Microsoft helps police crack PCs

USB drive that breaks through backdoor at crime scene

We're all for the end of evil things like child pornography and terrorism on the internet. But news that Microsoft's latest piece of hardware allows the police to quickly break through a PC's security to scan through the hard drive has to be described as a little Orwellian.

The USB device can be plugged into a PC and used to break through password and decrypt protected files, allowing the police to do quick on-site scans of suspects' computers for insidious files, conversations and emails.

Not for profit

"These are things that we invest substantial resources in, but not from the perspective of selling to make money," Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith told the Seattle Times.

"We're doing this to help ensure that the internet stays safe."

Of course, Big Brother is here to protect us all – but we can’t help but worry that this technology would be a little problematical in the wrong hands.

The device was apparently rolled out to a handful of police forces in June last year, but we have yet to ascertain if they have made it across the pond to the UK yet.

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Global Editor-in-Chief

Patrick (Twitter) is Global Editor-in-Chief for techradar, and has been with the site since its launch in 2008. He is a longstanding judge of the T3 Awards, been quoted or seen on everything from the The Sun to Sky News and is on the #CoolBrands Council. He started his career in football, making him one of approximately one journalists to have covered both a World Cup final and an iPhone launch.