Monthly Archives: July 2011

Taking a Trip to the ATM? Beware of ‘Skimmers’

Last fall, two brothers from Bulgaria were charged in U.S. federal court in New York with using stolen bank account information to defraud two banks of more than $1 million.

Their scheme involved installing surreptitious surveillance equipment on New York City ATMs that allowed them to record customers’ account information and PINs, create their own bank cards, and steal from customer accounts.

Skimming typically involves the use of a hidden cameras (top) to record customers’ PINs, and phony keypads (right) placed over real keypads to record keystrokes.

What these two did is called “ATM skimming”—basically placing an electronic device on an ATM that scoops information from a bank card’s magnetic strip whenever a customer uses the machine. ATM skimming is a growing criminal activity that some experts believe costs U.S. banks hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

How to Avoid being Skimmed - Inspect the ATM, gas pump, or credit card reader before using it…be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, or damaged, or if you notice scratches or adhesive/tape residue. - When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number. - If possible, use an ATM at an inside location (less access for criminals to install skimmers). - Be careful of ATMs in tourist areas…they are a popular target of skimmers. - If your card isn’t returned after the transaction or after hitting “cancel,” immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.

How skimming works

The devices planted on ATMs are usually undetectable by users—the makers of this equipment have become very adept at creating them, often from plastic or plaster, so that they blend right into the ATM’s façade. The specific device used is often a realistic-looking card reader placed over the factory-installed card reader. Customers insert their ATM card into the phony reader, and their account info is swiped and stored on a small attached laptop or cell phone or sent wirelessly to the criminals waiting nearby.

In addition, skimming typically involves the use of a hidden camera, installed on or near an ATM, to record customers’ entry of their PINs into the ATM’s keypad. We have also seen instances where, instead of a hidden camera, criminals attach a phony keypad on top of the real keypad … which records every keystroke as customers punch in their PINs.

Skimming devices are installed for short periods of time—usually just a few hours—so they’re often attached to an ATM by nothing more than double-sided tape. They are then removed by the criminals, who download the stolen account information and encode it onto blank cards. The cards are used to make withdrawals from victims’ accounts at other ATMs.

Skimming investigations

Because of its financial jurisdiction, a large number of ATM skimming cases are investigated by the U.S. Secret Service. But through FBI investigative experience, we have learned that ATM skimming is a favorite activity of Eurasian crime groups, so we sometimes investigate skimming—often partnering with the Secret Service—as part of larger organized crime cases.

Some recent case examples:

  • In Miami, four Romanians were charged with fraud and identity theft after they made and placed skimming devices on ATMs throughout four Florida counties … all four men eventually pled guilty.More
  • In Atlanta, two Romanians were charged and pled guilty to being part of a criminal crew that stole account information from nearly 400 bank customers through the use of skimming equipment they installed on ATMs in the Atlanta metro area. More
  • In Chicago, a Serbian national was arrested—and eventually pled guilty—for attempting to purchase an ATM skimming device, hoping to steal information from ATM users and loot their bank accounts. More
  • In New York, a Bulgarian national referenced at the top of this story was sentenced yesterday to 21 months in prison for his role in a scheme that used sophisticated skimming devices on ATMs to steal over $1.8 million from at least 1,400 customer accounts at New York City area banks. More

One last note: ATMs aren’t the only target of skimmers—we’ve also seen it at gas pumps and other point-of-sale locations where customers swipe their cards and enter their PIN. (See sidebar for tips on how to avoid being victimized by skimming.)


Thanks to the FBI for this vital information. You can find more information by visiting


Posted by on July 15, 2011 in News Article


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Rouge Programs “scareware”

What exactly is a Rouge Program and how does it work? A Rouge Program, also know as “scareware”, are programs designed to bypass or disable the computer’s anti-virus software.

Most Rogue Programs express that they are legitimate, in reality they are imitations of real programs. For example: Microsoft Removal Tool is a real program. The Rouge version is MS Removal Tool.

They also use aggressive sales tactics that will include adware, or Trojan Viruses that display fake security alerts. Many of these program claim that they are sponsored by major companies and have won awards on their program.

What their ultimate goal is, is to convince you to purchase their award-winning software. The developers of these Rouge Programs need to sell as many copies of their program as quickly as possible.

The most common way these programs operate is to display fake scanning results or highly exaggerated results. They do this by performing a fake scan in order to make you download their program. When the actual scan is completed, they will display a list of files and Windows Registry keys flagged as threats. Meanwhile, most of these infections the Rouge Program created and installed in your system in order to trick you into purchasing their ‘licensed software’.

Unfortunately, there are a few legitimate companies that are actually quite popular in today’s market and they use this form of scare tactic. Once purchased the software may protect you. However, it is hard to determine which is real and which is fake. But any company that uses scareware tactics is not worth betting on to protect you or your data.

The internet is mostly used to surf for specific information, like: the news, videos, pictures, etc. Rouge Programs place themselves strategically across the web in order to get the most clicks.  For the sake of this article, let’s pretend that we are helping our son browse the Internet for specific information on dinosaurs so he can complete his report on-time. By “on-time” we are talking about tomorrow, because like any kid, critical reports tend to magically find themselves at the extreme bottom of the to-do List.

Before we take our seat in front of the computer our vigilance for potential problems are clouded by our rush to complete the task before bedtime. We type in “Dinosaurs” and begin opening links to ferret out the information we so desperately need.

The first search proves fruitless. We scan the search list again and click on a likely link. Suddenly a new window flashes open and it looks exactly like Windows “My Computer” screen. It shows the computer scanning the hard drives. Beside the drive letter is red text indicating how many viruses are being found. The numbers are staggering as they rapidly increase before our eyes.

Now the fear kicks in! How much data will be lost? Will the computer be useless? Is personal information being stolen? Will I lose all of my photos?

The scan completes and the program asks if you want to remove the infections. Our heart is pumping, and our skin is damp with perspiration. Of course we want to clean the infections! We click the button.

Unfortunately, this is where the fatal mistake is made. Can you see the judgement error? The way a Rouge Program or “Scareware” works is by using fear to cloud your judgement. These programs are tricky, they appear genuine and they promote a feeling of safety.

The first mistake was made by believing that our hard drive was being scanned. This is the most common ploy used. The screen that appears to be the “My Computer” screen is nothing more than an elaborate website carefully crafted to look and feel like the “My Computer” window. In this stage the program has absolutely no access to the computer’s drives.

The second mistake is not trusting the anti-virus software that is installed in the computer. Any authentic anti-virus program would have picked up these infections. Your computer simply cannot have dozens of infections, let alone thousands without the anti-software being aware of it.

The fatal mistake was made by clicking the button to clean out the infections. The moment this button is pressed we gave permission to the Rouge Program to download its files into our system. Once completed the Rouge Program will announce that it cleaned some of the viruses but you will need to pay them in order to complete the cleaning process.

When the Rouge Program appeared to be scanning and cleaning your drives, it actually installed some files that have disabled the anti-virus software from running. It also shut off all other security programs like anti-malware and anti-spyware. Additionally, it has disabled all internet browsers so they cannot access the internet. Some Rouge Programs will allow internet access, but disable the ability to download files, especially anti-virus downloads.

At this point the Rouge Program has taken the necessary steps to inhibit access to any program that has the potential to remove it. The program will also position itself in the startup sequence so it will be the first program that loads after the initial boot. Some advanced Rouge Programs will disable the ability to access Safe Mode and the ability to perform a System Restore.

Don’t feel powerless, there are things you can do in order to protect yourself from harm. Stay alert and aware while you surf the web. Trust the anti-virus that you have paid for to warn you of viruses. Most importantly, think twice, click nothing.


Think twice. Click nothing.

No matter what happens on the web, you should never react before you think. If something does not seem right, or frightens you, the best thing to do is sit back and think. Ask yourself if you have an anti-virus program installed in your computer? Ask yourself if the anti-virus is up-to-date? Look at the screen, are you still on a webpage? Look at your programs in the task bar at the bottom of your screen, and you should recognize the programs listed. Do you recognize the name listed on the active window? Is it the name of your anti-virus program?

What should you click? Nothing. Do not click anything! Let go of the mouse. Rouge Programs are tricky.  They NEED you to click them. Avoid the desire to click the small red ‘x’ that we are so used to clicking to close a window. Sometimes these Rouge Program windows are click-sensitive, so anywhere you click will access the program. In order to close the window, use your keyboard and press Ctrl+W. This sequence will close the active window. Depending on your operating system, this feature may not work. Try one of the following: ALT+F4 or Ctrl+F4 or ALT+Spacebar to open the shortcut menu of the open window and then TYPE in the corresponding letter to close the window.

If this does not work, then try to use your mouse and access the start button. Then click shut down to shut off your computer. Understand that you will lose any unsaved data. If you can, save and close your programs, however, in most cases the Rouge Program will not allow you to.

If you cannot use the start button to shut down, try the Windows symbol on your keyboard. This should open the start button menu. If your mouse still does not work, then use the arrows on your keyboard to navigate. If you do not have a start button symbol, try Ctrl+Esc.

In the event this fails to work, press and hold the start button on your computer to force the machine to shut off. Use this only after you have exhausted all other means as this is not a healthy way to shut down on a continuous basis.

Once you restart the computer make sure you run a scan of your system using the anti-virus software you installed.

In the event you have installed a Rouge Program in your system and you cannot remove it, you should bring the unit to an experienced technician to remove the program and all malicious programs. Many of these programs are layered in a fashion so they continue to work even though you think you uninstalled them. Removing them from the surface does not necessarily mean you removed it from the startup and registry.

Remember: Think twice. Click nothing.


Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Computer, Desktop, Laptop, New Article


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NASA Sends Phones, Cells, Spores and More to Space on Last Shuttle

NASA’s Ames Research Center will send a variety of life science experiments and technology demonstrations aboard the final space shuttle to better our understanding of how robots can help humans live and work in space and how spaceflight affects the human body, the growth of cells, yeast and plants. Future astronauts on long-term space missions in low-Earth orbit, to asteroids, other planets and beyond will rely on robots and need to understand how to prevent illnesses during space travel.

On July 8, space shuttle Atlantis and four NASA astronauts are scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During the 12-day mission, they will transfer tons of supplies to the International Space Station from the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module. They also will deliver several experiments developed in collaboration with Ames, including:

Human Exploration Telerobotics-Smartphone will equip small, free-flying satellites called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) with a Samsung Electronics Nexus S™ handset that features Google’s open-source Android™ platform. The experiment, led by Ames researcher DW Wheeler, will use the smartphone-enhanced SPHERES as remotely operated robots to conduct interior surveys and inspections, capture mobile camera images and video, and to study how robots can support future human exploration.

Space Tissue Loss experiments will study how wounds heal in space. Eduardo Almeida, a scientist at Ames, will examine how stem cells differentiate to regenerate epidermal tissues in microgravity. The experiments will use Cell Culture Module (CCM) hardware on the Shuttle Middeck as developed by Tissue Genesis Inc., to grow cells and tissues in space using an automated hollow fiber cell culture system. This experiment will help scientists understand how to treat wounds during long-duration space missions and in extreme environments on Earth. Rasha Hammamieh at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Joon Paek, an investigator funded by the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center of Fort Detrick, Md., also are conducting tissue engineering experiments using the CCM for the Department of Defense (DoD). Space Tissue Loss is a DoD payload integrated by the DoD’s Space Test Program.

Commercial Biomedical Test Module-3 experiment will study whether a new drug treatment could prevent bone loss in mice living in space. Astronauts experience bone loss after spending prolonged time in space; humans on Earth experience similar problems, due to aging, disease, injury or inactivity. This work will enhance interventions that prevent bone degeneration due to microgravity exposure, an various other conditions. This collaborative experiment is supported by Ames, BioServe Space Technologies, the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Amgen Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif., and marks the 26th time the Ames-developed Animal Enclosure Module will be flown aboard a space shuttle. BioServe will manage the overall mission and integrate experiments led by Ted Bateman of the University of North Carolina; Virginia Ferguson of the University of Colorado and a team of Amgen researchers. The NASA Ames-sponsored principal investigators include Mary Bouxsein of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass., and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and Ronald J. Midura of Cleveland Clinic. Other researchers will be involved in a specimen sharing program to maximize the mission’s science return.

Micro-2A experiment will study how microgravity changes the way microbes grow on surfaces enabling scientists to develop new strategies to combat their formation and reduce the impact on crew health and spacecraft operations. The growth of microbes on surfaces, called biofilms, has become an issue on spacecraft and a health concern for astronauts. On Earth, biofilms contaminate medical devices and corrode industrial work places. In collaboration with Ames, the University of Toronto, and Bioserve Space Technologies, the study, led by Cynthia Collins of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., will help scientists expand their knowledge of biofilms and test the efficiency of new antimicrobial coatings.

Micro-4 study uses special genetically engineered yeast cells to understand how they physically respond and adapt to the effects of microgravity and determine which strains are best suited to survive spaceflight. The results of this study will allow researchers to better understand the genes that play a role in the growth and reproduction of microbes while in microgravity. Researchers also will learn the effects of microgravity on living systems and in life-based support systems for long-term human habitation in space. This experiment is supported by Ames, BioServe Space Technologies. Timothy Hammond of the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Durham, N.C., is the principal investigator.

Plant Signaling will study the molecular responses of plants to the space environment. The microgravity environment of space causes plants to grow differently than on Earth. Plants sense the difference in gravity and generate chemical responses within the cells. A collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency, the experiment will use the Ames-developed Seed Cassettes within the European Modular Cultivation System. As the plants grow, images will be captured and down-linked to Earth. Samples of the plants will be harvested and returned to Earth for analysis. Scientists expect the results of this experiment could help produce food during future long-duration space missions in addition to enhancing crop production on Earth. Scientists also hope to develop supplemental methods to recycle carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen. This experiment is supported by Ames, and Imara Perera of North Carolina State University, Raleigh, is the principal investigator.

Ultrasound-2 is a cardiovascular ultrasound system to replace and upgrade a 10-year-old unit on the station that stopped operating earlier this year. The device provides images of internal organs and muscles and will be used to assess astronauts’ health. It also will be used in NASA investigations, such as Integrated Cardiovascular, which studies the weakening of heart muscles associated with long-duration spaceflight, and the Integrated Resistance and Aerobic Training Study, which looks at high-intensity, low-volume exercise training to minimize loss of muscle, bone and cardiovascular performance in astronauts. Ultrasound-2 uses devices similar to those used in medical care on Earth, including the commercially-developed General Electric Medical Systems, Vivid-q™ that was modified and tested by Ames for spaceflight, as well as a custom-built external video/power converter assembly developed at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston. This system is part of the ISS Medical Project in NASA’s Human Research Program.

Forward Osmosis Bag (FOB) system is designed to convert dirty water into a liquid that is safe for astronauts to drink, using a semi-permeable membrane and a concentrated sugar solution. Forward osmosis is the natural diffusion of water through a semi-permeable membrane. The membrane acts as a barrier that allows small molecules, such as water, to pass through, while blocking larger molecules like salts, sugars, starches, proteins, viruses, bacteria and parasites. The FOB experiment will study the performance of a forward osmosis membrane during spaceflight. Michael Flynn, a researcher at Ames, developed this technology, and scientists at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will conduct the flight experiment. A small forward osmosis device could be incorporated into new long-exposure EVA suits in order to recycle metabolic wastewater (i.e., sweat and urine) into drinkable fluid.

The International Space Station Research Project Office and Space Biosciences Division at Ames collaboratively developed these experiments. The experiments are funded by the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington.


Posted by on July 9, 2011 in News Article, Science


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Sometimes a picture can say more than words.


Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Photo, Science


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Protect Your Computer and Phone from Illegal Police Searches

EFF Releases ‘Know Your Digital Rights’ Guide to Your Constitutional Liberties

San Francisco – Your computer, your phone, and your other digital devices hold vast amounts of personal information about you and your family. Can police officers enter your home to search your laptop? Do you have to give law enforcement officials your encryption keys or passwords? If you are pulled over when driving, can the officer search your cell phone?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has answers to these questions in our new “Know Your Digital Rights” guide, including easy-to-understand tips on interacting with police officers and other law enforcement officials.

“With smart phones, tablet computers, and laptops, we carry around with us an unprecedented amount of sensitive personal information,” said EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury. “That smart phone in your pocket right now could contain email from your doctor or your kid’s teacher, not to mention detailed contact information for all of your friends and family members. Your laptop probably holds even more data — your Internet browsing history, family photo albums, and maybe even things like an electronic copy of your taxes or your employment agreement. This is sensitive data that’s worth protecting from prying eyes.”

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects you from unreasonable government searches and seizures, and this protection extends to your computer and portable devices. In EFF’s “Know Your Digital Rights” guide, we outline various common scenarios and explain when and how the police can search the data stored on your computer or portable electronic device — or seize it for further examination somewhere else — and give suggestions on what you can and can’t do to protect your privacy.

“In the heat of the moment, it can be hard to remember what your rights are and how to exercise them,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. “Sometimes police can search your computer whether you like it or not, but sometimes they can’t. We wrote this guide to help you tell the difference and to empower you to assert your rights when the police come knocking.”

Your computer, your phone, and your other digital devices hold vast amounts of personal information about you and your family. This is sensitive data that’s worth protecting from prying eyes – including those of the government.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects you from unreasonable government searches and seizures, and this protection extends to your computer and portable devices. But how does this work in the real world? What should you do if the police or other law enforcement officers show up at your door and want to search your computer?

EFF has designed this guide to help you understand your rights if officers try to search the data stored on your computer or portable electronic device, or seize it for further examination somewhere else.

Because anything you say can be used against you in a criminal or civil case, before speaking to any law enforcement official, you should consult with an attorney.

Q: Can the police enter my home to search my computer or portable device, like a laptop or cell phone?
A: No, in most instances, unless they have a warrant. But there are two major exceptions: (1) you consent to the search;1 or (2) the police have probable cause to believe there is incriminating evidence on the computer that is under immediate threat of destruction.2
Q: What if the police have a search warrant to enter my home, but not to search my computer? Can they search it then?
A: No, typically, because a search warrant only allows the police to search the area or items described in the warrant.3 But if the warrant authorizes the police to search for evidence of a particular crime, and such evidence is likely to be found on your computer, some courts have allowed the police to search the computer without a warrant.4 Additionally, while the police are searching your home, if they observe something in plain view on the computer that is suspicious or incriminating, they may take it for further examination and can rely on their observations to later get a search warrant.5And of course, if you consent, any search of your computer is permissible.
Q: Can my roommate/guest/spouse/partner allow the police access to my computer?
A: Maybe. A third party can consent to a search as long as the officers reasonably believe the third person has control over the thing to be searched.6 However, the police cannot search if one person with control (for example a spouse) consents, but another individual (the other spouse) with control does not.7 One court, however, has said that this rule applies only to a residence, and not personal property, such as a hard drive placed into someone else’s computer.8
Q: What if the police want to search my computer, but I’m not the subject of their investigation?
A: It typically does not matter whether the police are investigating you, or think there is evidence they want to use against someone else located on your computer. If they have a warrant, you consent to the search, or they think there is something incriminating on your computer that may be immediately destroyed, the police can search it. Regardless of whether you’re the subject of an investigation, you can always seek the assistance of a lawyer.
Q: Can I see the warrant?
A: Yes. The police must take the warrant with them when executing it and give you a copy of it.9 They must also knock and announce their entry before entering your home10 and must serve the warrant during the day in most circumstances.11
Q: Can the police take my computer with them and search it somewhere else?
A: Yes. As long as the police have a warrant, they can seize the computer and take it somewhere else to search it more thoroughly. As part of that inspection, the police may make a copy of media or other files stored on your computer.12
Q: Do I have to cooperate with them when they are searching?
A: No, you do not have to help the police conduct the search. But you should not physically interfere with them, obstruct the search, or try to destroy evidence, since that can lead to your arrest. This is true even if the police don’t have a warrant and you do not consent to the search, but the police insist on searching anyway. In that instance, do not interfere but write down the names and badge numbers of the officers and immediately call a lawyer.
Q: Do I have to answer their questions while they are searching my home without a warrant?
A: No, you do not have to answer any questions. In fact, because anything you say can be used against you and other individuals, it is best to say nothing at all until you have a chance to talk to a lawyer. However, if you do decide to answer questions, be sure to tell the truth. It is a crime to lie to a police officer and you may find yourself in more trouble for lying to law enforcement than for whatever it was they wanted on your computer.13
Q: If the police ask for my encryption keys or passwords, do I have to turn them over?
A: No. The police can’t force you to divulge anything. However, a judge or a grand jury may be able to. The Fifth Amendment protects you from being forced to give the government self-incriminating testimony. If turning over an encryption key or password triggers this right, not even a court can force you to divulge the information. But whether that right is triggered is a difficult question to answer. If turning over an encryption key or password will reveal to the government information it does not have (such as demonstrating that you have control over files on a computer), there is a strong argument that the Fifth Amendment protects you.14 If, however, turning over passwords and encryption keys will not incriminate you, then the Fifth Amendment does not protect you. Moreover, even if you have a Fifth Amendment right that protects your encryption keys or passwords, a grand jury or judge may still order you to disclose your data in an unencrypted format under certain circumstances.15 If you find yourself in a situation where the police are demanding that you turn over encryption keys or passwords, let EFF know.
Q: If my computer is taken and searched, can I get it back?
A: Perhaps. If your computer was illegally seized, then you can file a motion with the court to have the property returned.16If the police believe that evidence of a crime has been found on your computer (such as “digital contraband” like pirated music and movies, or digital images of child pornography), the police can keep the computer as evidence. They may also attempt to make you forfeit the computer, but you can challenge that in court.17
Q: What about my work computer?
A: It depends. Generally, you have some Fourth Amendment protection in your office or workspace.18 This means the police need a warrant to search your office and work computer unless one of the exceptions described above applies. But the extent of Fourth Amendment protection depends on the physical details of your work environment, as well as any employer policies. For example, the police will have difficulty justifying a warrantless search of a private office with doors and a lock and a private computer that you have exclusive access to. On the other hand, if you share a computer with other co-workers, you will have a weaker expectation of privacy in that computer, and thus less Fourth Amendment protection.19 However, be aware that your employer can consent to a police request to search an office or workspace.20Moreover, if you work for a public entity or government agency, no warrant is required to search your computer or office as long as the search is for a non-investigative, work-related matter.21
Q: I’ve been arrested. Can the police search my cell phone without a warrant?
A: Maybe. After a person has been arrested, the police generally may search the items on her person and in her pockets, as well as anything within her immediate control.22 This means that the police can physically take your cell phone and anything else in your pockets. Some courts go one step further and allow the police to search the contents of your cell phone, like text messages, call logs, emails, and other data stored on your phone, without a warrant.23 Other courts disagree, and require the police to seek a warrant.24 It depends on the circumstances and where you live.
Q: The police pulled me over while I was driving. Can they search my cell phone?
A: Maybe. If the police believe there is probably evidence of a crime in your car, they may search areas within a driver or passenger’s reach where they believe they might find it – like the glove box, center console, and other “containers.”25Some courts have found cell phones to be “containers” that police may search without a warrant.26
Q: Can the police search my computer or portable devices at the border without a warrant?
A: Yes. So far, courts have ruled that almost any search at the border is “reasonable” – so government agents don’t need to get a warrant. This means that officials can inspect your computer or electronic equipment, even if they have no reason to suspect there is anything illegal on it.27 An international airport may be considered the functional equivalent of a border, even if it is many miles from the actual border.28
Q: Can the police take my electronic device away from the border or airport for further examination without a warrant?
A: At least one federal court has said yes, they can send it elsewhere for further inspection if necessary.29 Even though you may be permitted to enter the country, your computer or portable device may not be.

Want to test your new knowledge?
Take EFF’s Know Your Digital Rights Quiz!

Need an easy way to remember your rights?
We have a handy one-page guide to help you talk to police if they come knocking. Print for your server room or workstation, or save it to your desktop for easy reference!

Want to learn more about how to protect yourself from unreasonable government snooping on your computer or portable electronic devices?

Then be sure to check out EFF’s Surveillance Self-Defense Guide!

  1. 1.Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 219 (1973); United States v. Vanvilet, 542 F.3d 259 (1st Cir. 2008).
  2. 2.Ker v. California, 374 U.S. 23 (1963); see also United States v. Vallimont, 378 Fed.Appx. 972 (11th Cir. 2010) (unpublished); United States v. Smith, 2010 WL 1949364 (9th Cir. 2010) (unpublished).
  3. 3.See Maryland v. Garrison, 480 U.S. 79, 84-85 (1987) (citing cases).
  4. 4.See e.g., United States v. Mann, 592 F.3d 779 (7th Cir. 2010); see also Brown v. City of Fort Wayne, 752 F.Supp.2d 925 (N.D. Ind. 2010).
  5. 5.Horton v. California, 496 U.S. 128 (1990); see also United States v. Walser, 275 F.3d 981 (10th Cir. 2001); United States v. Carey, 172 F.3d 1268 (10th Cir. 1999).
  6. 6.Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. 177 (1990); United States v. Stabile, 633 F.3d 219 (3d Cir. 2011); United States v. Andrus, 483 F.3d 711 (10th Cir. 2007).
  7. 7.Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103 (2006).
  8. 8.United States v. King, 604 F.3d 125 (3d Cir. 2010) (court approved search and seizure where two housemates shared a desktop computer, and one housemate granted the police access to the entire computer over the other housemate’s objections, even though the objecting housemate was the sole owner of a hard drive in the computer).
  9. 9.Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(f)(1)(C).
  10. 10.Wilson v. Arkansas, 514 U.S. 927 (1995).
  11. 11.Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(e)(2)(A)(ii).
  12. 12.See e.g., United States v. Hill, 459 F.3d 966 (9th Cir. 2006); In re Search of 3817 W. West End, First Floor Chicago, Illinois 60621, 321 F.Supp.2d 953 (N.D. Ill. 2004); see also Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(e)(2)(B).
  13. 13.Compare 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a) (maximum punishment for first offense of lying to federal officer is 5 or 8 years) with 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(2) and (c)(2)(A) (maximum punishment for first offense of simply exceeding authorized computer access is generally 1 year).
  14. 14.See United States v. Kirschner, 2010 WL 1257355 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 30, 2010) (unpublished) (relying on United States v. Hubbell, 530 U.S. 27 (2000)).
  15. 15.See e.g., United States v. Hatfield, 2010 WL 1423103 (E.D.N.Y. April 7, 2010) (unpublished); In re Boucher, 2009 WL 424718 (D. Vt. Feb. 19, 2009) (unpublished).
  16. 16.Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g).
  17. 17.See 18 U.S.C. § 983Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.2.
  18. 18.Mancusi v. DeForte, 392 U.S. 364 (1968); United States v. Ziegler, 474 F.3d 1184 (9th Cir. 2007).
  19. 19.See e.g., Schowengerdt v. United States, 944 F.2d 483 (9th Cir. 1991).
  20. 20.See Ziegler, 474 F.3d at 1191 (citing Mancusi).
  21. 21.City of Ontario v. Quon, 130 S.Ct. 2619 (2010); O’Connor v. Ortega, 480 U.S. 709 (1987).
  22. 22.Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752 (1969).
  23. 23.See e.g., United States v. Murphy, 552 F.3d 405 (4th Cir. 2009); United States v. Wurie, 612 F.Supp.2d 104 (D. Mass. 2009);People v. Diaz, 51 Cal.4th 84, 244 P.3d 501 (2011).
  24. 24.See e.g., United States v. Wall, 2008 WL 5381412 (S.D.Fla. Dec. 22, 2008) (unpublished); United States v. Park, 2007 WL 1521573 (N.D. Cal. May 23, 2007) (unpublished); State v. Smith, 124 Ohio St.3d 163, 920 N.E.2d 949 (2009).
  25. 25.Arizona v. Gant, 129 S.Ct. 1710 (2009).
  26. 26.See e.g., United States v. Finley, 477 F.3d 250 (5th Cir. 2007); Wurie, 612 F.Supp.2d at 109-110; United States v. Cole, 2010 WL 3210963 (N.D.Ga. Aug. 11, 2010) (unpublished); United States v. McCray, 2009 WL 29607 (S.D.Ga. Jan. 5, 2009) (unpublished).
  27. 27.United States v. Flores-Montano, 541 U.S. 149 (2004); United States v. Ickes, 393 F.3d 501 (4th Cir. 2005).
  28. 28.Almeida-Sanchez v. United States, 413 U.S. 266, 273 (1973); United States v. Arnold, 533 F.3d 1003 (9th Cir. 2008); United States v. Romm, 455 F.3d 990 (9th Cir. 2006); United States v. Roberts, 274 F.3d 1007 (5th Cir. 2001).
  29. 29.United States v. Cotterman, 637 F.3d 1068 (9th Cir. 2011).



Posted by on July 7, 2011 in Computer, Laptop, News Article, Science


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