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Acting as a police agent once you contact law enforcement?

Discussion of legislation relating to computer forensics.
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Audio
Senior Member
 

Acting as a police agent once you contact law enforcement?

Post Posted: Aug 16, 08 05:45

In the U.S. private citizens might have to adhere to some privacy laws, but not the 4th amendment like the police do. I read a while ago that if you get hacked and you contact law enforcement, that you could be seen as acting as a police agent, and thus must adhere to the 4th amendment.

So it was recommend that you collect as much evidence as you legally can before contacting law enforcement. Is that good advice, and if not, how much do you have to cooperate with law enforcement before you are seen as acting as a police agent.  
 
  

u2bigman
Member
 

Re: Acting as a police agent once you contact law enforcemen

Post Posted: Aug 16, 08 08:37

Perhaps it is best to speak with (and pay) an attorney to advise on such legal questions?

Unlikely that a judge will want to hear, "But some guys on the computer told me I could do this!"

My $0.02.  
 
  

trewmte
Senior Member
 

Re: Acting as a police agent once you contact law enforcement?

Post Posted: Aug 16, 08 13:37

Perhaps you might want to align your "hypothetical" point with the news story at the link below and decide what it is that you are "hypothetically" trying to achieve for this "hypothetical" investigation.


The FCC agents decided on a cover story that they were part of a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Meth Task Force investigation. Now they might be charged with impersonating police officers....

www.timesnews.net/arti...id=9007550
_________________
Institute for Digital Forensics (IDF) - www.linkedin.com/groups/2436720
Mobile Telephone Examination Board (MTEB) - www.linkedin.com/groups/141739
Universal Network Investigations - www.linkedin.com/groups/13536130
Mobile Telephone Evidence & Forensics trewmte.blogspot.com 
 
  

Audio
Senior Member
 

Re: Acting as a police agent once you contact law enforcement?

Post Posted: Aug 16, 08 17:05

@u2bigman: I'm a student, so I can't send an email to the legal department.

@trewmte: I don't find that link very relevant, but it was interesting...  
 
  

BitHead
Senior Member
 

Re: Acting as a police agent once you contact law enforcement?

Post Posted: Aug 16, 08 17:09

- Audio
In the U.S. private citizens might have to adhere to some privacy laws, but not the 4th amendment like the police do. I read a while ago that if you get hacked and you contact law enforcement, that you could be seen as acting as a police agent, and thus must adhere to the 4th amendment.

So it was recommend that you collect as much evidence as you legally can before contacting law enforcement. Is that good advice, and if not, how much do you have to cooperate with law enforcement before you are seen as acting as a police agent.
IaNaL, however contacting LE does not make you an agent. It is only when encouraged to act by LE that this is an issue.

EXCERPT
COMPUTER HACKER IN FOREIGN COUNTRY
IS A STATE ACTOR FOR FOURTH
AMENDMENT PURPOSES, DISTRICT COURT
HOLDS: USE OF SUBSEVEN TROJAN HORSE
TO SEARCH HOME COMPUTERS FOR CHILD
PORN VIOLATES THE FOURTH AMENDMENT


The Internet makes it fairly easy for a private
person to hack into another person's computer
and look through their private files. Law
enforcement agents occasionally receive
contacts from hackers who have hacked into
computers and found child pornography: without
identifying themselves, the hackers report that
they have found the child porn, and the police
then use the "anonymous tip" to get probable
cause to obtain a search warrant and search the
target's house and seize their computer. Under
traditional Fourth Amendment doctrine, this
doesn't violate the Fourth Amendment so long as
the government does not enourage or facilitate
the hacker's conduct, because the hacker is
private actor, rather than the government. See,
e.g., United States v. Kennedy, 81 F. Supp.2d
1103, 1112 (D. Kan. 2000).


From a couple of books on my shelf:
See also: United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984); United States v. Paige, 136 F.3d 1012, 1017 (5th Cir. 1998); United States v. Pervaz 118 F.3d 1, 6 (1st Cir. 1997); United States v. Smythe, 84 F.3d 1240, 1242-1243 (10th Cir. 1996); United States v. McAllister, 18 F.3d 1412, 1417-1418 (7th Cir. 1994); United STates v. Malbrough, 922 F.2d 458, 461-462 (8th Cir. 1990); United States v. Miller, 688 F.2d 652, 657 (9th Cir. 1982); United States v. Barth, 26 F. Supp. 2d 929, 935-936 (W.D. Tex. 1998).

See also: United States v. Hall, 142 F.3d 988, 993 (7th Cir. 1998) finding that computer technician, while repairing defendants PC, noticed computer files contained CP (IIoC) and contacted police, had conducted a private search that did not implicate Fourth Amendment.

See also: Searching and Seizing Computers and Obtaining Electronic Evidence in Criminal Investigations  
 
  

jamie
Site Admin
 

Re: Acting as a police agent once you contact law enforcement?

Post Posted: Aug 16, 08 18:28

The S&S manual referenced by BitHead is a worthwhile (although lengthy) read and covers this issue.

Jamie
_________________
Jamie Morris
Forensic Focus
Web: www.forensicfocus.com
Twitter: twitter.com/ForensicFocus
Facebook: www.facebook.com/forensicfocus 
 
  

Audio
Senior Member
 

Re: Acting as a police agent once you contact law enforcement?

Post Posted: Aug 16, 08 18:29

Perfect, I'm reading through those links/rulings now BitHead, thanks!  
 

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