The UK police have a dream that one day, even the most technologically illiterate in their ranks can pop a device into a computer that will automatically flag illegal activity on the hard drive.

Charlie McMurdie, architect of the UK's Police Central E-crime Unit (PCeU), said that it would be ideal if the device were as easy to use as a breathalyzer, making it possible for frontline officers to instantly extract data from the growing number of computers seized in raids. Currently it takes six to 12 months to get data back from analysis.

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McMurdie also envisions a "central forensic server" that would allow experts from across the UK to login and analyze information. For example, a bank that suspects a cyber crime has been committed could plug their hard drive into the server and have it analyzed by experts at a distance. McMurdie has even gone so far as to discuss this plan with the FBI. Naturally, privacy issues and the plausibility of these ideas are open to debate. [Silicon via Slashdot Image via eyeliam]