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Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

Filtering by Tag: law

Graphic Justice Discussions NYC 2018

Nickie Phillips

We hosted the 2nd annual Graphic Justice Discussions Conference: Law, Comics, Justice on 20 October 2018 at St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights, NYC. The conference was sponsored by the Graphic Justice Research Alliance and the Center for Crime & Popular Culture. The conference featured scholars and creators working at the intersection of law, comics, and justice.

We were thrilled to have legendary writer, editor, filmmaker, and journalist Ann Nocenti as our keynote speaker who held the crowd rapt with tales of her experiences in the industry.

We also welcomed Vita Ayala (The Wilds) and Kwanza Osajyefo (Black; Black: America’s Sweetheart; Black AF: Widows and Orphans) (Black Mask Studios) to speak about their work and experiences as creators.

You’re invited to take a look at the photos from the event. Hope to see everyone at the next Graphic Justice Discussions!

Cyber-Police in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Nickie Phillips

By Shima Rostami

Among various cyber-crime organizations there is an organization, though faced with many criticisms, that has done a worthy job of fighting against cyber-crime. On the 23rd of January 2011, a new branch of Iranian police was launched by Commander Ahmad Moghaddam, the head of the Iranian Police force. This new branch, called FATA, is the cyber police of the Islamic Republic of Iran which fundamentally monitors production and communication in cyber space. The establishment of this new branch created much controversy internationally which makes it remarkable for any security researcher to take a glance at FATA functions and performances.

Cyber-crime is any crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer may have been used either in the commission of a crime or be the target. Sometimes cyber-crimes are committed by criminals as a profession. However, in most cases, specifically in terrorism, cyber-crime is an instrument for such organizations to facilitate their attacks. Hence, there is a need to concentrate on expanding counter-crimes’ and law enforcements’ knowledge and techniques to chase those kinds of crimes: not only because inherently they are crimes but also in this era of internet technology, cyber-crime is a gateway for other criminals like terrorism to threaten the security of the world.

In order to create a better understanding of current perception on global peace and international terrorism a qualitative survey study was conducted in cooperation with the Religion Department of a Midwest private school. The survey was given to 80 students in World Religion, Islam and the West, and the History of Christianity courses.

Full Text - The Cyber-Police Of the Islamic Republic of Iran

 

Shima Rostami is a graduate student at Lindenwood University.

STOP Documentary: Stop and Frisk in NYC, Floyd v. City of NY

Nickie Phillips

Documentary Screening and Q&A at St. Francis College, Fall 2015

Spencer Wolff, Director & Producer of STOP, Nickie Phillips, criminologist

 

 

"STOP is a feature length documentary about Floyd v. City of New York, the class-action lawsuit that challenged the New York City Police Department’s practice of stop & frisk, and resulted in the landmark decision finding the practice unconstitutional." - STOP: A Film About Stop & Frisk in New York City

 

Techno-Policing with Bennett Capers

Nickie Phillips

This lecture is part of our Fall 2015 Senior Citizen Lecture Series focused on Urban Policing and Racial Conflict: Current Crises and Historical Contexts

Nickie Phillips & Emily Horowitz, Coordinators

Professor Bennett Capers is a prolific writer on race, gender, and criminal justice. His articles and essays have been published or are forthcoming in top law reviews, including the California Law Review, Fordham Law Review, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, Michigan Law Review, U.C. Davis Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and Washington University Law Review. Prior to teaching, he spent nearly ten years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. In 2013, Judge Scheindlin appointed him to Chair the Academic Advisory Council to assist in implementing the remedial order in the stop-and-frisk class action Floyd v. City of New York. He also serves as an appointed member of the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Polygraphs arrive in the UK

Terry Thomas

The UK has for many years resisted the introduction of the polygraph to its criminal justice processes. It was treated as too unreliable. Another example of American ‘exceptionalism’ alongside the electric chair and the Utah firing squads. Ok for the Americans, but not for us.

But now it’s arrived. Its introduction to the UK has been long drawn out and low key. The law permitting the use of polygraphs was passed as far back as 2007 (in the Offender Management Act) and even today not many people in the street would be able to tell you that it became available to the British police and probation officers from January 2014.

The polygraph is often described as a lie detector.  Its use is based on the notion that lying induces a ‘stress response’ in the automatic nervous system, a part of the Central Nervous System that is largely outside conscious control and which regulates the body’s internal environment.  The effect of this can be observed in changes in cardiovascular activity, breathing, and sweating.  The basis of the polygraph examination involves individuals being asked a series of questions while activity in these systems is recorded, with certain reactions said to be indicative of deception. 

President Richard Nixon, when considering polygraph tests for White House staff in 1971, famously declared:

I don’t know anything about polygraphs, and I don’t know how accurate they are, but I know they’ll scare the hell out of people.
— (quoted in Alder, 2007: 221)

and early 50 years ago the American academic Alan Westin declared:

The reliability figures cited by polygraph operators have been rejected in most scientific and legal journals...efforts to have different polygraph operators test the same subject to judge the reproducibility and independent validity of the polygraph have not been successful ... [and] a series of tests by the same operator with the same subject will show very significant changes in the results.
— (Westin, 1967: 213)

Today a study by the American National Research Council is often taken as the bench mark for the reliability of the polygraph. Its 2003 report stated that polygraph accuracy stood at about 80-90%.

British Experiences of the Polygraph

The British have been quite hesitant about the polygraph. The British Psychological Society have produced two reports in 1986 and 2004 expressing their doubts. The latter concluded:

Although psychological equipment does accurately measure a number of physiological activities, these activities do not reflect a single underlying process. Furthermore, these activities are not necessarily in concord, either within or across individuals.
— (BPS 2004: 29)

The 'stress response' which is measured, for example, may not be a response to 'deception' but could be prompted by surprise, cognitive load, loud noise, etc. The polygraph test is also said to be easily ‘beaten’ because if you bite the inside of your mouth or tongue on a question of no importance, unbeknown to the operator, he or she will begin to wonder - what’s the matter with this machine.

Having passed the enabling legislation in 2007 testing on sex offenders was piloted between April 2009 and October 2011 in the East and West Midlands’ probation regions. The study found that offenders who took the tests made twice as many disclosures to probation staff – for instance, admitting to contacting a victim or entering an exclusion zone, or thoughts that could suggest a higher risk of reoffending (Gannon et al 2014).

At the moment it will only be used on sex offenders –if the police use it they need the offender’s consent –probation can use it without their consent if it’s written into any parole conditions. The police say they will give extra attention to these who do not consent – not sure if that constitutes a free consent without duress being applied. No doubts the law will soon change to enable them to test without consent.

References

Alder K (2007) The Lie Detectors: the history of an American obsession, Simon and Shuster, New York

British Psychological Society (2004).  A Review of the Current Scientific Status and Fields of Application of Polygraphic Deception Detection.  Report (26/05/04) from the BPS Working Party (http://www.bps.org.uk).

Gannon T et al (2014) An evaluation of Mandatory polygraph testing for sexual offenders in the United Kingdom Sexual Abuse: a journal of Research and Treatment 26(2): 178-203

Westin A (1967) Privacy and Freedom, Bodley Head, London

Terry Thomas, emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice at Leeds Beckett University

Terry Thomas is emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice at Leeds Beckett University. His research areas include sexual offending and police information systems. His most recent book is ‘Domestic Violence and Criminal Justice’ written with Nicola Groves also from the Leeds Beckett University criminology group. He is currently working on the third edition of his book ‘Sex Crime: sex offending and society’ due out November 2015.

Interview with Prof. Emily Horowitz on Sex Offender Legislation

Nickie Phillips

Leon Neyfakh of Slateinterviewed Prof. Emily Horowitz, on sex offender legislation.

Prof. Horowitz is the director of the Institute for Peace and Justice and founder and director of the Post-Prison College Opportunity Program at St. Francis College.

How do the studies you read show the registry’s effectiveness, or lack thereof?

If the registry was effective, you’d want to see that, after 1996, when Megan’s Law was implemented, there was a big drop in sex offense cases. But the rates didn’t change, or they’d already started going down before Megan’s Law was implemented. Rates of sexual abuse neither increased nor decreased as a result of the registry.

Why?

Because more than 90 percent of child sexual abuse cases—some say 96 percent—involve the family. And the registry only targets stranger danger. It prohibits people from going to parks and malls—whereas most child sexual abuse takes place in the home. Also, most people on the registry have adult victims. It’s just all the rhetoric around the registry is about children.
— Prof. Emily Horowitz

Graphic Justice: Intersections of Comics and Law

Nickie Phillips

Graphic Justice: Intersections of Comics and Law - Available Now

Crimcast is delighted to share the news that a new volume devoted to crime and criminal justice is now available!  This edited volume compiles the work of a core group of scholars who are working at the intersection of graphic novels and depictions of justice, furthering the project of Comic Book Crime: Truth, Justice, and the American Way.  The international array of scholars tackle such issues as the death penalty, biomedicine, vigilantism, restorative justice, and human rights violations through such series as Watchmen, Judge Dredd, Justice League, Batman, and 100 Bullets.

Establishing the medium of graphic fiction as a critical resource for interdisciplinary legal studies, this collection is the first to address the intersection of comics and law. Whether in their representations of lawyers, their treatment justice, law and social order, or their investment in the protection of the innocent and the punishment of guilty, graphic fiction explores human life in all its social, moral and legal complexity. In the context of a now well-established interest in cultural legal studies, this book showcases the critical potential of comics and graphic fiction as a resource for nterdisciplinary legal studies and legal theory.

Keeping Children Safe: ‘Disqualification by Association’

Terry Thomas

Everybody would agree that we need to ensure safe environments for children in our nurseries and schools. Unsuitable people should not be allowed to work in them. In the UK concerns have been raised that the authorities may have gone too far in their aim to keep children safe.

The policy of ‘disqualification by association’ now means you could be prevented from working with children not because of any misconduct on your part but because of the misconduct of others. If you already have a job working with children you could find yourself suspended from that work even if your work record has been exemplary and you have no criminal record.

image.jpg

‘Disqualification by association’ comes into play if any one you live with has been convicted of a serious offence or is otherwise disqualified from working with children. The policy has been in place for a few years but was recently highlighted in the case of a teacher who lost his job following conviction for having sexual relations with one of his students; under UK law he was guilty of the offence of ‘abusing a position of trust’ (Sexual Offences Act 2003 s16). But then the headlines followed that his wife, who worked in another school, was to be suspended from her job working with children.

The ‘disqualification by association’ Regulations have been a matter of concern in some quarters ever since their introduction by the Childcare Act 2006 s75 (4) and the Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009: 1547). The Regulations only apply to people registered to work with children under eight and Regulation 9 clearly states that:

  1. > Subject to regulation 10, a person who lives –

    (a) in the same household as another person who is disqualified from registration; or (b) in a household in which any such person is employed, is disqualified from registration.

Regulation 10 refers to the possibility of getting this suspension waived by applying to the Chief Inspector of Schools office – Ofsted.

At first the Regulations were applied only to people caring for children under eight in their own home as child-minders and in that context the Regulations made some sense. But then they were extended to anyone working in a school which had children under the age of eight attending.

It took some time for people to realise the consequences of this extension but slowly the truth has dawned (see e.g. ‘Teachers to be barred for living with offenders under new rules’ and ‘Schools suspend staff in child protection confusion’. The question is raised as to why someone with no convictions or other form of disbarment from working with children should be suspended simply because they live in the same house as someone who is. Surely this amounts to a disproportionate response to child protection? Further Department of Education guidance explains the thinking behind the law which:

‘guards against an individual working with young children who may be under the influence of a person who lives with them and where that person may pose a risk to children i.e. by association’ (DfE (2014) Keeping children safe in education: childcare disqualification requirements – supplementary advice, October).

What exactly ‘under the influence’ means is not elaborated on.

The campaign group UNLOCK for ex-offenders calls the arrangements ‘ridiculous’: ‘The regulations have clearly come as a surprise to thousands of people working in primary schools. Schools themselves seem unclear of how the regulations work, with many asking existing staff and new employees to make very broad declarations about not only their criminal record, but also of those that they live with. This has led to hundreds of people making declarations and being suspended as a result, where they have otherwise been working for many years with no problems’ (UNLOCK (2015) Charity for people with convictions calls for “ridiculous” ‘disqualification’ regulations for primary schools to be urgently reviewed 20 January (press release)) ‘Disqualification by association’ seems to have slipped in while no one was looking but its chickens are now coming home to roost.

Terry Thomas is Emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice Studies, Leeds Beckett University U.K. and a Crimcast correspondent.

Civil Rights Versus National Security with former Head of MI6 Counter-Terrorism

Nickie Phillips

October 7, 2014 - St. Francis College hosted the Civil Rights Versus National Security Panel

  • The Honorable Paul Gardephe, United States District Judge of the Southern District of New York moderated the discussion which featured a distinguished panel, including:
  • Richard Barrett, Former Head of Counter-Terrorism with British Intelligence MI-6, talked about the "The Nature of Tension,"
  • Scott Horton, Harper's magazine, spoke about "Enhanced Interrogation,"
  • Jeff Dannenberg, a published legal scholar, spoke about "Whistle Blowing,"
  • Bruce Green, Professor at Fordham University, talked about "Prosecutorial Ethics," and 
  • Lawyer Richard Zabel will examine the issue of "Courts vs. Tribunals"

Graphic Futures: Imagining Law's Potential in Comics and Graphic Novels - Call for Participants

Nickie Phillips

Graphic Futures

Imagining Law’s Potential in Comics and Graphic Novels

Call for papers and comics creators

Many jurisprudential texts tell the history of legal philosophy and moral thought—from Classical Greece and the medieval period, through the Enlightenment to modernity, and today’s uncertain epoch of ‘late modernity’. In such texts, it is hoped that by recounting this history—this tale of development, progression and change—our current jurisprudential state is uncovered and we are enlightened as to the issues at play in determining the nature of what law both is and should be.

So much for jurisprudential past; but what of jurisprudential future? What challenges and laws await us as we emerge from the throes of modernity? What awaits our nature as humanity integrates with advancing technology? What form will morality take in a world where official systems of order and control, or the modes of thought that created the modern state, have dissipated? What of justice without law? What of law after the human? What of knowledge and judgment after the reification of modernism has been undone? What is the next jurisprudence? It is these, and related, questions that the proposed network addresses, through innovative engagement with the medium of graphic fiction.

Comics and graphic fiction have been an under-utilised resource in the history of legal studies. Yet their unique epistemological grounding (at the borders of the visual, the linguistic, the aesthetic, and the rational), and their capacity for futuristic imagination, arguably make them an apt tool for exploring worlds, laws and ideas beyond the boundaries of the present. Engaging with futuristic visions in graphic fiction and comics, this project aims to imagine (or challenge our ability to imagine) the landscape(s) of jurisprudence in the emerging world(s) as modernity recedes.

The aim of the project is to imagine the potential future(s) of law and justice. The overarching problematic will be addressed through a series of international workshops in US, Australia and USE across 2015-2018, with each participant contributing their own perspective and particular critical ‘take’ on the issue of comics and legal futurity. There will be 8 workshops, feeding into a series of edited collections and graphic novels (funding is being sought to cover participants' expenses). These workshops will tackle four main sub-themes of the central problematic of legal futurity:

  1. Approaching Graphic Futures—focusing on the project’s epistemological issues, such as: the limits of legal language in relation to the language of comics; the particular value of the comics medium in tackling the project’s core problematic; and, how can such imaginative speculation help inform our world today.
  2. Criminal Futures—focusing on issues relating to crime and criminal justice, such as: what problems future criminal law enforcement might face; concerns of pre-emptive justice; and, the dominant ideals of ‘justice’ (e.g. retribution, deterrence, something else) that might prevail as modernity recedes.
  3. Legal Futures of Technology—focusing on issues relating to advancing technology, such as: the legal challenges of human-machine integration; the advent of artificial intelligence; and, how technology might change the face of legal institutions and regulation.
  4. Law after the State—focusing on issues relating to rights and political theory, such as: how might human relations be regulated if the modern state fails; what shape might rights take in the future; and, concerns of trans-temporal responsibility (for example, our responsibility to the future, or the future’s responsibility to the past).

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words, 3 keywords, and an indication of which theme your work would ‘fit’ under, to thomas.giddens@smuc.ac.uk no later than 14 November 2014.

The project is also seeking comics creators (writers and/or artists): email thomas.giddens@smuc.ac.uk if you are interested in being involved in a creative capacity.

Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse

Nickie Phillips

The idea for a new law placing a duty on all professionals working with children to report child abuse when they come across it, has raised its head again. Paula Barrow of Manchester has started gathering signatures to get a debate in parliament on the subject http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/change-the-law-to-better-protect-vulnerable-children-like-daniel-pelka.

Teachers, youth workers, probation officers and others would be obligated to report any child abuse concerns they come across to the police or local authority Children’s Services. Meanwhile the NSPCC has come up with the idea of an additional new law to criminalise anyone who covers up child abuse they knew about (see http://www.nspcc.org.uk/news-and-views/ceo-news/reporting-abuse-policy/covering-up-abuse-crime_wda103339.html.)
All this has been played out against a back-drop of missing files listing paedophiles in high places and popular entertainers going to prison for ‘historic’ offences. But do we need such ‘mandatory reporting’ as it is known?

We have considered such laws before and some people wanted ‘mandatory reporting’ to be written in to the Children Act 1989. A preliminary discussion paper looked at the idea but ruled it out seeing reporting on a legal basis as being unnecessary because we could depend on the professional judgement of the workers concerned (1).

Practitioners and professionals have always prided themselves on providing a confidential service to members of the public, qualified only by the need to breach that confidentiality when someone was seemingly at risk of harm. The interaction between worker and service user was accorded a form of ‘confidential space’ where the boundaries were known and crossed only if necessary. Mandatory reporting will arguably reduce the size of that ‘confidential space’.
One of the problems of reporting child abuse has always been how you define child abuse. No problem when it is extreme and obvious but often it is not. The recent inclusion of ‘emotional abuse’ as child abuse for example is going to need some defining. Child abuse is not a legal term. If reporting becomes an obligation then more reporting is likely to take place just ‘to be on the safe side’ and to avoid any possible prosecution. Who would want to be the first practitioner prosecuted for not reporting?

The police and local authorities could find their workload in this area growing rapidly. That in turn could mean investigating a flood reports which will overwhelm both agencies already hit by reduced resources. When many of those reports are vague and ill-founded workers could be performing extensive investigations that could take them away from the serious allegations.
Mandatory reporting is also yet another attack on the professionalism of many workers who are considered incapable of making reporting decisions without a law. Already surrounded by bureaucracy, guidance, managerialism and procedures this will be yet another form of direction imposed on the practitioner. Who needs three years of study when it’s all in ‘the book’? Anyone else noticed that probation officers no longer need any qualifications in future?

Other questions arise. Will mandatory reporting have an impact on the therapeutic process? Will people be less open with their therapist knowing the worker has no margin of discretion and less ‘confidential space’ to work in? If a report has to be made what will happen to the working relationship that had been established?

Mandatory reporting is not the panacea it appears at first sight and in the rush to do ‘something’ we may end up with a worse situation than we have now.

(1) DHSS (1985) Review of Child Care Law HMSO: London (paras 12.3-4)

Author: Terry Thomas, Visiting Professor of Criminal Justice Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University

Chicago Homicides and the Concealed-Carry

Nickie Phillips

Let's not get carried away.

(Searchingforstyle.com)

This dubious Red Statearticle suggests that the drop in homicides in Chicago during the first three months of 2014 is attributed to the recent implementation of the issuance of concealed carry licenses in the state.

This might be an interesting hypothesis, except for the fact that the “first wave of concealed-carry permits” was not mailed until the last week in February. And for the fact that the number of shootings had already fallen “24% from 2,448 to 1,864 between 2012 and 2013”. And for the fact that nearly $100 million was paid in overtime for officers and policing strategies that were implemented specifically to target gun violence.

Crimcast suggests a review of the problem of extraneous and confounding variables would be appropriate here.

Investigating Internet Crimes: An Interview with Cybercrime Expert Art Bowker

Nickie Phillips

geralt @ pixabay

Crimcast welcomes cybercrime specialist Art Bowker to discuss his new book, co-authored with Todd G. Shipley, titled Investigating Internet Crimes: An Introduction to Solving Crimes in Cyberspace. Bowker has nearly 30 years experience in law enforcement and corrections and has written extensively on cybercrime, law enforcement, and corrections. His last book, The Cybercrime Handbook for Community Corrections, (2012) was geared toward managing offenders, including offenders’ Internet use and participation in social media. The book was the first of its kind that focused on cybercrime, pretrial, probation, parole and community corrections.

In 2013,  Bowker was recognized by the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) and the Federal Probation and Pretrial Officers Association (FPPOA), receiving the APPA's Sam Houston State University Award and the FPPOA's Richard F. Doyle Award,  National Line Officer of the Year and the Thomas E. Gahl, Line Officer of the Year Award (Great Lakes Region Award) the latter of which is named in honor of the only U.S. Probation Officer killed in the line of duty. These awards all centered on his contributions and efforts in managing cybercrime risk and promoting awareness and knowledge of cybercrime in the field of community corrections. Bowker continues to also write the top rated corrections blog, The Three C's (Computers, Crime and Corrections).

You have a background in law enforcement and corrections. How did you become interested in the study of cybercrime?

9780124078178

First, let me thank you for providing me this opportunity to talk about cybercrime and our new book. My interest in cybercrime dates back to the late 1980’s.  I came to the realization that such crimes can have a greater negative societal impact (loss or harm) than many traditional offenses.  At that time cybercrime was really the purview of the technically sophisticated or those with access to the victim’s computer system.  However, that all changed with the development of “user friendly” technologies. Today, anyone can use the computer to commit crime.  Computers and more specifically, the Internet have really changed criminal behavior and how we deal with it.  Kids today, with a computer, can commit crimes that previously required one either being an adult and/or access to very expensive equipment.  We also have “traditional” offenders adapting computers and the Internet to commit both old and new crimes. The Internet also means that the criminal and their victims can be located anywhere and they don’t even have to have met in the “real” world. The ability to be anyone online and seemingly obtaining complete anonymity also makes these crimes even more challenging for investigators.   The increasing use of technology by sex offenders is also very troubling.

Additionally, these criminal behaviors are not static but continue to evolve as the technology changes.  Take social networking sites for instance. With their development we have really seen an increase in such crimes as Internet harassment offenses (cyberbullying and cyberstalking) and their negative effect on victims. The development of online gaming has also seen offenders going into virtual worlds to commit crimes.  The question is, are we seeing truly new crime or are old ones just evolving? How do we  (society and the criminal justice system) address these changes?  It is really fascinating and at times scary. 

There are numerous cybercrime and/or computer forensic books and texts out there.  How is thisbook different?

Let me start by saying that this book developed out of my association with my co-author Todd Shipley.  Todd has been at the forefront of Internet investigations and is an International expert in locating, collecting, preserving and documenting online evidence.  He also holds the U.S. patent, US 8417776 B2, for Online Evidence Collection. We initially meet when we were both International officers of the High Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA).

During a weekend telephone conversation we both discussed and recognized a need for a resource specific to Internet investigations. Todd happened to have started a draft outline, which we built into our text.  From the start we wanted to provide to the investigative community a reference book that would help guide them in dealing with the growing issues of Internet related crime.  We heard the frustration with the lack of published material specific to Internet investigations, as opposed to the numerous computer forensic texts. This book was  intended to fill the void and provide  a focused approach to investigating, documenting and locating Internet criminals. We believe we hit the mark based upon the positive feedback from numerous law enforcement professionals, who believe our text should be required for all new investigators as well as their supervisors and managers.  We were recently pleased to hear from one law enforcement professional who read our book and reported that he had recently used the book’s material to successful work several criminal cases.  This is exactly what Todd and I wanted for our book!

The target audience of this book is Internet investigators. Do most police departments have investigators focused specifically on Internet crimes, or are these tools and skills something that all investigators should become familiar with?

Before I answer that, I think we have to consider the term  “Internet crimes” .  Most folks hear the term Internet crime, cybercrime, or computer crime, and think of computer intrusions, hacking, etc. However, criminal acts on the Internet are as varied as there are crimes to commit. Texts have been devoted to the investigation and prevention of computer intrusions and hacking. Our book's primary focus is to provide law enforcement with the basic skills to understand how to investigate traditional crimes committed on the Internet.

Many police departments have computer crime units, which focus on hacking,  intrusions, etc. and they may even include  a computer forensic examiner or two.  However, even in these department they can quickly become overwhelmed if every crime involving the Internet was handled exclusively by their unit.  Most small departments have little ability to respond to Internet based crime.

Many times these cases get sent to federal agencies for their attention, which may or may not follow up based upon the loss or harm involved.  The point is all crimes committed or facilitated through the Internet are too numerous to be solely addressed by specialized units and/or the federal agencies.

There is also an erroneously held belief by some in law enforcement that Internet crimes are not their problem, noting  “The Internet is not my Jurisdiction.”  This belief fails to recognize that victims and/or offenders may in fact be in their  jurisdiction. No police department should be ignoring Internet crimes effecting their community or criminals operating in their area, abet online.

Todd has a saying, which I fully support, “Make the Internet your regular beat.” We believe that all officers, from the patrolmen up to the chief, have to understand Internet crime and its investigative process.  We also believe that agencies must have an online presence to not only investigate these cases but show that they patrol and prevent them when possible.  In short, all law enforcement in the 21st Century needs to be able to address crimes with an Internet component.

I would also add that we believe civil investigators need to have the skills and knowledge our book covers as civil matters are increasing having an Internet component as well.

The book does a great job of breaking down complex concepts and technical jargon into a readable narrative. What advice would you give to investigators (or students) that are hesitant to invest time into learning about cybercrime because it seems “too technical?”

First, I think you have to dispense with the idea that anyone involved in law enforcement in the 21st Century, can just let crime involving computers and/or the Internet be left to someone else.  More and more evidence involves data found on computers or the Internet.  Even crimes that had nothing to do with the Internet leave online traces to witnesses and even evidence. Take the example of the Boston Marathon Bombings.   The bombing had nothing to do with the Internet. However, witnesses, photographs, etc. were obtained from Twitter traffic from individuals on the scene after the attack. These leads were eventually capitalized to correctly identify the suspects. Another example is the sex crime case that occurred in Steubenville Ohio. The crime itself had nothing to do with the Internet. However,  the social media traffic by witnesses and suspects no doubt  played a big rule in the investigative process of the crime. So you see it really is not a choice of whether they should invest time in developing these skill and knowledge. It will be a necessity if it isn’t already.

Okay, now for my advice for how one goes about gaining cybercrime knowledge.  It is really the same answer to the question of how one goes about eating an elephant.  You must do it one bite at a time and in more than one siting. The same applies to learning about cybercrime.  You take small steps; digest the information and then move on to the next topic.  I think our book is the first step in that process.  To be a modern investigator one doesn’t have to become a computer forensic examiner.  However, you do have to know where online evidence can be found, document it, collect it and preserve it.  Our book lays out that foundation as it pertains to Internet evidence.

What would you say is the single biggest challenge that investigators face when investigating cybercrimes?

Probably the biggest challenge is when criminals really understand how to be anonymous online and rigorously use the processes and techniques to conceal their identity. This is a challenge but as we have seen in the recent arrests involving Silk Road and other sites on Tor, even the so called “smartest” criminals make mistakes. Investigators have to be prepared to capitalize on those mistakes whenever and where ever they occur.

In the book, you devote sections to topics such as tracing IP addresses and gaining anonymity online. The information you provide is technically “public” knowledge but it is certainly not common knowledge. While writing the book, did you ever feel the danger of giving away too much information? That is, reporting information that may be exploited by cyber-criminals?

This is a very good question. You are right this information is readily available online. It really is no secret.  More and more criminals are aware of these techniques. If not, they do online research to find out how to do something.  The problem is that there are probably more bad guys than good guys that are aware of these techniques.  We hope our book tips the scales in favor of the giving the good guys the informational edge. However, there were a few times where we did leave out details concerning a sensitive high tech law enforcement technique that was not widely known.

You mention that police may use the Internet in a reactive (responding to crimes after they have occurred) as well as a proactive (efforts to prevent crime) manner. What are the most pressing legal/ethical issues with regard to proactive Internet investigations?

Agencies and their investigators have to do their job in a manner that enforces the law but does not violate their citizenry’s rights.   Some of the issues concern entrapment, privacy, and in the United States the Bill of Rights, such as freedom of speech, association.

To help make sure agencies are on right side of the legal and ethical issues, before doing proactive Internet investigations the following should occur: 1) have a policy governing the investigation of Internet crimes; 2) have a defined plan of the investigation before going online; 3) use a computer that if compromised will not allow for further compromise of the agency or company network; 4) obtain training for the investigation of Internet related crimes; and last 5) understand the changing legal landscape regarding the use of information you find on the Internet.

This is not just for the law enforcement agencies either. Corporate and private investigators also need to follow these principles.

Can you tell us what you are currently working on? Can we expect another cybercrime book from you in the near future?

Well, now I am keeping pretty business discussing the book and trying to get it the hands of law enforcement and investigative communities. Even so, I have some ideas, such as a book to help the general public minimize their cyberrisk and stay safe online. We will see.

And, finally, what the hell are bitcoins??

Ha Ha, good question. Bitcoin is a digital currency created in 2009 by a pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. They are created by individuals using computers which create this cyptocurrency by solving mathematical equations. These equations verify and record all bitcoin transactions payments. In exchange for using their computer resources to run these equations individuals received transaction fees in the form of bitcoins. This process is called "mining." No one regulates the creation of bitcoins. It is all through the solving of these equations, which all record all bitocin transactions.  A set amount of bitcoins is to be created,  21 million bitcoins I believe, which is estimated to be reached by 2140.  Most bitcoins are obtained not by mining but by exchanging regular currency for bitcoins. They can also be converted back to regular currency for a fee.  Current exchange rate on February 4, 2014, was  1 Bitcoin = $803.99. The exchange rate is still rather volatile.

Bitcoins allow individuals to buy and sell goods without a third party entity, such as a bank or credit card processing company. Bitcoin owners are identified not by their name but ownership of a cryptographic keys. These keys make up the bitcoin wallet. This gives individuals a sense of anonymity, which criminals want, when dealing with illegal transactions.

Bitcoins have been used to purchase legal as well was as illegal goods. The Silk Road arrests noted earlier involved individuals allegedly selling drugs for bitcoins. Individuals also like bitcoins because there is no government controlling its value, such as by determining how many are in circulation at anyone time.

Besides being used for illegal transactions, bitcoins also can be a target for theft or fraud. Whether Bitcoins become fully accepted by the market place is still up in the air. The interesting thing again is technology has created a new currency, which can be used for good or criminal purposes.

Click here for our podcast featuring Art discussing his earlier book The Cybercrime Handbook for Community Corrections.

The Expansionary Nature of Governance Through Fear: Is it Worth it?

Nickie Phillips

NTAS

Part 5 of 5 in a series on Risk-Logic and the War on TerrorAditi Gupta, Guest Blogger

Over the last four weekly posts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part, 4), this blog series has been exploring the profoundly social impact that risk-based security policy has on our everyday lives. In using Selchow’s framework, I’m not trying to say that we have no agency in this process, and that we are helpless to stop it – quite the contrary. I feel only individual choice will reverse the trajectory of securitization, suspicion and fear that currently dictates how we view the risk of terrorism. By zooming in on the dynamics of depoliticization, responsibilization, and the separation of political decision-making from actuality, I have tried to break down the main pillars of what risk-logic does when it is the main force driving the governance of threats. I believe if we can understand objectively the forces at play within the networks of power that we engage in, we can decide for ourselves whether viewing the problem of terrorism only in terms of the risk of an attack and not the reasons behind one is benefiting our lives. Is this what we want for our future?

This question feeds in to the last dynamic of risk that is engendered by the dispositif of precautionary risk (DPR) mode of governance: expansion. As Selchow explains, the logic of risk implies an imperative to act. It is this dynamic that spurs the expansion of security; the UK government thus cannot not act. As we can see in the U.K., this dynamic inevitably feeds a process of ever-expanding securitization whereby increasing areas are deemed to harbor security threats. In the UK this can be seen in a variety of ways, stemming from the four rationalities driving the DPR. For example, this can be seen in the shift of the debate around tackling terrorism from addressing violence to extremism, from the physical to the imagined. This shift is one that has essentially ensured the securitization of potential thoughts.

It is no longer necessary for someone to physically carry out an act, suspicion of intent is enough to necessitate punishment. This perpetuates a discourse of ‘misunderstanding’ (as outlined last week) that produces normalized ways of engaging with this perceived risk. In other words, due to the perpetuation of the innate ‘bad’ label given to the archetypal religious Muslim, society is more likely to accept further curtailments on ‘their’ rights. As these risk-based decisions are not ‘tamed’ by an accompanying actuality or any hard evidence beyond the perception of ‘riskiness’, this form of thinking will always produce a sense that there are further uncertainties to be tamed. This can be seen in the steady expansion of who is deemed ‘risky’ since 9/11. From 2001-2005, external, foreign elements were seen to be the primary threat, resulting in the rapid securitization of the immigration system to target asylum seekers and immigrants (Amnesty, 2010). After 7/7, however, threats were expanded to include the panoptic surveillance of British citizens to target ‘home-grown’ enemies. Since then, the yearning for ever greater knowledge has spurred the extension of surveillance to health clinics, schools and universities where doctors and teachers are expected to inform on those under their care. (Liberty, 2007).

Mahdi Hashi

The pre-emptive nature of policies deployed by the DPR means that information is always, and always will be, incomplete. However, the desire to project the appearance of control has led to policies based on the expansion of ever-more vague offenses such as the offenses of ‘glorification of terrorism’ and ‘indirect encouragement’, and non-prosecution constraining measures, such as the Terrorism Prevention Investigation Measures (TPIMs [Annex 3]), in order to trap those who are suspected, but do not meet the evidentiary threshold required to be charged. Indeed, the acute suspicion of foreign nationals suspected of ‘extremist’ thoughts but not guilty of carrying out any criminal act, has very recently led to an expansion of executive power to enable the stripping of any naturalized citizen’s British citizenship. In recent years, this citizenship stripping has enabled governments to stick to the dogma of zero-risk and assassinate terror suspects through targeted drone strikes: if the suspect no longer exists, there’s no need to deal with the problematic prosecution of a crime that hasn’t been committed yet.

How this dynamic effects resistance: power dynamics

Consistent with the other dynamics, this process also precipitates at both the micro and macro levels. At the macro-level, Liberty articulates, ‘politicians feel like they need to be seen to be doing something in response to the terrorist threat, regardless of whether it wise…counter-productive…whether it’s entirely unnecessary’. Amnesty International United Kingdom (AIUK) has commented on the difficulty of fighting expansion of policy due to the combination of future temporality, secret evidence and use of vague offenses. In a 2012 Amnesty International report, resistance to this is seen as ‘shadow-boxing’ where ‘you have no idea if your strategy and points are on the money or wide of the mark’. AIUK has documented how the ‘seepage’ of the use of secret evidence in the U.K. has managed to dampen the successes gained in chipping away the system of pre-charge detention down to TPIMs, becoming an ever-more permanent feature of the civil sanctioning system with the institutionalization of the Justice and Security Act.

Reprieve and CagePrisoners demonstrate the importance of micro-resistance in direct ways with the public. CagePrisoners urge those affected by the expansion of risk-based policy to come directly to them to seek justice together, as well as share individual every-day experiences of these policies on a specially created website ‘www.schedule7stories.com’. They explain that this was done so that Muslims themselves could understand that these policies were not just based on racism, but part of a much bigger problem of governance, thus recognizing the importance of engaging with the macro-level debate.

SoapBNPS_450x350

Reprieve has aimed to expose the sheer expansion of War on Terror policy such as the rendition network through the invasion of public space. For example, through teaming up with cosmetics company, LUSH, and lingerie designer, Agent Provocateur, images of Binyam Mohammad and Sami al Haj appeared in LUSH High Street windows, bath bombs and even on the runway through underwear that stated ‘fair trial, my arse’ (Reprieve, 2008). The use of humor in conjunction with this micro-level contact had a powerful impact that made the name ‘Binyam Mohammad’ shorthand for U.K. complicity in rendition and torture.

The importance of humanizing the nature of risk-based policies at the micro-level and not just applying political pressure at the state and transnational level is caught up in the significance CagePrisoners gives to the role of ‘misunderstanding’. If individual assumptions are not targeted – whether they be about misunderstanding the driver of policy or misunderstanding the indefinability of terrorism – people will carry on being normalized into thinking that to gain security, you have to keep on giving up freedoms.

Conclusion: How the case of HRO resistance in the UK pulls together the threads of risk and power

By analyzing the role of human rights organization (HRO) resistance to the technologies deployed by the DPR mode of governance in what Foucault calls ‘the battle for truth’, it is thus possible to see how risk dynamics are ultimately intertwined with power. Focusing on this site of resistance can see how Selchow’s four dynamics are central to the constant negotiation of the dynamics of power that circulate the ‘regime of truth’ regarding the governance of the UK through the DPR.

Secondly, the example of the work of CagePrisoners and their encouragement of the micro-resistance of the Muslim ‘suspect community’ to supplement the macro-resistance carried out at state-level by HROs crucially reveals that it is not enough to simply focus on macro-, policy-level resistance whether globally, or against the state. This is due to what CagePrisoners deems ‘misunderstanding’ at both the micro- and macro-levels. The creation of the Muslim ‘terrorist’ is a central technology deployed by the DPR through the four rationalities that drive it. In essence, the case of the UK suggests that the perpetuation of a discourse of ‘misunderstanding’ produces normalized ways of engaging with discourses that present the Muslim identity as ‘risky’. In other words, due to the perpetuation of the innate ‘bad’ label given to the perceived ‘archetypal religious Muslim’, it is likely that society will submit to the dynamic of expansion that indicates further curtailments on ‘their’ rights. If it doesn’t affect me - it’s not my problem, right?

By looking at the combined social and political effects of risk dynamics and their ripple effect on relations of power, it can be seen that simply focusing on resistance to top-down frameworks that govern political power such as parliamentary mechanisms and lobbying, is no longer enough. The Foucauldian ‘battle for truth’ is not about absolute truths that are accepted, but about rules by which these truths are constructed and engaged with by society. The importance of going beyond legal frameworks and working at the level of everyday interaction is highlighted by the examples of CagePrisoners and Reprieve in their parallel activities that aim to affect micro-relations. Interestingly, both of these organizations emerged fully-fledged post-9/11, born out of the need to resist the rationalities and technologies deployed by the DPR.

In saying this, this blog series is not saying that state-level resistance is not important. As shown, different HROs take different roles regarding resistance within the DPR system of governance. Organizations like Liberty and Amnesty cannot fulfill the same role as an organization like CagePrisoners as they are not part of the ‘suspect community’. By the same token, Reprieve equally cannot function the same way as CagePrisoners. However, when viewing successful negotiation of power within the DPR such as the joint HRO campaigns on pre-charge detention and UK complicity in torture, it is clear that there needs to be this division of labor. This enables HROs to target the multiple dimensions of the dynamics engendered by the DPR: global, legal, political, social; micro- and macro-.

This series has attempted to highlight the shifting and fluid nature of the circulations of power underlying risk-governance. Risk-logic can’t be reduced to a technical tool used to govern terrorism. The dynamics that this sets in motion have fundamentally altered society-state relations in a profoundly social way. Risk-based security policy has resulted in a wholesale cultural shift that rests on fear and suspicion and doesn’t ask why the problem of terrorism exists. Instead, it simply tries to pre-empt it from occurring through an expansionary process that is slowly destroying freedom of speech, movement and privacy. Ultimately, the question we should be asking ourselves when we ignore this practice is: ‘is this worth it?’

Aditi Gupta

Aditi Gupta graduated with an MSc in Global Politics (Civil Society) from the London School of Economics and Political Science in Autumn 2013.  She has previously worked at Soul Rebel Films and Reprieve and has co-authored reports based on depth interviews conducted for the Indian development NGO, CHIRAG. Aditi has volunteered for refugee and homeless organizations in the UK and is developing a career in the human rights field. This is the last post in her five-part series on Crimcast which began in early January, 2014.

"It's Probably Nothing, But...": How Governments Make Us Responsible For Our Own Security

Nickie Phillips

NTAS

Part 4 of 5 in a series on Risk-Logic and the War on Terror

Aditi Gupta, Guest Blogger

Following on from last week’s post, this week I’ll be discussing Selchow’s third dynamic that is engendered by the Dispositif of Precautionary Risk (DPR), a pre-emptory risk –based mode of governance: the internalization of security issues and the process of ‘responsibilization’. As touched upon last week, the creation of an archetypal Muslim terrorist figure in the U.K. has essentially depoliticized the issue of the governance of terrorism for the majority of the population, while the blame for the root of terrorism has been placed firmly on Islamic extremism and the British Muslim community by association. Thus, it’s evident that the dynamics of depoliticization and responsibilization are intimately linked. Through the governmentality approach, the DPR mode of governance shows that its assemblages of surveillance and risk discourse both work to construct sectors of society that are ‘dreamt up, marginalized and put under suspicion’; and ‘normalize’ the rest of the population, thereby ‘inviting citizens to become security guards, spies and informants’ on the ‘risky’ Muslim community (Mythen and Walklate 2006:390-392). This means that the Muslim community is not only blamed for the problem of terrorism, but are ultimately pressured to provide the solution to the problem by looking inwardly at themselves; effectively, the Muslim community has to internalize the problem of national security in this way, taking it on their own shoulders while simultaneously easing the responsibility of the government to engage fully with the problem.

Those who do not fall under the ‘suspect community’ are responsibilitized in a way that not only allows the continued allocation of blame on the ‘suspect community’, but also places the onus on them to report on anything ‘abnormal’. This dynamic is most clearly seen in government campaigns such as the recent one by the Metropolitan Police emphasizing that it is the Londoners’ responsibility ‘to be vigilant’ for anything ‘out of place in normal day to day lives’.

met police sign

Mythen et. al. (2012:394) thus articulate the core of this politics of normalcy: ‘this requirement to present an outwardly safe identity…reveals the coercive social pressures that a pervasive climate of suspicion has engendered’. Indeed, this has led to ‘checking behaviors’ such as selective use of dialect, clothing and curbing of outward behavior in the public sphere (p. 391). As the 7/7 bombers were ‘home-grown’ from the Muslim community in Yorkshire, the onus of protecting society has fallen hardest on the Muslim communities in the U.K. The consequences of this element of responsibilization via the allocation of blame has led to the targeted surveillance of Muslim communities through stop and search policies, questioning at ports under Schedule 7 of the Terrorist Act, pre-emptory raids, and the pressure to spy on their own communities through the creation of Muslim Community Units through the PREVENT strategy. Notably, even though these pre-emptory actions are based entirely on suspicion of intent, the person who is targeted has barely any rights in place to protect them from the effects of human error in judging their ‘riskiness’. A corollary to this is the 600% increase in Islamophobia since 2001 and its associated increase in violence on Muslim people and mosques (Spalek, 2008:420).

How this dynamic effects resistance: power dynamics

The dynamic of responsibilization can be seen as directly related to the discourses of power surrounding the ‘battle for truth’ regarding justice. Amnesty International United Kingdom (AIUK) iterates that this dynamic makes HRO work safeguarding human rights standards all the more significant: ‘the stuff that is most unpopular is some of the most important…because it’s the issues that others won’t pick up on…that don’t have public support’. As Liberty (2007:16) articulate, it is unlikely that the majority of Britons ‘upon waking up…felt more subject to surveillance than they did yesterday’; however, targeted surveillance over the Muslim community means that they truly feel the interlinked dynamics in Burchell’s (1991) sense of having to change the way they see themselves as governed subjects, due to the way they are governed. CagePrisoners explains, ‘the way the government speaks, the way the media speaks and the way the average person on the street speaks all perpetuate this cycle of fear’, thus responsibilitizing society wholesale through the DPR’s rationalities of zero-risk and shifting of the burden of proof.

However, from CagePrisoners’ personalized responses in interview, we can see that governance through the DPR and the social dynamics it engenders has a much sharper effect on the ‘suspect community’ of Muslims. CagePrisoners explains that this suspicion has a chilling effect on the politics of the community as a whole: ‘if we stick our heads above the parapet, they’re going to come after us next’. It is thus evident that CagePrisoners feels the four interrelated dynamics engendered by DPR in a way that cuts right to the social core of what the application of risk does to society. As CagePrisoners says, ‘wherever you see a threat coming from a community which goes against the norm of understanding of criminal behavior, you will see a disproportionate response to those threats’. CagePrisoners’ responses emphasize that the key role of the organization is to empower the Muslim community to break away from inactivity and submission to the prevailing rationalities of zero-risk and the shift of the burden of proof.

Due to its unique vantage-point as a Muslim organization, CagePrisoners engages in this ‘battle for truth’ on a level that has a much more personal tone than any of the other human rights organizations (HROs) interviewed. For example, in a CagePrisoners article (Balaratnam, 2012) regarding United Kingdom BorderAgency  (UKBA) policy of detaining people at the border for questioning under Schedule 7, the article speaks directly to a Muslim audience and is presented as a Muslim voice. Although not articulated in the terminology of risk, the article essentially asks Muslims to break through the dynamic of responsibilization whereby the allocation of blame on the Muslim community is legitimized through the reflexive internalization of blame. The article asserts it point by provocatively asserting that if the reader is stopped at the border, they have to concede ‘it’s my fault I got stopped today – my fault for being brown’. The form of resistance encouraged by CagePrisoners, therefore, is one that is very different to collective action. It is essentially micro-resistance whereby the individual only resists what affects them on an individual, direct level. Thus, if the affected community itself does not even question the rationalities that legitimize racially-prejudiced forms of profiling and surveillance, CagePrisoners warns that no one will, therefore undermining any lobbying conducted by HROs at the state-level.

This insight is even more powerful when one considers the recent uproar over the detention of David Miranda under Schedule 7 – only when one of the majority non-Muslim population was affected did the media question it, let alone campaign against it. Ultimately, it was only picked up by the media because Schedule 7 affected a Guardian journalist’s partner (Greenwald, 2013). This relation epitomizes the importance of the ‘micro’ level of resistance in countering what is essentially a cultural shift to living through risk, when faced with the multitude of arguments that focus on the global erosion of rights and the need for macro-analyses of power.

Whilst Liberty, AIUK and Reprieve revealed their primary state-level focus by identifying the depoliticization dynamics of secrecy and the narrative of fear as the greatest obstacles to checking government overreach, CagePrisoners stated ‘misunderstanding and blind ignorance’. For them, the social impact of society not understanding the Muslim community, ‘what they’re about and their belief system’ is a major factor in the way government policy is formed. His responses suggest that the government construction of a ‘paradigm of who we are and the way that we engage’ has completely neglected the crucial importance of micro power dynamics. In a reflection of the multitudinal networks of Foucauldian power relations, Asim Qureshi, Executive Director of Cageprisoners, outlines that ‘our identity is not just an identity; it’s a multitude of identities that superimpose themselves one on top of the other’. It may seem logical and practical for the UK government to ask the Muslim community to report on ‘bad’ Muslims through policies such as PREVENT; however, the top-down engagement with only the archetypal ‘good’ Muslim that has been created in the political imagination effectively renders the policy counter-productive and end up pushing away the majority of Muslims who feel they do not fit that rigid definition. CagePrisoners gave the example of Muslims being targeted by the government for simply disagreeing with government policies such as going to war with Iraq. At a recent lecture, CagePrisoners’ founder, Moazzam Begg, spoke of a teenage girl arrested for writing poetry that was seen as ‘extremist’. In their view, the government-led counter-terror policy is ‘dictated by people who are not willing to engage in a way that is useful’, thus simultaneously legitimizing more and more extreme measures against ordinary people in order to secure the state, while creating resentment and isolation among communities who would be willing to engage on their own terms.

Moazzam-Begg-640x360

This insight cuts to the social core of the combined dynamics of risk engendered by the DPR; ultimately, as asserted by CagePrisoners, this ‘criminalization of people based on an assumption of what you think they are’ takes away Muslim agency. It says, ‘you’re not capable of making up your own mind…you’re not capable of engaging with society…and so we’re going to put you all in the same tub and treat you all in the same way’. This is why the policy shift from targeting violent actions to ‘extremist’ thoughts dictated by UK counter-terror policy worries CagePrisoners so much; it is inherently disenfranchising and disempowering.

Indeed, this micro-level understanding of power dynamics in the context of risk-governance and the need to resist them is also demonstrated by Reprieve in a way that connects the global, macro-level power dynamics inherent in the War on Terror; apart from the macro-issues of the rendition program and Guantánamo, they acknowledge that it is ‘Life After Guantánamo’ (LAG) that poses a big social problem (Reprieve, 2009). Their LAG program thus attempts to overcome the social and psychological difficulties experienced by ex-detainees that result from absorbing all four dynamics of risk via pre-emptory policies and the way that society treats them when they are finally released.

The U.K. government’s perpetuation of what CagePrisoners calls a discourse of ‘misunderstanding’ ultimately produces a Muslim identity that is inherently perceived as ‘risky’. Not only does this dynamic force the Muslim community as a whole to feel responsible for the devastation created by terrorist attacks they had no connection with, the government’s attempts to use this community as an intelligence source ends up actually isolating them further. The rest of society, meanwhile, sinks further into a cycle of constant vigilance and suspicion: is the neighbor with the blinds constantly down up to no good? The perpetuation of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and ‘suspicious’ and ‘normal’ labels within UK security practice mean that it is likely that majority society will accept – even crave – extension of security measures and further curtailments on the rights of socially constructed ‘bad people’. The state of constant readiness for the next attack that is physically taken on by the U.K. population thus leads to the dynamic I will be focusing on next week: the expansion of ‘securitization’.

Aditi Gupta

Aditi Gupta graduated with an MSc in Global Politics (Civil Society) from the London School of Economics and Political Science in Autumn 2013.  She has previously worked at Soul Rebel Films and Reprieve and has co-authored reports based on depth interviews conducted for the Indian development NGO, CHIRAG. Aditi has volunteered for refugee and homeless organizations in the UK and is developing a career in the human rights field. This is the fourth installment in her five-part series on Crimcast which began on January 3, 2014.