According to the answers given by a 100 police investigators, they are not very satisfied with the speed with which they are able to access company documents during investigations.
The survey was compiled by Frank Kardasz, a sergeant in the Phoenix police department and a project director of Arizona’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force, and the results will be presented at a federal task force meeting next week.
Among the results, the desire of having a Web interface on a national level, through which they can access the computers of ISPs and e-mail providers, is prominent. Eighty-nine percent of the investigators said that they would like to be able to “exchange legal process requests and responses to legal process” with the ISPs, using encryption as a protection against data theft or loss.
CNet reports that the interviewed officers were not satisfied with a lot of things – the speed of the companies responding to requests for information, the fact that some providers don’t store data as long as they might wish (some not at all).
There is no doubt that the aforementioned nationwide police computer network is something that will be pushed for by the law enforcement agencies, as it would surely help them with their work.
What worries Lee Tien, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (a civil liberties watchdog group) is the possibility that all information will be then available to the police, even that regarding people who are not under investigation.
Another problem is the security of the data and of such a network. What happens when viruses or malware is introduced into it? There is always the possibility leakage of confidential information about investigations in progress.
At the moment, there are some companies that already provide a police-only Web interface – Sprint Nextel is one of them, and was put in the spotlight a few moths ago for it. Other police-friendly companies are AT&T (“very prompt”) and MySpace (“quickest response”).