: Despicable attack by NS Premier, Cops, on teen

Apr 17th, 2018, 11:10 AM
Fifteen cops showed up to arrest a teenager for using the internet (https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/featured/fifteen-cops-showed-up-to-arrest-a-teenager-for-using-the-internet/)

CBC reporter Jack Julian interviewed the 19 year old who was arrested in the mischaracterized ďdata breachĒ of the provinceís Freedom of Information website. Julianís article is a great piece of reporting; it is well-written, sensitive, informative, and enraging.

If police statements about how the teenager accessed the information are correct, the teenager did nothing at all wrong. He wrote a script to help him download documents from a public-facing website. He didnít ďhackĒ anything. He didnít misrepresent himself. He didnít try to hide his identity or mask his web presence. In fact, he didnít do anything plenty of people and businesses legitimately do every day. A rich detail: the teenager was downloading the documents in order to research the governmentís dispute with the teachersí union.

Moreover, thereís been no allegation that the teenager used the documents he freely accessed to cause any harm. He didnít steal identities or sell data.

No one with the provincial government or with the Halifax police department has provided any information to suggest that the the situation is anything other than described above.

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The only way that I can understand why the province is so overreacting ó going so far as Premier Stephen McNeil deeming a teenager guilty of a crime he hasnít yet even been arraigned for ó is that it is in major butt-covering mode.

The overreach goes right to the Halifax police,....

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Iíve seen more subtle police raids to arrest people charged with murder.

Thereís simply no excuse for this. None. The Halifax police have a lot to answer for.

But, the police do what the police do. The outsized police response was itself in response to a directive or complaint from the province. As someone pointed out to me last night on Twitter:

There had to be someone who made an allegation of wrongdoing to start this off; that person needs to be accountable to what appears to be an instance of swatting to cover up technical incompetence by the government.

ó Kevin McArthur (@KevinSMcArthur) April 16, 2018

(Halifax Examiner (https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/featured/fifteen-cops-showed-up-to-arrest-a-teenager-for-using-the-internet/))


Nova Scotia filled its public Freedom of Information Archive with citizens' private data, then arrested the teen who discovered it (https://boingboing.net/2018/04/16/scapegoating-children.html)

A 19 year old in Nova Scotia wanted to learn more about the provincial teachers' dispute, so he filed some Freedom of Information requests; he wasn't satisfied with the response so he decided to dig through other documents the province had released under open records laws to look for more, but couldn't find a search tool that was adequate to the job.

He noticed that the URL for the response to his request ended with a long number, and by changing that number (by adding or subtracting from it), he could access other public documents published by the government in response to public requests.

So he wrote a one-line program to grab all the public records, planning on searching them once they were on his hard-drive. On Wednesday morning, 15 police officers raided his home, terrorising his family (including his very young siblings -- they scooped one of his younger brothers up as he was walking home from school, arresting him on the street) and seizing all the family's electronics, including the phone and computer his father depends on for his livelihood. The young man now faces criminal charges and possible jail-time.

The reason for the raid and the arrests? The government had unwisely uploaded private, confidential documents to its open directory of public open records, and so they are charging this teen with improperly accessing these confidential documents.

(BoingBoing (https://boingboing.net/2018/04/16/scapegoating-children.html))

Apr 17th, 2018, 11:31 AM
Yeah, on the face of it, this is garbage.

Apr 17th, 2018, 11:35 AM
Seems like some common sense was lacking in the response.

So this kid maybe didn't follow the rules to the letter with a freedom of information request. And maybe his script looked like a breach or cyber attack. Maybe.

No one wondered why this criminal mastermind used a local, unmasked IP from a Canadian ISP?

At most 2 rcmp officers should have come over to question the teen with parents present. 5 minutes in they would have learned what exactly was going on.

Probably some IT guys were covering their butts here. Calling this a breach when really it was sloppy coding or outdated html. There are all kinds of privacy laws relating to personal data and they real problem is this website probably doesn't meet those requirements at all.

Reminds me of when I was at university. The professors had webpages where they would put up notes and assignments. Back in the days when websites were like chat.carleton.ca/~somedude/website/index/page1 . I realised I could get all the notes and assignments right away by changing the URL rather than waiting for the prof to put up links on the index page. Sneaky like this kid.

Good luck on your forthcoming lawsuit kid!

Apr 17th, 2018, 01:13 PM
It's time that whoever instigated the raid and whoever led the raid face serious jail time. It is the only way that the rights of Canadians will be respected in the future. Otherwise we might just as well rename the Halifax Police the Halifax STASI.

The world is not a better place when the cops are the thugs.

Apr 17th, 2018, 03:05 PM
I think it's fabulous.

Apr 17th, 2018, 05:27 PM
Our premier is backtracking saying that they over-reacted ...... and did not think that the police would come down as hard on this teen as they did.

Story of N.S. teen accused in government website breach resonates with programmers | CBC News (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/teen-accused-foi-website-resonates-programmers-1.4623757)

Apr 17th, 2018, 08:32 PM
Our premier is backtracking saying that they over-reacted ...... and did not think that the police would come down as hard on this teen as they did.

Story of N.S. teen accused in government website breach resonates with programmers | CBC News (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/teen-accused-foi-website-resonates-programmers-1.4623757)

All of this over scraping data from the internet? If that's all that happened, somebody screwed up badly. Probably multiple people: the data became publicly available, somebody overreacted to public data being downloaded by a bot (not even one of those fancy Russian bots), and then the cops responded with overwhelming force without questioning the details of the breach.