Facebook and Telegram seizures reveal the problems that plague the online criminal investigations

by Andrea Monti – Originally published in Italian by Infosec.News

An article published on page 30 of IlSole24Ore of 11 November 2020 reports on the seizure-by-access-blocking of Facebook and Telegram by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Naples. According to the newspaper, the Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered a “seizure-by-obscuration” of several domain names and a significant number of IPs.

The Guardia di Finanza (Italian tax police force) notified the magistrate’s decision to the operators and internet service providers. While the latter are executing the magistrate’s order, a further note from the Guardia di Finanza arrives asking them not to follow up the inhibition or in any case unblock sixty-six domain names, among which the first two are Facebook (it-it.facebook.com) and Telegram (t.me). Continue reading “Facebook and Telegram seizures reveal the problems that plague the online criminal investigations”

Defending Computer Criminals

Andrea Monti – Adjunct Professor of Public Order and Security
University Gabriele d’Annunzio – Chieti-Pescara, IT – amonti@unich.it

Paper presented at the Tokyo CodeBlue Conference 2020

Abstract

This paper is about defending a person accused of computer crime and computer-related crime in Court. It is intended as a primer for those defence counsel who have no experience in the specific field of criminal trials involving computer, digital assets and the Internet. At the same time, it provides insights to computer experts wanting to enter into the digital forensics sector, because it offers a way to understand how a lawyer thinks, and what are his needs when designing a defence strategy.

The focus is on the practical issues, as emerged from the direct trial experience of the author and of other criminal trial lawyers, therefore the legal theory and the ICT technical aspects are not discussed in detail. Both the legal and the IT professional, though, can find in the discussion enough hints to widen their understanding of the matter and improve the effectiveness of their strategies.

The paper is structured in three part: a criminological profile’s taxonomy of the defendants, the analysis of the digital investigation carried on by the prosecution to build the case, and the trial strategies of the defence counsel.

Finally, a note on the cases discussed in this paper: where possible, references to court decisions are available, but in some cases, for confidentiality reasons, the paper analyses the relevant elements without providing further information. Continue reading “Defending Computer Criminals”

Project Gutenberg and the Crusader of Copyright

In the name of the new crusade against the “pirates of copyright” the public prosecutor of Rome seizes gutenberg.org, the site of the cultural project that digitizes and puts online copyright-free books. But neither the court nor the Guardia di Finanza has noticed. Is it a justifiable mistake? by Andrea Monti – originally published in Italian by Infosec.News
Continue reading “Project Gutenberg and the Crusader of Copyright”

Adobe’s About Face: useless feature or stroke of genius?

The news is not exactly fresh, but has been recently bounced again: Adobe’s Project About Face should make Photoshop able to detect human face editing and revert the image to its pristine condition.

As Adobe states on its website,

This new research is part of a broader effort across Adobe to better detect image, video, audio and document manipulations. Past Adobe research focused on image manipulation detection from splicing, cloning, and removal, whereas this effort focuses on the Face Aware Liquify feature in Photoshop because it’s popular for adjusting facial features, including making adjustments to facial expressions. The feature’s effects can be delicate which made it an intriguing test case for detecting both drastic and subtle alterations to faces.

The first reaction would be something along “who cares? There are plenty of tools to create my deep fakes, so… screw Adobe!” But that would be a rather dull conclusion, as by developing these technologies (assumed that they work properly) Adobe is creating a (big and wide) market niche. Continue reading “Adobe’s About Face: useless feature or stroke of genius?”

Apple, Facial Recognition and the Right of Defense (plus, a sting at the GDPR)

The news is gaining momentum: Osumane Bah, a student that has been charged of multiple ? theft in ? Apple stores located in several cities of the United States, filed a suit against the Cupertino-based company seeking for a compensation of one billion USD for having been wrongly identified by Apple as the author of these crimes. The decisive evidence that lead to his involvement in the investigations, this is Mr. Bah’s basis of the claim, is that he has been ? wrongly identified by a facial recognition system operated either by Apple or a security company hired for the job. Continue reading “Apple, Facial Recognition and the Right of Defense (plus, a sting at the GDPR)”