Saturday, April 4, 2009

Computer Forensics and the Law - First Class

I actually got to attend class today.  I'm glad I didn't do anything dumb like drop the class because it looks like it will be pretty fascinating.  Both teachers seem to be very knowledgeable in the subject matter.  Steve Schroeder was involved in prosecuting some serious cybercrime cases before he retired.

We watched a fascinating Front Line called "Cyber War" from several years ago.  Even though it was old, the issues are still very relevant today.  It featured quite a bit of footage of Dick Clark, which was pretty interesting in and of itself.  Clark was trying very hard to prevent a "Cyber Pearl Harbor".  There was lots of chilling explanation of various investigations like "Moonlight Maze" and "Eligible Receiver" in which revealed just how vulnerable DOD computer systems were.

In lecture, Schroeder explained how a program under the Clinton administration had trained attorneys and FBI in investigating and prosecuting cyber crime.  And then how under Bush, this kind program was shut down, and the focus shifted to communications monitoring.  He managed to present all this in a non-political way, but it is interesting how you cannot escape the politics of such discussions.

We also discussed things like "what constitutes authorized access?" and "should violations of Terms of Service really expose you to criminal liability?" (see the Myspace Mom case).

While doing my reading I had to remind myself what the difference between common law and civil law is (common law is a system of law based on the idea that court cases should be decided in a consistent way with previous cases; civil law pays little attention to precedence), and I ran across this very interesting map: (click here).

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