The problems with this idea are countabl…

The problems with this idea are countably infinite: UK Police Want Plug-In Computer Crime Detectors:

UK police are talking to private companies about using plug-in USB devices that can scour the hard drive of any device they are attached to, searching for evidence of illegal activity.

And the Slashdot comments make a good enumeration of just a few. The three that came to my mind first are, predictably, inspired by Security Now:

  • The “Blue Pill” effect: no program can ever be sure that it’s not running in some kind of virtualisation or sandbox. And the “Heisenberg-ian” corollary that states that the program can’t be sure that it isn’t effecting the state of the machine by observing it (i.e. DBANing the hard drive when “CopScan.exe” is run).
  • Encryption: As the comments point out, even though Britain makes withholding encryption keys punishable by two years in the slammer, TrueCrypt’s hidden segments make denial plausible and undetectable. Encryption is pretty much always an unwinnable arms race.
  • Windows 7: Namely that it will disable Autorun on all non-optical formats. They would have to use a CD or DVD instead of a flash drive, I guess. Then all the crackers will crack from netbooks.

How silly.