Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wanted: Stories on Open Source Crime Control

Over the years, I've come across a number of news stories describing successful efforts by victims, typically of fraud, to use the internet to contact each other, identify the guilty party, and bring him to the attention of law enforcement. I seem to have saved only one such story, however, and would like more for a discussion I'm putting in Future Imperfect. Can anyone offer examples and links?


Russell Hanneken said...

Here are two examples:

Mac Addicts to the Rescue, or How I Caught a Counterfeiter with a Little Help from My Friends

How NOT to Steal a SideKick II

This doesn't exactly fall under the category of open source crime control, but you might also be interested in these anti-theft software products for Macintosh laptops: Undercover and Verey I. Both enable victims of laptop theft to track the laptop and receive pictures of the thief and his surroundings. Undercover can also simulate hardware failure and then cause the laptop to shout that it has been stolen if the thief takes it to an authorized Apple reseller.

Anonymous said...

It's a bit of a stretch but you can look at scam baiting. The P-P-P powerbook comes to mind as concerted baiting and investigation on the internet:

Lippard said...

Some other examples:

Open source terrorism tracking online:

Those who try to get Nigerian 419 scammers to identify themselves:

Those who try to catch pedophiles:

The woman who caught the identity thief who had stolen her identity (though this was really a real-world accident):

Anonymous said...
also comes to mind
generally speaking

but technology is a two edged sword:
uses publicly available court report to build a database of police informers.

Mike Hammock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Hammock said...

I blogged about something that might, sort of, maybe be considered a case of
private crime control.

In this particular case, my cell phone was stolen, and I suspected a neighborhood kid. I tried using technology to recover it (specifically, I tried calling it using my wife's cell phone, and then listened for the ring) but that didn't work, so I resorted to a low-tech method: I put out a bounty on my stolen cell phone and used the neighborhood kids to recover it. On the other hand, I ended up using the threat of webbed pictures from a webcam to expose the the thief, which turned out to be effective, even though it was in part a bluff.

Anonymous said...

Here is an article in the German newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung", that reports a database on tenant's payments morality, used by landlords.

I also recall a story on how a blog article helped to identify a defrauder. He used the old "I'm in acute trouble and need money and will repay you tomorrow" scam. One of his chosen victims asked google for his name (or the name he used to introduce himself), and found a blog article by an auther who got ripped off by the same guy. The original website of the blog seems to be unavailable right now, but it's still in google's cache:

And on

Anonymous said...

I wish if i can share my list of open source portals here.