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Feds Arrest Private Eye at HOPE 430

An anonymous reader writes "FBI agents today arrested Steven Rambam, the owner of a company that bills itself as the largest privately held online investigative service in the United States, according to Washingtonpost.com's Security Fix blog. From the story: 'Rambam was arrested this afternoon by FBI agents just moments before he was to lead a panel discussion on privacy here at the HOPE hacker conference in New York City. Rambam and three other panelists were to discuss how they dug up -- in just 4.5 hours of searching private and public databases -- more than 500 pages worth of data on HOPE attendee Rick Dakan, who agreed to be the guinea pig for the project.'"
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Feds Arrest Private Eye at HOPE

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  • by Ph33r th3 g(O)at ( 592622 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @06:49PM (#15764429)
    AFAIK, digging up information on a willing person and presenting isn't illegal.
    • by NixLuver ( 693391 ) <stwhiteNO@SPAMkcheretic.com> on Saturday July 22, 2006 @06:55PM (#15764442) Homepage Journal
      That would depend on the means used to acquire said information. The fact that I give you permission to 'dig up what information you can' on me doesn't grant you immunity from prosecution for, say, social engineering data out of the county clerk (fraud), computer crime (hacking the hospital's database, for instance), or other process that's illegal by its very character. I can *give* you that information, of course, but then you're not 'digging it up', eh?
      • by double-oh three ( 688874 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @08:43PM (#15764647)
        Steve Rambam is a licensed private eye, and according to the guinea pig (I'm attending the conference) he signed a waiver and Steve used only legal databases. Steve was also running an intensive mini con on the 6th floor (Hope is on 2 and 18) and was arrested after that. That mini-con was private-eye oriented, not hacker.
        • Steve Rambam is a licensed private eye

          Is that relevant? For the most part, surely private investigators are subject to the same laws as the rest of us.

          and according to the guinea pig (I'm attending the conference) he signed a waiver and Steve used only legal databases

          How did the guinea pig determine that he only used 'legal databases'? Did he participate in the actual information gathering or is this based on an extremely detailed account of how every piece of information was gathered?

          Presumption of innocen

    • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:06PM (#15764468)
      > Any information on charges?

      We could tell you, but then we'd have to arrest you.
      • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @09:26PM (#15764750) Journal
        From TFA: Conference founder Emmanuel Goldstein said organizers were trying to figure out where the FBI had taken Rambam, and were contacting his parents and his lawyer.

        What's funny is that in 1984, Emmanuel Goldstein is "the Enemy of the People" after having once been a leading Party member almost at the level of Big Brother.

        If we're going to (badly) juxtapose reality with fiction, Rambam would be Winston, the guy who follows Goldstein's lead & eventually ends up arrested by agents of the Thought Police.

        (I know, the FBI != Though Police. I said it was a bad juxtaposition)
    • AFAIK, digging up information on a willing person and presenting isn't illegal

      The arrest is obviously for something else (the digging for the presentation had only just been done, so even if there was some problem there, there would not have been time to arrest him for that). The conference just before his presentation was merely the place they found him to carry out the arrest.

    • by 0kComputer ( 872064 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @08:58PM (#15764685)
      Its not illegal. The only real guidelines AFAIK deal w/ FCRA [wikipedia.org] regulations. In most cases PI's dont fall under this and actually have quite a bit of freedom as far as searches. In my opinion, this article is pretty useless. Sounds like this guy was arrested for something else. The fact that he could dig up information on his participant is just the result of a standard background check. ID verification/Credit/Vehicle registration databases readily provide this information and are the bread and butter of backround checks.
    • Any information on charges?

      Electrons: negative
      Neutrons: neutral
      Protons: positive
  • Reason? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xuranova ( 160813 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @06:49PM (#15764430)
    No one has any idea why he was arrested? I read the article and there wasn't any hint at a reason.
    • Re:Reason? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by davek ( 18465 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @06:55PM (#15764441) Homepage Journal
      That would be my first question. Why would the FBI engage in such an obvious publicity stunt? Arrest someone right before they're supposed to speak before a group of hackers? They'd better have some serious charges to levy against him, or else they've just shot themselves in the foot.... again.

      -dave
      • Re:Reason? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by iminplaya ( 723125 )
        ...or else they've just shot themselves in the foot.... again.

        What's that supposed to mean? When was the last time an agent has been brought up for violation of rights? And how long can they hold a citizen before bringing up charges? If they accuse him of some kind of terrorism, can they hold him as long as they want without charging him at all? I'll bet there will will be some serious gag order thing going on. Seeing as that is probably why they took him away. He might know "too much".
        • guys name was Mark Felt.. he was also pardoned, parthenetically he was also "Deep Throat"
        • Re:Reason? (Score:5, Informative)

          by sgt_doom ( 655561 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:32PM (#15764513)
          HOLY CRAP!!! Don't you EVER read the newspapers??? About 3 to 4 months ago, FBI guy arrested for child porn stuff. Awhile prior to that, big scandal about feebs trying to pull scam on Wall Street brokerage and people, prior to that, those FBI people convicted of being Mafia snitches, gave criminals inside information leading to murders of FBI informants. Ever hear of Ruby Ridge? FBI Assistant Director (under Louis "the Sicilian" Freeh's reign) was demoted before being tried, and convicted for obstruction of justice, falsification of evidence, etc., etc. Later his sentence was overturned when Bushies came into power....Please get with the program and stay current...and note I haven't even mentioned the five FBI agents busted for selling secrets to the Soviets over the preceding thirty years....
          • Re:Reason? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by iminplaya ( 723125 ) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Saturday July 22, 2006 @09:18PM (#15764734) Journal
            Ok, so they throw some to the wolves for the newspapers. Any reforms as a whole to the organization as a result? Aside from Freeh in your example, the rest were just caught being stupid off the job. It's still business as usual. A teeny bit worse under Bush maybe, but I don't see any real difference in their M.O. since Hoover was around. And, no I remain blissfully ignorant of the mass media's take on the matter. They only parrot what the government says. They don't DARE touch the real cause of what we are putting up with now. Certain groups are beyond all criticism. And their actions will never be reported or discussed. The last time they caused any real trouble was with the Pentagon Papers. But even after that, it's STILL business as usual. Turned out to be much ado about nothing. That, of course says more about the voters than anything else. Any attempt to report any truth just gets the media into more hot water. So it is useless to me now. It's all just more Laci Peterson fluff, which I immediately forget before I finish turning the page. Nope, the funnies are all I read now. The headlines are just flashing lights and pretty colors. I'll become interested in them when I see a real call to stand up for individual rights and freedoms. I'll be impressed when I see a call for Rumsfeld and the rest of the surviving Nixon and Reagan cabinet(Johnson's, Carter's and Clinton's too) and their European and Russian counterparts to stand beside Saddam in the trail. Or for Sharon, Shamir, and their ilk(the real untouchables) to be brought up on terrorism charges. The crooks being reported now are just being replaced with other crooks who will try to be a bit more careful about getting caught. Same ol' Same ol'.
      • Re:Reason? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pigscanfly.ca ( 664381 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:19PM (#15764490) Homepage
        nothing like a public arrest to keep the populac in line.
        I'm not saying that this arrest was for those purposes, but if you have large gathering of people who are all on the fringes of the law, a not so sutble way to remind them that they are being watched is arresting someone with a relatively high profile within the group.
      • Re:Reason? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Quadraginta ( 902985 )
        Why would the FBI engage in such an obvious publicity stunt? Arrest someone right before they're supposed to speak before a group of hackers?

        Well, first of all so they'd know exactly where he'd be and when, which lets the operation be organized easily. You don't have to risk an unknown situation popping up and agents at the scene having to improvise, which can lead to dangerous foolishness. Secondly, they can check out the (public) venue beforehand and be certain he didn't have a gun stashed away or somet
        • Re:Reason? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Schraegstrichpunkt ( 931443 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:57PM (#15764566) Homepage
          Well, they can't arrest him without a warrant.

          Um, the police don't need a warrant to arrest people in most circumstances. (An exception in Canada being to enter somebody's dwelling house to arrest them, but that still doesn't apply unless they guy was in his house.)

          • EILALILFL&O (Everything I learned about law I learned from Law & Order), but it seems to me that if an officer catches you in the middle of a crime then they have enough probable cause to arrest you. However, if they are building up evidence against you they would need a judge to sign an arrest warrant. Heck, i don't even think they can bring you in for questioning against your will without a warrant.
          • good golly no (Score:4, Informative)

            by Quadraginta ( 902985 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @03:22AM (#15765304)
            Good grief, in what fascist hellhole do you live? In the United States the police can arrest you without a warrant only if they have very good reason to believe you have just committed, or or about to commit, a crime. Here [msba.org] and here [expertlaw.com] and here [massbar.org] are some legal references. "Very good reason" in this context means a reason that will convince a judge not only that you should have been arrested, but also that there wasn't time to get him (the judge) to sign off on it first. Judges really like to be in control, so in practise this means the police can freelance a decision to arrest in only a few well-defined situations.

            For example, the police can arrest you without a warrant if an officer has just seen you do something highly suspicious, like run out of a convenience store wearing a ski mask, with a store owner yelling "Stop thief!" in hot pursuit, or a credible witness says they just saw you commit a serious crime -- for example your girlfriend accuses you of slugging her and causing the bruises that appear on her face -- or you match the description of someone wanted for jumping bail on a multiple murder charge, or even if you've been stopped for a minor infraction, like a traffic violation, but proceed to give an obviously false name, refuse to sign the citation, and aren't carrying any valid ID, so they have no way of being reasonably sure you'll appear in Court to answer the summons.

            Can the police walk up to you at a public function, where you're doing absolutely nothing illegal, just minding your own business, and showing no indications of fleeing the country -- and arrest you without a warrant? Never.
            • Re:good golly no (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Pete ( 2228 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @10:28AM (#15765975)
              Quadraginta:
              Can the police walk up to you at a public function, where you're doing absolutely nothing illegal, just minding your own business, and showing no indications of fleeing the country -- and arrest you without a warrant? Never.

              I'm not quite sure what to think about you. Do you live in some kind of fantasy world where police never break the law, where police never show any inclination to abuse their power just to be petty and vindictive? For fuck's sake, police are human just like the rest of us, and are (if anything) even more likely to be nasty little ethically-challenged pricks than the rest of humanity.

              "Can the police walk up to you at a public function, where you're doing absolutely nothing illegal, just minding your own business, and showing no indications of fleeing the country -- and arrest you without a warrant? Never."

              Never??? [wikipedia.org] Seriously dude, you hardly need to look very far to find examples of police abusing their powers (and getting away with it). And the reason they can get away with it is because there's just not a lot you can (legally) do to stop an officer arresting you (you can hardly say "I refuse to let you arrest me, you don't have proper legal authority" and expect them to listen). And the only worthwhile option you have of fighting back (in most cases) is the risky, expensive and stressful option of a civil suit.

              And as far as actually getting police charged with an actual crime... heh, good luck with that. Police are very very well aware of how far they can go without even the slightest risk of punishment to themselves. One lovely example is exactly what happened with this guy - arresting them early on the weekend (or late on Friday), so they have to wait out the weekend before having a chance to go before a judge. And even if the judge then immediately orders the person's release, the cops can still laugh "ha, we chucked him in jail for 2-3 days for no reason at all."

              • Re:good golly no (Score:4, Interesting)

                by Quadraginta ( 902985 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @06:47PM (#15767228)
                Whoa, dude. Take a few deep breaths.

                First off, do I think that some small minority of policemen abuse their authority, and that this needs vigorous prosecution and punishment? Do I think there's an important role for citizen oversite committees and for ACLU lawyers? Absolutely. Just the same way I'm certain a certain minority of corporate CEOs abuse their authority and screw their shareholders -- and so there's a role for FTC oversight. And a certain minority of programmers abuse their talent and write malicious viruses and spyware -- so there's a role for an FBI that goes after bad-hat hackers and puts them behind bars. And a certain minority of boyfriends beat up on their girlfriends (and vice-versa), so there's a role for domestic violence laws and the police should sometimes be arresting guys based on the mere facts that the girlfriend is cowering in fear and sporting nasty cuts on her face. We live in a world of men, not angels.

                But there is a world of difference between a minority of policeman illegally, unconstitutionally and occasionally -- e.g. in a few dozen out of the over ten million arrests yearly -- abusing their authority, and the police being able to haul people away and send them to the Gulag for no reason as a matter of state policy.

                As another poster has pointed out, when I said "never" I did not mean the police never abuse their authority. That would be as silly as saying Linux programmers never write malicious or stupid code. I meant that arresting someone as described in the article without a warrant could never be done legally, and that, therefore, it is a rare event.

                Now if you believe it is not a rare event, then I invite you to provide a smidge of proof. DoJ statistics note there are about 13 million arrests a year in the United States. Can you provide evidence that in, say, as many as 5% of those cases (e.g. for over half a million people per year) the arrests are illegal, or the person arrested suffers physical abuse while in custody? If so, let's hear it. I'd sure like to know. Because what I'm aware of now is only that occasionally the police are abusive, and the proper response is citizen watchfulness. I'm not aware that we're living in some awful Stalinist state where the police are used as an instrument of organized terror, and the proper response is armed revolt.

                If all you're saying is that the ordinary citizen is taken less seriously by the justice system than a policeman -- well, BFD. The non-programmer is taken less seriously when he says an application has a bug. The non-scientist is taken less seriously when he says the Big Bang never happened. And so on. It's human nature to take people less seriously when they aren't part of the daily picture, don't belong to the "in crowd," and maybe don't understand all the details and implications. Sucks, but there it is. Maybe the Universe is less fair then you were promised in the brochure.
            • Good grief, in what fascist hellhole do you live?

              Canada.

              In the United States the police can arrest you without a warrant only if they have very good reason to believe you have just committed, or or about to commit, a crime. Here and here and here are some legal references. "Very good reason" in this context means a reason that will convince a judge not only that you should have been arrested, but also that there wasn't time to get him (the judge) to sign off on it first.

              No, you're exaggerating the re

        • by misanthrope101 ( 253915 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @01:20AM (#15765141)
          Well, they can't arrest him without a warrant. So clearly they've got charges ready to file, and a judge has already been convinced he might be guilty of them
          Now THAT was funny. No, they don't need a warrant, or probable cause, nor does an arrest, or being in jail for any length of time imply guilt of anything. He (and you, or I, or anyone) can be arrested and held in detention as long as the federal government wants to, without any charges. They won't come out and say "we don't need to charge him, and we'll keep him as long as we want," but they consistently deny any overt checks on their power to do so. This is a slam-dunk, already-passed, fait accompli type of thing. The precedent has already been set with Padilla and a few others, and once the feds discovered that there is no formidable public outrage, it's only a matter of slowly, ever so slowly, increasing the frequency with which it is done. If you arrest 10,000 people tomorrow without charge the public would never stand for it, but if you get them used to it gradually, they'll not only support it but heap scorn and contempt on anyone who would criticize something so critical to our "safety." By gradually acclimatizing the population to detention without charge, they slowly make it normal and acceptable, and eventually the practice can expand beyond supposedly one-off "emergency" cases like Padilla or the terrorist of the week.

          The same goes for torture. Today, if you object to torture, you have to justify your position, because Gitmo and Abu Ghraib have inoculated everyone against the idea that torture is by definition wrong. Police states don't happen overnight, and as they develop into fruition, "normal people" won't recognize the status quo as a police state--it'll just be normal, a "nothing to see here" common-sense extension of what we see every day.

      • Re:Reason? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by abaddon314159 ( 606227 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @08:20PM (#15764608)
        Last year at Blackhat after my presentation, FBI agents showed up (without a warrent) and started making demands for the video of my presentation and all the materials related to it, I don't doubt for a second that they would have arrested me had though known ahead of time that I was actually going to give my presenation...whatever he was going to present, someone was pissed about it...

        After my experience with those clowns I have very little faith in their judgement or their respect for law...

        --Mike Lynn
      • Um, probably not publicity stunt. More like they knew exactly where to find him and when. It was right there in the program. They KNEW he would be there and he no doubt KNEW he was treading some kind of space of questionable legality so would be sort of waiting. But his ego (mentioned in the article) would not allow him to skip out on the chance to be up there on the podium talking. Perfect chance to grab him at a place he couldn't resist going to.
    • Re:Reason? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Emmanuel Goldstein adressed the crowd just before the panel was about to start. Apparenty 4 agents arat arresed him as soon as he finished a security seinar he was running paralell to the HOPE Confrence. There has not been another update sence then. One his friends gave the address he is prob being held at, but Im not sure if I can legally repeat that. Also Kevin Mitnick fell very ill in Columbia (the country) and is unable to be here either.
    • Re:Reason? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Cybersonic ( 7113 ) <ralph@ralph.cx> on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:11PM (#15764475) Homepage
      No one (at the conference) knows the reason yet. Lots of people here at the show were quite confused and suprised at the whole situation. I am sure we will know something by Monday...
      • Show. (Score:4, Funny)

        by twitter ( 104583 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:21PM (#15764493) Homepage Journal
        No one (at the conference) knows the reason yet. Lots of people here at the show were quite confused and suprised at the whole situation. I am sure we will know something by Monday...

        Then it's show of force. Only the Feds are supposed to play with the "stovepipes" of Carnivore and when they pay you to do it for them you need to keep your mouth shut.

        Can you say "Police State"? I voted for George Bush because he promissed me a smaller and less invasive government. This is what I got.

        • Can you say "Police State"? I voted for George Bush because he promissed me a smaller and less invasive government. This is what I got.

          1. Never trust a politician, particularly one on the campaign trail.
          2. Politicians reserve the right to declare any "promises" made to be non-core promises [urbandictionary.com]. Also check to see if they have their fingers crossed behind their back.
          3. See 1.

          'Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.' - Lord Acton, 1887.
        • Let's dispense with the hyperbole. Had the FBI gone in with a tactical team and started throwing flashbangs and arrested everyone who was in attendance, maybe then your arguement would be justified.
          We really don't know jack shit about the situation yet, and although it sounds fishy and looks a wee bit on the abusive side of law enforcement, let's take a step back (not that there hasn't been downright dirty and disgusting abuses in recent history)
        • Re:Show. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Chris Tucker ( 302549 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @09:22PM (#15764742) Homepage
          "Can you say "Police State"? I voted for George Bush because he promissed me a smaller and less invasive government. This is what I got."

          <Nelson Muntz>"HA-ha! You're a gullible idiot!</Nelson Muntz>
        • Re:Show. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by kimvette ( 919543 )
          I voted for George Bush because he promissed me a smaller and less invasive government.

          That's why I voted for him, too, and that IS what he got. To disagree with him would make you a dissident or enemy combatant. ;) Okay, it's not quite that bad but I am extremely, extremely disappointed in him, and the GOP in general. His administration is what is making me go Libertarian, which seems to be the true conservative party of today.
    • Re:Reason? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Comatose51 ( 687974 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:15PM (#15764482) Homepage
      If no one knows what he's being charged with, then it should make it easy to find him. He's sunbathing with all the other uncharged suspects in Guantanamo.
      • by misanthrope101 ( 253915 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @01:30AM (#15765159)
        I call them detainees, not suspects. Some are no doubt suspected of crimes, but many in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib were caught up in sweeps, or are held because they are thought to have information. Holding someone because you want to interrogate them for information isn't the same thing as holding them because you think they themselves have done or will do something bad. "Interrogation" does not address guilt or innocence, and in fact any of us can be interrogated, regardless of our guilt or innocence. Some of these people have been the victim of a Kafkaesque "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" imprisonment. They knew a guy who knew a guy who was at this place this other person might have passed through, and ergo they might know something, so we'll hold them for a while. Since there is very little oversight, very little accountability for abuse, coupled with high accountability for failing to get information, in short order we have waterboarding and people being beaten to death. Calling them "suspects" makes us feel better about not caring, because we're at least halfway implying that they might have done something, but in reality being held for interrogation doesn't even assert guilt, much less provide evidence for it.
    • Re:Reason? (Score:5, Informative)

      by mikael ( 484 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:24PM (#15764498)
      According to this article [salon.com], he has been involved in a lawsuit against a spam blocker (his company was mistakenly placed on a spam blocklist), he has tracked Nazi war criminals, and he discovered that
      Elvis has Jewish ancestors.

      He's had a mention in a previous slashdot comment in this article [slashdot.org] Comment title: "Outsourcing is a way around civil liberties". Article summary:

      I saw a talk by Steve Rambam at Hope 05. Besides a live demo of a database that freakin blew my mind (in a live demo in than 30 seconds, steve pulled up everything about a guy in the audience, including past roommates, active phone lines, and his mom's credit report using *ONLY HIS SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER*).

      his assertion is that privacy is dead, not because Big Brother in D.C. is watching, but because Big Defense Contrator is watching. The government, sick of trying to ram through legislation on what it can and can't do with data it collects on its citizens, is now sub-contracting all kinds of tasks. For example, perhaps the Feds can't do a nation-wide driver's license photo scan without inciting privacy concerns; however, if most of the states sub-contract out their photo processing to a contractor on advice from big brother, then that contractor hires itself to the big brother and sells *RESULTS* from some data mining query (but never the data itself), then big brother hasn't violated any privacy rights. Similarly for phone logs, criminal databases, airline data, medicare, drivers license, health databases, traffic tickets etc.

      he told me the name of the database we should all really be afraid of, bigger than Echelon, but i forgot its name.
      • Re:Reason? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sgt_doom ( 655561 )
        Hmmm...ChoicePoint? Acxiom?? Elensys??? SRA International??? Searchspace??? First Data??? Systems Research and Development??? LexisNexis (Seisint)???? Visionics??? Civitas Group??? TransCore???? Comverse Technology???? RiskWise???? Market Intelligence Group????
      • Indeed, American totalitarianism need not resemble previous regimes for it to be totalitarian.
      • Re:Reason? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dr_dank ( 472072 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:58PM (#15764569) Homepage Journal
        I attended Rambam's panel that year (sadly couldn't make it to HOPE this year). He used a service called Diogenes that had an account that would only be active for the lifespan of the panel. From what I remember, he also spoke that year during that same slot about how easy it was to get ID in different names and held up three different drivers licenses that were obtained in the same day at the same DMV (in California, IIRC). He would then pose as a university professor to lure Nazi warcriminals out of the woodwork, claiming he wanted to interview them for a project, then turn them over to the Hague.

        He always had interesting stories and much to contribute, I hope things turn out for the best.
      • by wayne ( 1579 ) <wayne@schlitt.net> on Saturday July 22, 2006 @09:00PM (#15764689) Homepage Journal

        According to this article [salon.com], he has been involved in a lawsuit against a spam blocker (his company was mistakenly placed on a spam blocklist), he has tracked Nazi war criminals, and he discovered that Elvis has Jewish ancestors.

        Steve Rambam lost his law suit [oretek.com] against the anti-spam DNSBL run by Joe Jarad. In the process Steve lost any respect I might have had for him for other things.

      • Re:Reason? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dido ( 9125 )

        Maybe the database is ChoicePoint [choicepoint.com]. What Mr. Rambam is mentioning sounds suspiciously a lot like a couple of recent articles (here [gregpalast.com] and here [gregpalast.com]) by Greg Palast where he makes the case that ChoicePoint and companies like them have provided an outsourced service for the structure of a police state, where government oversight cannot go, and has gone so far as to call them "the private KGB".

  • Not enough info (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:03PM (#15764462)
    Maybe, he was being arrested on other charges, not necessarily linked to the presentation e was about to give.

    How about we wait for more info before we start screaming one way or the other.
    • Regardless of why the arrested him, it was bad timing from a PR standpoint. If it wasnt related directly to what he was going to say and they needeed to stop him from revealing something a better choice would have been to arrest him *after* the speech.

      Do they need to wait? Of course not, but bad PR is never a good thing and they HAD to know what this would look like..
  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:04PM (#15764467)
    I've already noticed that about 60% of posts are conspiracy theories about shutting him up..

    we know nothing about the charges, and generally in high profile arrests there is a lag time between the actual arrest and the announcement of charges to the relevant media.

    Now if he just disappears after this and we hear nothing.. then ill be worried, but as of now I see absolutely no red flags here.
    • Actually, under Patriot Acts I & II, they no longer have to announce the charges, except years later when they are sued in civil court for using those waterboarding techniques....

      And speaking of conspiracy stuff [nwsource.com] please check out this newspaper column, then realize that the columnist that wrote this had a name change, was born and grew up in Russia, and has a long association with the Cato Institute (ostensibly a "libertarian think tank" but they normally side with the neocons on almost everything.

      If o

    • I've already noticed that about 60% of posts are conspiracy theories about shutting him up..

      You must be new here.

      All joking aside if the charges are unrelated to the presentation, the timing of the arrest makes sense. I would assume that his attendance at the conference was not a secret. From the FBI's point of view it is a win win situation. You know exactly where and when a person will be and you also get the side effect of fear from conference attendees, not to mention all the media attention.
    • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @08:06PM (#15764589) Homepage
      I've already noticed that about 60% of posts are conspiracy theories about shutting him up.. we know nothing about the charges, and generally in high profile arrests there is a lag time between the actual arrest and the announcement of charges to the relevant media.
      No doubt. I wonder what the slashdot headline would have been if he'd been arrested on the way to the toilet...

      Private Eye Arrested in the Middle of Waste Dumping Scheme
    • oh, I agree (Score:4, Insightful)

      by misanthrope101 ( 253915 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @08:16PM (#15764602)
      We shouldn't judge too quickly, because the government deserves the benefit of the doubt. To presume that he's innocent would just be knee-jerk tinfoil-hat paranoia.

      We're so screwed. People like you have effectively killed the skepticism of government actions on which freedom relies. Thanks. We really appreciate all you've done.

      • Re:oh, I agree (Score:3, Insightful)

        To presume that he's innocent would just be knee-jerk tinfoil-hat paranoia.
        We're so screwed. People like you have effectively killed the skepticism of government actions on which freedom relies. Thanks. We really appreciate all you've done.


        oh come now.. at least give the fbi a few days to say something.

        the internet generation, and i'm guilty of this too, as become accustomed to getting their stuff "now Now NOW!!!"... but that's not how stupidity and beurocracy work.

        I'm not at all saying they deserve the ben
        • Re:oh, I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

          by misanthrope101 ( 253915 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @09:51PM (#15764796)
          How long has Joseph Padilla been in jail? Have they had enough time yet? My credulity is a bit strained these days, I admit. But the current government has repeatedly claimed the authority to detain anyone, for any length of time, without having to meet any evidentiary or due process standard. If they come out with some dire claims about this arrest, you might think, "well, then there's something to this, after all," but until they present evidence, we have to assume that he's innocent. That skepticism has to be automatic and unconditional to be effective.

          Yes, I'm advocating a bit of hostility towards government actions, because the preservation of freedom requires just that. Otherwise, we start trusting government, giving them the benefit of the doubt, a bit of time, a bit more time, and eventually you do reach a state where the government can detain anyone for an indefinite length of time without needing the formality of charging them. I'm not demanding that they explain anything to me, only that I'm going to assume that he's innocent until evidence is presented at trial, and he's convicted of a crime. The mentality that considers that unreasonable is what I was criticizing. You have to give someone the benefit of the doubt, and I give mine to the accused, every time. By definition the only alternative is to give the government the benefit of the doubt.

          • Re:oh, I agree (Score:5, Informative)

            by learn fast ( 824724 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @12:04AM (#15765037)
            Here's another example:

            Benemar Benatta was arrested in September, 2001 after the 9/11 dragnet. The government determined he was innocent in November, 2001. He was held in solitary confinement for 6 months anyway.

            He was released... yesterday. July 22, 2006. That's right, held without charges even though he was known to be innocent for almost 5 years.

            I'm not making this up, here's the link [yahoo.com]
            • Re:oh, I agree (Score:3, Informative)

              by sdriver ( 126467 )
              Hey dumbass... maybe you'd like to RTFA from yahoo....

              He was going to be deported for being in the country illegaly - but they "kept him in custody in Buffalo while he appealed a deportation order and renewed his quest for asylum based on a claim that, as a military deserter, he would tortured or killed if he returned to Algeria."

              Next time they should just deport without an appeal? While waiting for his asylum hearing he was jailed - as he had no Visa... makes sense to me

              While waiting (still) for his asylum
              • Re:oh, I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

                by pla ( 258480 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @07:53AM (#15765653) Journal
                Next time they should just deport without an appeal?

                No, "next time" they should let the matter drop once a fair trial finds someone innocent, rather than petulantly deporting the poor bastard for daring to defend himself in court.

                Same thing happened to Sami Al-Arian - A court found the DOJ's case against him basically nothing more than a trainload of cow dung, and as payback for winning, the DOJ gave him a "choice". After an innocent man had already spend almost three years in solitary confinement, he could either accept a plea on the weakest of the charges and accept another eight months plus deportation; or he could waste the next 20 years of his life, still imprisoned of course (respected professors pose a high flight-risk, dontcha know) fighthing retrial after retrial on a neverending stream of fictitious charges.


                Perhaps you consider that "fair" - Just the system working like it should... I consider that a sign that if the system "should" work like that, we need a massive overhaul of the system itself. "Justice" needs to exist as a concept that doesn't overly burden innocent people; The weak shouldn't need to accept a plea on a bogus charge because they can't afford (in time, not just money) to fight it. No one should rot in a cage for years while the government tried to scrape together enough circumstantial evidence to intimidate the defendant into a plea. And once found not guilty, people shouldn't need to watch their backs out of fear of retribution.
          • Unfortunately I think the US is already there. All they need to do is associate someone with terrorism, or call them an "unlawful combatant", and they get shipped off to the US's little slice of Cuba where they don't have to follow the Constitution.

            I had an interesting debate a few weeks ago about this very subject with a friend of mine who voted for Bush in the last election. Now, that's not to say that the guy is an idiot, far from it. But he was indeed arguing that we shouldn't immediately assume some
  • by jspoon ( 585173 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:13PM (#15764478)
    Isn't there a character named this in some of Kinky Friedman's books? I know most if not all of the major characters in The Kinkster's mysteries are based on real people but it would be wild if one of them is actually a private eye.
  • Krebs is a moron (Score:3, Informative)

    by meburke ( 736645 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:14PM (#15764480)
    I've looked at a few of Kreb's columns, and he has no qualifications for writing a column on security. He's a gossip-monger with limited skills. If he could see to take pictures, he'd give papparazi a bad name.

    I suspect this article was written to "scoop" other reporters. That's the only reason I can think of for the total lack of real information. Perhaps he ought to take lessons from Steve Rambam on how get information?
  • Rambam speaking (Score:5, Informative)

    by Caffeinated Geek ( 948530 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @07:30PM (#15764511) Homepage
    On the subject of Rambam check out previous talks given at HOPE conferences. He's a good speaker and quite interesting on the topic of information availability. He stated a couple of weeks ago in an interview leading up to this conference's talk that he had planed to do the same basic presentation at the last hope but the "victim" got cold feet at the last moment after he realized just how much information was available and threatened to sue. If you listen to the old presentations he does make a point that almost any information is available legally but it is more difficult to get it legally than illegally. I have to believe from hearing him speak several time that what he would have done for this presentation would at least to be best of his knowledge been legal.

    Four previous presentations.

    Privacy - Not What It Used To Be
    http://www.the-fifth-hope.org/mp3/privacy.mp3 [the-fifth-hope.org]

    Databases and Privacy
    http://h2k2.hope.net/media/databases.mp3 [hope.net]

    Information on the Masses with Steve Rambam.
    http://h2k.hope.net/post/panels/h2kinfo.mp3 [hope.net]

    Info for Masses
    ftp://ftp.2600.com/pub/oth/beyondh/nfo4mses.ra [2600.com]
  • Sign Of The Times (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doomedsnowball ( 921841 ) <doomedsnowballs@yahoo.com> on Saturday July 22, 2006 @08:02PM (#15764582)
    I am sure that this is going to fall under the broad and sweeping legislation that has passed in recent years to combat hackers and terrorists. No doubt using a computer to commit a crime will soon be like using a gun in a crime in California: Mandatory minimum sentences that put everyone (evil and ignorant) into the same catagory and take discretion out of the hands of judges (or liberal judges at least). At least electronic voting booths are still insecure...
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) *
      At least electronic voting booths are still insecure...

      Poppycock. They promised to deliver the vote for Bush; and they did. How much more security do you want than that?

      KFG
  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @08:10PM (#15764594) Homepage Journal
    Ramdam was charged with impersonating a mime, mopery with intent to loiter, probity, nothosonomia, and one moving violation.

  • by eliot1785 ( 987810 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @08:30PM (#15764626)
    I can actually find out a heck of a lot about somebody with their name and Google. If you know power searching tips, and construct searches based on what you already find, you can find out a lot. If I had somebody's name who was a frequent Internet user, I could probably find out a fair amount of biographical information on them with a few variations on their name. Then I could search using those pieces of information as keywords and find out even more information.

    And God help you if you have a MySpace account with a wall. Then I can learn everything about your social life, including the names of your friends. Then I can look them up too and construct a whole web of information about you. ...and you can too! A lot of the information he says he found in 4.5 hours is not that impressive. Pics of his former roommates? Easy if they're Myspace or Facebook friends. Places he lived before? Check the history for his wall. Places he worked before? If he was in IT, and you can find his favorite internet screenname, you can find his postings to internet tech forums such as Slashdot, Devshed, Sourceforge, etc, complete with the details of what he was working on.

    That's just with Google. Combine that with even modest law enforcement databases and you can find out a heck of a lot about one person.

    Granted, that still scares me a LOT. I value my privacy but I feel like I don't actually have it anymore. All I'm saying is his deal is not all that unique. Or maybe I'm just The Power Google Searcher From Hell!!!!!
  • by merc ( 115854 ) <slashdot@upt.org> on Saturday July 22, 2006 @08:51PM (#15764667) Homepage
    Read the following link [oretek.com] about how he maliciously sued Osirusoft, the maintainer of relays.osirusoft.com after having them DDOS'd. It does not shock me to see that this asshole has ended up in handcuffs at all. He has always acted above the law. For those that remember the foonet.net story will rejoyce to see that this shithead is going to PMITA prison.

    Note that I did not say he was stupid, hence I post as AC.
  • is HOPE gone? (Score:2, Informative)

    by emagery ( 914122 )
    Every single link relating to HOPE, being hope.net (with various prefixes, etc) and those mp3 files coming off hope sites... all just ~gone~... is anyone seeing them?
  • by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <pig.hogger@gm a i l.com> on Saturday July 22, 2006 @09:01PM (#15764692) Journal
    Rambam is nothing more than a lying scumbag. The moron sued Joe Jared over his spam blocklist back in 2003, and the Court basically told him to suck it.

    http://www.oretek.com/lawsuite/ [oretek.com]

  • Rambam arrest (Score:5, Informative)

    by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @09:06PM (#15764710) Homepage Journal
    Hard to comment when the reason for the arrest isn't known.

    If only for Rambam's suit [oretek.com] against oretec and Joe Jared, I'd say it was fate balancing the scales.

    And again, this is in advance of knowing what Rambam is charged with. If it's silly, then I'll have to (yuck!) support him. If it is legitimate AND he's guilty, then I hope he gets tossed in jail and the key thrown away.

    My sense of justice doesn't allow me to not object when an injustice is done, even if it's against someone I think deserves what happens for another reason. The law must be fair and just for everyone, even if I think a particular person is a piece of human garbage.

  • by vik ( 17857 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @10:03PM (#15764817) Homepage Journal
    I find it ironic that the guy is arrested in front of a whole bunch of online geeks, yet nobody has managed to find the single, most pertinent bit of information: What's he been charged with?

    It appears you can't access this kind of information online.

    Vik :v)
  • by Zaphod2016 ( 971897 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @01:19AM (#15765140) Homepage
    First they came for the Linux users, but I didn't care because I didn't use Linux.

    Then they came for the OSX users, but I didn't care because I didn't use OSX.

    Then they came for the Windows users, but by then it was too late; they were all far too stupid to help me...

    Just kidding! I'm sure the FBI will offer a fair and speedy trial. After all, it's a 6th-Amendment right guaranteed to all Americans.

    Well, almost all Americans [laflecha.net]...

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