Will police be allowed to break your computer? SL

The Ministry of Justice plans to adopt legislation that would in its current revision allow police to install spyware on your computer and thereby spoil and paralyze its security, if you will be a suspect. Moreover, in order to do so, they would be allowed to secretly break into your residence. With the installed spy software they would be able to monitor all your communication even if it would be otherwise encrypted.

Such legislation raises more questions than answers. The idea is that repressive authorities would gain access to the suspect's computer remotely or with physical access thus entering the living quarters of the suspect. The problem arises because the same computer can be used by several family members or even unrelated people. It is rare to have users on a computer with separate accounts for individual user. Furthermore, it is also highly likely that suspects, who in reality are doing criminal acts, would be qualified enough to have a computer or hard drive already encrypted. For the remote installation of spyware the interrogators would probably also use the Internet or local network. Again there are possible unintentional victims of such access.

The question is also regarding used spyware: where to get it, who would program it and is it really a good idea to finance with taxpayers' money development of such software or acquisition of it? We currently have 3 dominant operating systems Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. We also have several different hardware platforms so in a total there is more than 10 different systems. How do officials in legislator branch imagine the "support " for all of the operating systems and platforms? If they don't support one of them the criminals will adjust accordingly and the software will be useful only for the abuse of innocent people.

Installation of such a program would open on a computer dedicated security holes, through which your usage could be monitored (and possibly trigger as well?) by the police. But such built-in vulnerabilities can also be used by others and that already happened in the past. Are such security holes on citizens computers desirable if we are to promote e-government services such as electronic voting? Could it happen that someone would manipulate the votes of electronic elections with the help of the spyware or as a consequence of it? With this method it would suddenly be possible to manipulate any number of votes and we are expected to support such possible chain of events with the adoption of this law?

It is interesting that with the growing corruption scandals and economic crimes in Slovenia the parliament and legislature are trying to open the door to Pandora's box, because nobody knows in what this law can turn into. Anti-Corruption Commission has resigned due to inactivity of the legislature in adopting anti-corruption laws and the government started dealing with an extremely complicated and almost nowhere else used law of the state spyware. Do we in Slovenia really have such a phenomenon of high-tech criminals that police would need such laws? How about rather taking care of the old fashion criminals, especially white collar, which can be detected by conventional methods and who we all know are predominant.

In a time of general crisis, when in Slovenia there are 120,000+ unemployed and social security is tied to the ownership of property, the Ministry of the Interior manages to invent the most incredible investments. We can start with the purchase of 25 Volkswagen Tuaregs in the crisis year of 2008. Attempt to purchase a water cannon in 2010, buying of illegal IMSI Catcher and call for another one in 2012. While police officers due to poor working conditions, especially low-wage, strike almost every year.

In connection with this topic it is useful to watch the following Christmas message:

Missing flash plugin. Download here.

Source: Guardian


Appendix 9. 1. 2014

During the course of the Arab Spring protests, the protesters stormed the premises of the Egyptian secret service where they found among other documents a price list of FinFisher company. In it there is a purchase price of licensed software for spying on the victim's computer. If you set aside the fact that this company is selling spy software to dictatorships and that it was used to detect and torture dissidents, journalists and activists, it's also interesting to see how much it all costs. In the document the basic version of the so-called "FinFly lite" software with a license, CD-ROM, instruction manual and support for one year would cost us € 34,200.00. Of course you have to purchase also the two-day training so you know how to use this software. That would set us back another € 11,020.00. Experience tells us that in our country the price is never too high for stuff like this so we would probably take the full package of server, workstation and 10 licenses for Windows and Mac OS X for the "action" price of € 287,137.00. Since Egypt is a poor country and Slovenia does not really excel in negotiating skills and if you add the inflation since when this document was issued (2010) it would probably cost us a lot more. Is this the price we are willing to pay for those drastic cuts into constitutional rights in Slovenia?