Tuesday 13 March 2012

Extradition .com ‘wire fraud’ - Who next for extradition?

In my last Blog Post I ended with:
"Mulgrew is also critical of America’s claim that any ‘wire fraud’ crossing its national boundaries gives it the right to prosecute. ‘British parents with teenage children should know that a simple email sent through a US server could be enough – in the wrong circumstances – to see them extradited."

Does anyone really know where their communications get routed? Where is the cloud things are located?
Try http://www.webwiz.co.uk/domain-tools/traceroute.htm 

Now today we hear that Richard O'Dwyer, TVShack creator US extradition has been approved.

O'Dwyer argued that TVShack did not store copyright material itself and merely directed users to other sites, making it similar to Google. Apparently US prosecutors state that they have jurisdiction to hear the TV-Shack case as it runs through a .com domain name.

The Telegraph says that a British attempt in 2010 to prosecute the operators of a similar website, TV-Links, failed because of European laws that give internet firms such as Google protection against copyright infringement claims if they have little influence over the material to which they link.

According to the Open Rights Group UK citizens should not be subject to US legal standards on copyright infringement. Reported in Computer Weekly, David Cook, a cyber crime expert at law firm Pannone, says " The 'mere conduit' defence for online file-sharing hosts was successfully used in the UK in the 2010 case of TV-Links. I then mounted a multi-faceted defence in the OiNK case, which included the 'mere conduit' point, but the prosecution dropped the case prior to responding in Court to the issues raised. I used a nearly identical defence in FileSoup and, again, the prosecution backed off and discontinued the matter."
But he also says that "The mere conduit defence relies on the host being unaware of precisely what the material was"

Speaking to BBC Newsbeat, Mr O'Dwyer said: "I've done nothing wrong under UK law, and, it's pretty ridiculous isn't it? "A 65-year-old man was extradited a few weeks ago, so if they can extradite someone that old they can extradite anyone really, couldn't they? "Copyright laws differ between countries and that's yet to be fought, that argument."

In the Guardian Julia O'Dwyer said: "The US is coming for the young, the old and the ill, and our government is paving the way. By rights it should make for an interesting conversation between the Obamas and Camerons aboard Air Force One – but I'm not holding my breath. If Richard appears to have committed a crime in this country, then try him in this country."

Recently five people were selected to ask their questions live and put "Obama in the hot seat" in the forum arranged by Google Plus. The most popular question among Google Plus users asked to vote was about the case of Richard O'Dwyer. (See here)

A questioner asked why extradition laws written to combat terrorism were being used in the case.

Obama said that separation of powers meant he played no role in the case but that more broadly defending intellectual copyright protects US jobs.

However, the president repeated concerns about the two bills aimed at cracking down on online piracy that have stalled in the US Congress in the face of widespread objections. Obama said the need was to balance protection of intellectual property without undermining the openness and transparency of the internet.

Monday 5 March 2012

Hackers’ ancient modern and extradition

There has been a lot in the press recently about phone hacking and that hackers working through a Chinese-based IP address that broke into the network of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and gained "full functional control" of computers (Telegraph). Hackers have been around for a long time though, as a recent New Scientist article highlighted.

Things did not go smoothly for Marconi and Fleming at the Royal Institution one day in June 1903. Just before Fleming was due to receive Marconi's Morse messages from Polduh Cornwall, a rhythmic ticking noise sputtered from the theatre's brass projection lantern - Someone was beaming powerful wireless pulses into the theatre and they were strong enough to interfere with the projector.
The Morse printer first of all kept outputting the word rats. It then got more personal, with “There was a young fellow of Italy, who diddled the public quite prettily" it trilled. Rude epithets from Shakespeare followed.

Marconi was probably a bit peeved, but he did not respond directly. Fleming fired of a missive to the Times, dubbing the hack "scientific hooliganism", and "an outrage against the traditions of the Royal Institution". He asked the newspaper's readers to help him find the culprit.
Nevil Maskelyne, a British music hall magician wrote back to the Times and justified his actions on the grounds of the security holes he had revealed for the public good.
Marconi had claimed that his wireless messages could be sent privately over great distances.
Marconi in London's 
St James Gazette in February 1903 claimed that "I can tune my instruments so that no other instrument that is not similarly tuned can tap my messages."
One of the big losers from Marconi's technology looked likely to be the wired telegraphy industry, and they hired Maskelyne to undertake spying operations. He obliged by building a radio mast and met success by receiving Marconi messages with a 25-foot collecting circuit. Marconi had patented a technology for tuning a wireless transmitter to broadcast on a precise wavelength. A tuning that he claimed meant confidential channels could be set up. Maskelyne’s broadband receiver bypassed all that.
Nasa was one of the organisations breached by the British hacker and Asperger's sufferer Gary McKinnon in 2001 and 2002. He is still battling extradition to the US. (Blog July 2009,  Guardian and at http://freegary.org.uk/ )

Gary Mulgrew, one of the NatWest Three and the author of an account of two blood-spattered years spent at the hands of America’s penal system says that Gary McKinnon, faces an ordeal of terrifying brutality if he is extradited to the United States (Daily Mail). McKinnon claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs when he hacked into 97 Nasa and Pentagon computers from his flat in 2002.

Mulgrew is also critical of America’s claim that any ‘wire fraud’ crossing its national boundaries gives it the right to prosecute. ‘British parents with teenage children should know that a simple email sent through a US server could be enough – in the wrong circumstances – to see them extradited.