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Breath Test For PC Porn



November 13th, 2008 00:28 am | by Ed |

Researchers at Perth's Edith Cowan University working with partnership with the Western Australia Police have come up with a tool that they're beta testing that they describe as a "random breath test". It's purpose is to scan computers for illicit images of the sort that won't ever appear on somebody's corporate holiday cards but they've obviously either ignorant of or uncaring about the potential for misuse of such a tool or the very real ineffectiveness of it.

It's basically a customized Linux environment on a "Live Cd" (or perhaps a bootable flash drive) that can boot and run without writing anything to the hard drive of the machine being investigated. (apparently this makes the evidence acceptable in Australian courts.)

They're not giving any clues about how the software on this custom linux build is supposed to identify which files are the one's they're after.

This first version's stated intention is to be used to catch people who download child porn. Next up they're working on another one that will search for financial documents for use in fraud cases and probably searching for so-called "terrorist key words"

The problem is that the only people they're going to catch is either the dumber criminals or innocents who have no idea what's going on until somebody shows them something awful that was "found" on their computer.

People and organizations that really have something to hide will probably have it hidden well enough that their hard drives could be scanned all day for a month and nothing be found. The only real thing that this software is going to accomplish is to make it easier for governments and Law enforcement to snoop through your stuff.

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