Homeland Security Investigations Does it Right

Homeland Security Investigations Does it Right

For all of the DHS bashing that we do, which appears to be fully justified, once in a while it looks like they get it right.

Here is a case where HSI monitored what was going on, collected evidence, went the extra step of verifying the complaint, and arrested the bad guy. Note they did not try to break the Internet to “take down” the bad guy’s site. They did not go to PayPal and Visa to block payments to the bad guy. They did not torture customers into becoming informants to get the bad guy. And, only after they had a real case, did they physically move against the bad guy.
What makes this case stand out for me is when the Feds use old-fashioned police work, they get good results and do not bring down the ire of thoughtful citizens. Conversely, when the Feds say “Cyber is hard, so we will ignore the Constitution,” they get egg on their face in the long run. However, in the short run they can do an awesome job of ruining innocent people’s lives, if not imposing disproportionate, extra-judicial punishment on not-so-innocent, but not-quite-so-guilty people.
I do have, as always, an issue with the $100MM “value” of pirated software. However, it is excruciatingly worrisome that this was not your usual Microsoft Office or Microsoft Windows pirating, but high-end engineering software, finding its way into the US defense industrial base.

HSI dismantles massive international cyber-theft conspiracy

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent this bulletin at 01/08/2013 11:28 AM EST

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WILMINGTON, Del. — A Chinese national pleaded guilty late yesterday to conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and wire fraud. The individual operated a website used to distribute more than $100 million worth of pirated software around the world, making it one of the most significant cases of copyright infringement ever uncovered — and dismantled — by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

[snip]
Eric Burger
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