Tuesday, June 29, 2010

UK - Woman (Kirstie Hodgson) spared prison over false rape claim

Original Article (Listen)


By Neil Hunter

A WOMAN who sparked a major investigation after claiming she was raped as she walked home from a night out has been spared prison.

Kirstie Hodgson was told by a Teesside Crown Court judge he would neither punish nor penalise her after hearing of her fragile mental state.

The costly police probe was launched after Hodgson claimed she had been raped in Middlesbrough in the early hours of October 19, last year.

She said the attacker told her he had a knife and stole her mobile telephone, and went on to point out the location of the alleged incident.

Extensive inquiries were made to trace potential witnesses and, a day after the alleged attack, a 26-year-old man was arrested, held in custody for 18 hours, interviewed and medically examined, before being released on bail.

Forensic samples highlighted a second possible suspect and a 32-year-old man was arrested and held for two hours.

However, it became clear there were a number of discrepancies in Hodgson’s account and she was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

She admitted she had lied about the location of the alleged assault, the description of the alleged assailant and some of the details.

She maintained she had been the victim of a rape, but it had taken place in another location, in other circumstances, and the attacker was a man she knew.

The court heard yesterday that Hodgson, 19, of Wellington Street, Middlesbrough, still maintains she was sexually assaulted.

She was given a three-year conditional discharge by Judge Peter Fox, after she admitted doing acts tending or intended to pervert the course of public justice.

After the case, Detective Andy Greenwood, of Middlesbrough CID, said: “While we would always urge people who are genuine victims of a sexual assault to come forward, anyone who falsely reports such an assault should be aware that their actions can waste a massive amount of police time and resources, diverting officers away from genuine crimes.”

DC - White House Preparing National Online ID Plan

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Next you will not be able to buy, sell or trade without it.


By Mathew J. Schwartz

The proposed system for authenticating people, organizations and infrastructure on the web at the transactional level will require an identity ecosystem.

The Obama administration is set to propose a new system for authenticating people, organizations and infrastructure on the Web. The online authentication and identity management system would be targeted at the transactional level -- for example, when someone logs into their banking website or completes an online e-commerce purchase.

Making such a system effective, however, will require creating an "identity ecosystem," backed by extensive public/private cooperation, said White House cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt, delivering the opening keynote speech at the Symantec Government Symposium 2010 in Washington on Tuesday.

"This strategy cannot exist in isolation," he said. "It's going to take all of us working together." Furthermore, "we should not have to dramatically change the way we do business -- this should be a natural path forward," he said.

That path forward will hinge on a new draft of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (PDF), due to be released Friday for the first time to the public, for a three-week comment period. Formerly known as the National Strategy for Secure Online Transactions, the report offers specific strategy and implementation recommendations, and may also recommend more sweeping policy and privacy changes.

The report builds on the Obama-commissioned Cyberspace Policy Review, which analyzed the government's information and communications infrastructure defensive capabilities. One of the report's recommendations was to "build a cybersecurity-based identity management vision and strategy that addresses privacy and civil liberties interests, leveraging privacy-enhancing technologies for the nation."

Simply issuing a Web-friendly biometric identification card to everyone in the country, of course, wouldn't necessarily make anyone or anything more secure, including online transactions. As the report also notes, to be effective, security tools and technology must be complemented by education. "There is always a necessity to do awareness and education of the end user," said Schmidt. "But you're not trying to teach the end user how to be a security expert."