Cops hack into foreign computers to find cyber criminals
As crime continues to proliferate on the so-called dark web, law enforcement agencies are sometimes having to work outside of their jurisdiction. When a suspected criminal acts on the dark web, authorities are unlikely to know where in the world he or she is physically located. So if they then attempt to take action, they might be inadvertently carrying out an operation that crosses borders.
One researcher argues in a working paper that this raises serious concerns around national sovereignty, and could even lead to retaliation from affected countries or prosecution of investigators.
“Basically, it’s like playing Russian Roulette with cross-border cyber operations,” Ahmed Ghappour, visiting assistant professor at UC Hastings College of Law and author of the paper “Searching Places Unknown: Law Enforcement Jurisdiction on the Dark Web,” told Motherboard in a phone call.
In response to dark web-related crime, law enforcement agencies have moved to more non-traditional means of identifying suspects, in some cases directly hacking criminals’ computers to circumvent the protections given by the Tor anonymity network.
But, because it’s largely impossible to know where a target computer is located before it’s been hacked, the FBI and other bodies are sometimes breaking into computers overseas, without explicit consent of the host country. “At bottom, no country has consented to us hacking them, or hacking their citizens, in the same way that we haven’t consented to another country to hack us,” Ghappour said.
Read the Remainder at Motherboard