and liberties.

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2005-09-02 22:48:39 - Good blog with interesing information! Best
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