The Internet Police: How Crime Went Online, and the Cops Followed [NOOK Book]


Chaos and order clash in this riveting exploration of crime and punishment on the Internet.

With a new afterword that brings the book's stories up to date, including law enforcement's dramatic seizure of the online black market Silk Road.

Once considered a borderless and chaotic virtual landscape, the Internet is now home to the forces of international law and order. It’s not just computer hackers and cyber crooks who lurk in the dark corners ...

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The Internet Police: How Crime Went Online, and the Cops Followed

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Chaos and order clash in this riveting exploration of crime and punishment on the Internet.

With a new afterword that brings the book's stories up to date, including law enforcement's dramatic seizure of the online black market Silk Road.

Once considered a borderless and chaotic virtual landscape, the Internet is now home to the forces of international law and order. It’s not just computer hackers and cyber crooks who lurk in the dark corners of the Web—the cops are there, too.

In The Internet Police, Ars Technica editor Nate Anderson takes readers on a behind-the-screens tour of landmark cybercrime cases, revealing how criminals continue to find digital and legal loopholes even as police hurry to cinch them closed. From the Cleveland man whose “natural male enhancement” pill inadvertently protected the privacy of your e-mail to the Russian spam king who ended up in a Milwaukee jail to the Australian arrest that ultimately led to the breakup of the largest child pornography ring in the United States, Anderson draws on interviews, court documents, and law-enforcement reports to reconstruct accounts of how online policing actually works. Questions of online crime are as complex and interconnected as the Internet itself. With each episode in The Internet Police, Anderson shows the dark side of online spaces—but also how dystopian a fully “ordered” alternative would be.


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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Robert Kolker
[Anderson's] storytelling is brisk and lucid, often pithy but never glib…Even familiar tales contain surprises and fresh insights.
Publishers Weekly
Anderson, a senior editor at Ars Technica, shows how sophisticated criminals have moved much of their business from the physical world to the amorphous, anonymous, but far-from-lawless realm of ones and zeros. You wouldn’t think software piracy could lead to international manhunts, high-stakes trials, and sieges of extravagant compounds, but that—and more—is all here: in nine loosely linked chapters, Anderson takes readers into the Wild West of the digital world, examining famous offenses to understand the structural challenges of governing the Internet and the newest policing methods used to sniff out online crime. Anonymity afforded by the Internet has allowed for violations big and small, from vitriolic and bigoted e-mails to massive online drug markets and file-sharing networks that have eroded copyright status and created nesting grounds for child pornography rings and sex trafficking. Anderson’s takes on landmark digital cases (like the RIAA’s wave of infringement lawsuits) are valuable, colorfully drawn primers—but traces of a thematic center unravel early in the book. Anderson meticulously tracks the evolution of Internet policing and asks some glancing questions about the future of civil liberties, but in the end he shies away from a more searching, committed conclusion. Agent: Piers Blofeld, Sheil Land Associates Ltd. (U.K.). (Aug.)
Bruce Schneier
“As soon as the Internet turned mainstream, a new breed of criminal appeared. The police, who were trained on Agatha Christie novels, took about a decade to catch up. This entertaining and informative book tells their story.”
New York Times Book Review
“A brisk and lucid look at high-tech law enforcement.”
Cliff Stoll
“Nate Anderson shows where the Internet's flourishing underworld meets international law enforcement. From stories of good guys, bad guys, and people that can't be pigeonholed, Nate gives the background to tomorrow's headlines.”
Cory Doctorow
“A brisk, eminently readable, and important history of the relationship between law, law enforcement, and the net, and as you'd expect, it's excellent. Anderson's reporting career has exposed him to innumerable cases of fascinating and horrifying networked shenanigans, and he cherry-picks the most interesting stories to tell, and tells them well, and uses each one to paint a broader picture of how the attempt to impose law and lawfulness on the Internet has unfolded at every turn.”
Hiawatha Bray - The Boston Globe
“Sprightly and entertaining.”
Kirkus Reviews
A nuanced study of crime on the Internet and how government and law enforcement agencies have been tackling it. Ars Technica senior editor Anderson seems somewhat sympathetic to the notion of the Internet's borderless, innovative exceptionalism. But unlike advocates of unfettered creative chaos and online liberty, the author argues that since the Internet went global in the 1990s, it has been followed by a rise in online criminal activities harmful to life, limb and property in the "real" world. These problems include offshore havens, child pornography, cyberpeeping and extortion, spambotting and identity theft, all of which have made policing it not only necessary, but inevitable. Rather than create new entities to handle these crimes, governments have relied on boots already on the ground--local police forces, the Federal Trade Comission, the FBI, even Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has pursued overseas violators of American copyright protections with unusual--sometimes indiscriminate--aggressiveness. Anderson isn't altogether impressed with the results. While scoring some impressive arrests and convictions of the creators and consumers of child pornography and of a creepy peeper named Luis Mijangos, law enforcement and the courts have had more difficulty going after spammers, pirates and other online crooks. In some cases, they have breeched privacy as brazenly as Mijangos, using remote access tools to spy on "owners" of stolen laptops, for example, without troubling themselves with obtaining court-issued warrants. Spammers and other fraudsters have proven elusive in the courts; on the other hand, penalties handed down by juries to copyright violators, like single mom and Kazaa user Jammie Thomas, have been thrown out by judges for being obscenely excessive. Unfortunately, there are few simple solutions on the horizon. "[W]e need the Internet police," Anderson writes, "but we need to keep an eye on them--and on their tools." A thought-provoking primer on the state of cybercrime.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393240542
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/12/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 652,939
  • File size: 589 KB

Meet the Author

Nate Anderson is a senior editor at Ars Technica. His work has been published in The Economist and Foreign Policy. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    Cautiously Recommended

    For those who have an inadequate grasp on why the rest of us are so angry at the United States and the actions of Big Hollywood, Nate Anderson's book is a good enough place to start. Notably lacking was info about Anonymous, the phone phreaks, and the early hackers who created the Net.

    It used to be that when we found a security hole, we could call the company with the insecure computers and explain how to "fix it." Those days are gone now thanks chiefly to corporate false egos. What used to be acceptable is now illegal. Some of the "probems" that companies and governments whine about were brought upon themselves.

    Even so, the writing style and case studies were appealing enough to warrant four stars.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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