(en) Chicago Cops on the Net (fwd)

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Wed, 18 Jun 1997 21:28:37 +0000

A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA

>This piece came out a while ago, but i just received it...
>Phred Scare: Chicago Cops on the Net
>by Lewis Z. Koch
>The Chicago Police Department wants to spy on you. If you use the Net,
>watch out for commie-pinko-drug-using-terrorist-sounding messages zipping
>through Chicago territory. Chicago's Police Superintendent, Matt L.
>Rodriguez, perhaps longing for some of those new federal antiterrorism
>dollars, sees a definite role for his cops chasing cyberterrorists, hackers
>and crackers.
>"In the future," said Rodriguez, reading the cyber-tea leaves at a
>speech(http://www.acsp.uic.edu/OICJ/CONFS/terror01.htm) before the 11th
>Annual International Symposium on Criminal Justice Issues at the University
>of Illinois at Chicago, "locally gathered intelligence will be critically
>important on everything from sophisticated drug-dealing street gangs, to
>anti-government extremists groups, to trafficking patterns in firearms and
>other weapons."
>Right now, as you read these words, there is one Chicago police person who
>"scans the Net," according to a spokesman for the Department.
>Are these folks serious? Cop spooks on the Netespecially from Chicagois a
>frightening thought. The simple fact is the Chicago PD is not just
>unsophisticated, but clueless--which, in this situation, makes it dangerous.
>There's enough trouble with Federal agencies' enthusiasm for
>cyber-sleuthing, without getting the local boys involved. Look at history.
>This is the same Chicago PD that has one of the worst records of civil
>rights abuse of any police department in the nation. This is the police
>department forbidden by a 1981 Federal Court consent decree
>(http://cris.com/~gutmanpc/doc0002.text) from engaging in such actions as
>the complication of dossiers on law-abiding citizens and groups, burglary,
>wiretapping and the use of agents-provocateur. For decades, such tactics
>were business-as-usual at Chicago's well-known and often-ridiculed "Red
>The Chicago PD's Red Squad was a veritable kissing-cousin to Hoover's FBI
>in the 1950s and 60s and into the 70s. The Red Squad tailed "uppity"
>blacks--i.e. militants, clergy or Alderman--constantly and often obviously
>taking photos and film of anyone attending meetings or marches. The Red
>Squad burgled offices and stole membership lists from a whole range of
>liberal and leftists groups, infiltrated protest groups and then acted as
>agents-provocateur, urging violence against "the Pigs," providing their
>files and many pictures to U.S. Military Intelligence (sic) as well as to
>the John Birch Society (http://www.jbs.org/jbsinfo.htm)
>In the end, these Keystone Kops were reined in by a law suit filed by
>American Civil Liberties Union. Chicago police signed a Federal Court
>consent decree saying they would no longer act illegally, and disbanded the
>Red Squad. The FBI promised to teach its agents the Constitution.
>After nearly two decades, the Chicago PD is now trying get back in the
>spying business. Last year, worried that all kinds of terrorists might come
>to Chicago for the Democratic National Convention, Superintendent Rodriguez
>petitioned Federal Court to nullify the consent decree. Superintendent
>Rodriguez had support from other cops. South suburban Park Ridge Police
>Chief Robert Colangelo told the Chicago Sun-Times that the consent decree
>that ended the illegal spying by the Chicago police Department "handcuffs
>efforts to eradicate" gang activity that crosses city boundaries.
>No soap. The court declined the petition. Also, no violence at the
>So Rodriguez is now focusing his paranoid fantasies on a new scapegoat:
>cyberterrorists and cybercriminals! The Red Scare, it seems, is being
>displaced by the Phred Scare. Crackers and hackers are the "Phreds" of
>today just as the commies and comsymps, leftists and liberals were the
>"Reds" of yesteryear.
>What Rodriguez and most of the other law enforcement community doesn't seem
>to understand is that there is no evidence of any concerted effort by the
>different "hacker" communities to sabotage or wreck havoc on individual
>systems or groups of systems. According to an insightful 1992 "State of
>Security in Cyberspace" report by SRI International
>(http://www.fc.net/phrack/files/p43/p43-4.html), sabotaging networks or
>systems "is inconsistent with the stated ethics and values of the hacker
>community. Which are to explore cyberspace as a purely intellectual
>exercise without malicious intent or behavior."
>First of all, most hackers are teens, their crimes and punishments minimal.
>They usually roll over when they're arrested, promise not to do it again,
>and are off the hook.
>Is there serious computer crime out there? You bet: billions of dollars in
>industrial espionage. Even the FBI's Computer Crime Squad
>(http://web.mit.edu/~danspot/www/tutorial-toren.html) understands that it's
>not the Kevin Mitnicks or Chris Schanots, it's corporate insiders who top
>the Ten Most Wanted cybercriminals, followed by drug dealers and white
>collar trans-national criminals, and coming up on the outside, your
>professional industrial hacker who, for the right amount of money, will
>steal your competitors' secrets. And last, but not least, foreigners. But
>they're working stiffs, not management, so who pays attention to them?
>But it's going to take a cybersleuth who can at least differentiate between
>PGP and PCP to deal with those crimes. The vast majority of local law
>enforcement officials believe hard drive is what you shift into when you're
>in a car chase.
>Rodriguez admits his cops need "additional training in understanding
>terrorism-and appreciating its subtleties and complexities..[and] technical
>assistance in recognizing and implementing new technology to battle
>No kidding. In fact, a battle between the Chicago CyberKops and the Phreds
>could be interesting. Whereas the reaction to police tactics during
>the1960s and 70s ranged from protest marches (the leftists and peaceniks,
>who got knocked about by the cops); to empty rhetoric (the Black Panthers,
>two of whom were gunned down by Chicago police); to going underground (the
>Weatherman), blowing themselves up, participating in armed robbery and
>murder, and waiting till their parents could eventually put the fix in,
>angry groups of Chicago hackers today wouldn't take to the streets or
>engage in rhetoric. Instead, they are more likely to retaliate against
>Chicago's finest attempts at snooping -- and win.
>They could, for starters, hack into the city's legal files, which reside in
>the fully computerized Corporation Council's office, changing a few things
>here, adding a few elements there, a worm or two. Or they could send
>massive E-mail bombs to some of Mayor Daley's favorite businesses, shutting
>down their computers from overload. In cybersociety, it's called "denial
>of service."(http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,3710.00,00.html) Or maybe
>they could visit the database that the Chicago PD is setting up to hold
>reports from the notebook computers the police are about to be issued. Or
>transfer calls to the Mayor's office to a 900 phone sex line. Perhaps best
>of all, all those computer-generated dunning notices about overdue parking
>tickets might vanish, mysteriously marked "paid". Whose side would
>Chicagoans take -- Traffic Court or the hackers?
>Look at the problems the Feds are already facing. Apparently too busy
>mishandling Ruby Ridge, Waco, non-Olympic bomber Richard Jewell or asking
>for more and more wiretaps and more and more Clips to your phone and
>computer (http://www.tscm.com/bug_off.html), the FBI can't even protect the
>Justice Department Home Page from being vandalized. Last August, hackers
>changed the home page to read "United States Department of Injustice" and
>added some nazi insignia and nude photographs.
>Or how about the CIA? Its Web Page was hacked last month by a group calling
>itself "Power Through Resistance," who retitled the agency as the "Central
>Stupidity Agency" and demanded of lead Swedish attorney, Bo Skarinder, who
>is now prosecuting some hackers: "stop lying."(http://www.skeeve.net/cia/)
>If a newly-hatched Chicago PD "Phred Squad" is going to start going after
>computer hackers and cyberterrorists with the same degree of expertise it
>displayed against home-grown peaceniks and student protesters, the Net is
>going to be an extremely unpleasant place to visit. Especially around
Chicago. >
>Lewis Z Koch
>c 1997 Lewis Koch
>Version: 4.5
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