Seems Corrections is the new whipping boy

Can’t go a day without Corrections copping some flak one way or another.  Here’s another

A computer hacker has demonstrated how home detention bracelets can potentially be fooled into letting criminals roam free.

The Department of Corrections last night denied the vulnerability affected prisoners under its care – but the hacker said its systems ran on the same cellular network he exploited.

William Turner yesterday demonstrated his ability to defeat electronic monitoring bracelets relying on the cellular phone network through a practice known as “spoofing”.

Mr Turner, known in the industry as Ammon Ra, showed Wellington’s Kiwicon conference how a bracelet could be wrapped in foil, preventing it from reporting its location, then the signal mimicked by a laptop using a $500 transmitter and some custom software.

Mr Turner then instructed the “spoof” transmitter to report movements, despite the hacker and his bracelet remaining on stage.

Well, that’s home detention out of the range of options for anyone with a modicum of computer expertise.  It also make a joke of Kim Dotcom’s new ankle jewelry, if you think about it.  

Rethinking Crime and Punishment director Ced Simpson said there was a danger in Corrections relying on electronic monitoring when in-person checks would provide greater surety.

“There is a temptation towards a simplistic mechanism. Ultimately not just victims, but people out there in the community, will benefit if we are doing everything we can to reduce the chance of reoffending,” he said.

Corrections last night said in a written statement any offender trying to circumvent home detention could face criminal charges.

“To date our electronic monitoring system has proved reliable and accurate,” corrections services national commissioner Jeremy Lightfood said.

Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga did not return calls.

Nope.   Bunker mentality.

Corrections have been exposed and embarrassed, and the minister ain’t home.

This, just yesterday.


I’d imagine that they have about two months to get their house in order before the search light comes back on.  The public is expecting more than having violent offenders out on parole against the advice of everyone, we don’t like people running away to South America, and we’d prefer those in custody to stay there.

And now, GPS ankle bracelet monitoring is probably a pointless device for people with money or tech savvy.  Money and tech savvy would be even worse, nein?


– Matt Nippert, NZ Herald


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  • Reid

    The wheels really are falling off this third term, aren’t they. If that was Hulun’s Minister of Corrections he would long ago have received instructions from the throne to make it appear as if he was doing something, even if he wasn’t.

    Maybe Farrar hasn’t had enough time to poll the public to find out what they think about this, in order to inform Key’s eventual response.

    • Hard1

      “The wheels really are falling off this third term, aren’t they.”

      Um, no.

  • dgrogan

    Of course, the crims do not need “tech savvy”. They can buy it…and pay in the folding stuff, no questions asked. I can see a healthy new cottage industry springing up here quite soon, along with the procurement of unregistered, untraceable guns.

    • Excitedly awaiting Whodunnit

      If you know the right (or wrong) people if you get home D then a quick call and its sorted. A cottage industry would be right, just call up and book a weekend or whatever “off”, pay a fee and its done. Not to mention a good defence for crime. “I dont have an alibi your honour but my home D bracelet says I was at home…”

      Time to re-evaluate Home D as an option I think. For everyone who abuses it 10 people get sent back inside (offender plus 9 others) into the same cell block I think should work.

  • HSV325

    This is just like when BMW said their digital odometers couldn’t be tampered with…. Yeah Right

    • Diddly_Squat

      Ezy Pezy

  • GMAK

    Sounds like they need a tougher minister of corrections. One that can get thing done……….looking through the national ranks there appears to be one J Collins that would fit the bill nicely

  • Davo42

    Put me incharge of corrections. I promise to reimplement the tried and true ball and chain. Time to get midevial me thinks, no worries about their human rights – after all they gave those up when they became criminals.

    • peterwn

      Have you not read ‘Great Expectations’. A ball and chain can be compromised by low tech methods such as a file.

      • Davo42

        Exactly, for every measure there is a counter measure. In essence both containment methods are ineffective, but old school is cheaper and makes swimming more difficult.

        • IKIDUNOT

          and prisoners have all the time in the world and nothing else on their mind to figure out a way to beat the system…

    • cmm

      As much as people who run corrections might want to run a tight ship, they can only do what they are allowed to do.

      When the Smith bloke ran off to Brasil on a 3 day pass, do you think it was the people at corrections who thought the 3 day pass was a good idea? I doubt it.

      Corrections personnel work day to day with the crims. They know better than most what sort of people they’re dealing with. They don’t decide to let people out on 3 day passes. They don’t get to make all the parole decisions – those are made elsewhere by people in the Justice dept.

  • timemagazine

    Home detention is not detention.