imkittymyers at hotmail dot com
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
The science of computer forensics is helping to nab criminals. Here's a great article in Popular Mechanics (bookmark them if you haven't already) on the subject and how it works.
The Digital Detectives
HIDDEN FOLDERS, "DELETED" FILES AND INTERNET CACHES HIDE CLUES CRIMINALS NEVER KNEW THEY LEFT BEHIND
“It is unusual today to have a case that doesn’t involve computers,” explains Mary Beth Buchanan, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. She adds that computers are not just a source of evidence, but a source of better evidence. “Through the use of computers, people store information they might not otherwise. They might not even know it is being stored,” Buchanan says. “The value [of the evidence] is also greater because that information is stored in an organized manner and the computer leaves footprints of an individual’s every action.”
The police used DNA evidence to link Rader to the crime scenes and in August 2005 he was given 10 consecutive life sentences. After more than 31 years and 100,000 man-hours, Stone’s digital detective work cracked the BTK case within 15 minutes of receiving the disk.
For those who don't like/hate the Patriot Act, it saved this 13-year-old girl's life.
Holtz tried to contact Yahoo to get the Internet protocol (IP) address of the profile, but it was 6:30 am at the Yahoo corporate offices on the West Coast and she couldn’t get anyone on the phone. Eventually, an agent in Sacramento, Calif., was reached, who called a contact at Yahoo. Minutes later, Holtz faxed a letter to Yahoo asking for the IP address, citing Section 212 of the Patriot Act.
Prior to the Patriot Act, which was passed in October 2001, many corporations required search warrants or subpoenas before granting government requests for customer information, mainly to shield themselves from lawsuits. But Section 212 releases companies from civil liability in cases where someone is at risk of “immediate danger of death or serious physical injury.” This case was one of the first times the provision was used.