General discussion


Ethics of illegal hacking

By axg ·
Sorry if this has been discussed before, but my searches didn't turn up any references. So my mini-rant...

I see in the news that "Ronald C Kline, a former senior judge from California, was sentenced following a lengthy case involving evidence gathered by illegal hacking".

Now I agree that jail is where this pervert should be, but I am concerned about the illegal hacking. Some of the evidence used was gathered by a trojan horse hack.

Surely there is enough support in the current surveillance laws to enable legal electronic watching. The s/w may involve trojan horse algorithms but it should be placed there legally with a warrant.

I would hate for a far worse offender than Kline to get off because of illegal surveillance.

And I hate the idea that some hackers may be able to justify their illegal activities because it "may" catch child abuser.

When I was young it was "acceptable" for police to extract a confession by beating a suspect. It has taken 30 years to overcome this "end justifies the means" physical assault excuse, why should we tolerate it in the virtual world?

Your comments please, regards Annette

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That practise is both unacceptable and illegal

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Ethics of illegal hacking

So the evidence gathered by it's use should never have been accepted by the court as it is Tainted Evidence.

At a higher court it should be possible to get all the evidence presented thrown out because of the admitted Illegal Activity used to gather the evidence. Because some of the evidence gathered was tainted it will be up to the court to decide if this Tainted Evidence played a big enough role to allow any other follow up investigation if it does then everything gathered as evidence should be considered as inadmissible and the offender walks away free because there is nothing to present as evidence not even the sized computer will be admissible.

The only way around this is if the offender was prosecuted under some of the new laws enacted since 9-11 and charged under Anti Terror Related Laws then it's my understanding that there is no need for Legally obtained evidence to be used as the authorities can claim that they where protecting the society so their methods justify the ends.


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The evidence was not gathered by law enforcement, but by a private citizen.

by deepsand In reply to That practise is both una ...

Said citizen subsequently gave it to law enforcement.

The court of 1st instance did in fact throw out the evidence; but, on appeal, it was ruled admissible owing to the fact that, as said citizen was not acting as an agent of the State, the State had committed no illegal act. At this point, the defendant plead guilty.

Barring a successful arguing of the guilty plea having been elicited by way of duress at the hands of the State, the defendant is bound by his plea agreement, leaving him with a civil action against the hacker as his only recourse.

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The private citizen...

by wmlundine In reply to The evidence was not gath ...

...who recorded the cell phone conversation of Newt Gingrich, which resulted in a Gingrich conviction on tax evasion charges, was prosecuted by the state under criminal law. I guess it depends on who you hack.

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Not who, but how & where.

by deepsand In reply to The private citizen...

In this case the "hacker" is Canadian, so that there is no legal nexus by which he can be charged for any criminal offenses.

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The where...

by wmlundine In reply to Not who, but how & where.

...puts me in mind of the "NASA" hacker who resides in England I think. Are Canadian and GB laws so different?

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to The where...

So I wonder what the difference actually is here.


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It's a matter of jurisdiction.

by deepsand In reply to No

The U.S. authorities developed their own evidence, based on information that originated with a non-citizen acting in a foreign nation. In this instance, the Canadian authorities would need to be persuaded to prosecute under Canadian law.

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So Sandy are the Feds chasing the citizen

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to The evidence was not gath ...

To charge with Terror Related Activities like they seem to be doing to anyone caught Hacking a Computer System lately?

It would be interesting to see this happen as the citizen in question deserves this I certainly don't support Child Abuse of any kind but by the same token I don't see how one Illegal Activity justifies the other unless of course it's the Government doing the Illegal things under the protection of Federal LAW!

Besides it will no doubt be argued that when the Appeal Court Accepted the Illegal Evidence Gathered this was sufficient grounds for a Duress Plea anyway as the Court in question was unwilling to support the LAW.

God I hate it I'm working with Legal WHORES way too much and am beginning to think like them.


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Not that I am aware of.

by deepsand In reply to So Sandy are the Feds cha ...

In this case the "hacker" is Canadian, so that there is no legal nexus by which he can be charged for any criminal offenses.

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OK I'll ask the obvious question

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to The evidence was not gath ...

As the system was hacked just how did the Court Accept The Chain Of Evidence? And allow a conviction to be recorded as the State didn't initially Hack the System there is no possibility of knowing what was originally on the system and what had been added after the Original Hack that was not known about by the Systems Owner.

This to me sounds like a great way of some pay back against someone you don't like who has made a decision that has adversely affected you in some manner.

From a strictly Legal Prospective as the system was broken into from outside it's far more likely the the outside influence added the images and could have continued to do this over time to get a successful outcome to suit their own ends.

I work with the high end professionals and they all know Bugger All about their systems just last week I scanned a Surgeons system and the AV product was only 3 months out of date and the Spy Ware Products came up with a message that the last update was 481 days ago and I was asked why this was Important.


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