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Computer Records Hold Key In IMF Head's Sexual Assault Case 252

Posted by timothy
from the he-said-she-said-it-said dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "ABA Journal reports that the chief of the International Monetary Fund may claim consent as a defense to accusations that he sexually assaulted a maid at the Sofitel Hotel in New York as defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman told the judge he believed the 'forensic evidence' was 'not consistent with forcible encounter.' Police have said the maid knocked on Strauss-Kahn's door and called out, used her master keycard to open the door, and left her work cart in the doorway, a typical safety practice in hotels. According to the police account, Strauss-Kahn emerged naked, tried to attack the maid, and then shut the hotel door when she tried to escape. The NY Times explains how the key card evidence may play out: 'If the defense for Mr. Strauss-Kahn maintains that the encounter was consensual, its version will have to accommodate the unambiguous computer record of her leaving the door propped open,' the story says."
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Computer Records Hold Key In IMF Head's Sexual Assault Case

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  • wait wait wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Speare (84249) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:05AM (#36176908) Homepage Journal

    We're following this tabloid crap on Slashdot just because a door has an electronic sensor on it !? Get real, for fuck's sake.

    • I'm sure it's just coincidence that on his first non-diplomatic trip to the US after denouncing the US Dollar [moneynews.com] Strauss-Kahn is found to be a perv, thrown in Riker's Island, and Geithner demands his resignation.

      • Oooops!

        Wrong administration...........never mind!

      • by KiloByte (825081)

        And whoever paid the maid had more than enough ways to put whatever he wanted into the door record. Otherwise, there wouldn't be so much noise about "unambigous evidence" that the defense "may claim" $bullshit_explanation to weasel out of.

        This case is about as believable as the one against Julian Assange.

        • by elrous0 (869638) *

          I'm curious as to how involved the FBI is in this investigation. The NY police would be VERY smart to tell the J. Edgars to go fuck themselves on this one. But I bet FBI showed up surprisingly fast to offer their help. Not that the FBI would ever take part in something like framing someone to discredit them. Nope, not them [wikipedia.org].

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Are you implying that the U.S. would use a bogus rape charge to discredit Julian Assa...oops, I meant Strauss-Kahn?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2011 @10:07AM (#36178510)

        Guy has a history of sexual harassment/assault. Victim says she was assaulted and forensic evidence seems to support her account. There's no need to invent conspiracy theories here.

        Just because a guy happens to be a "socialist" or French or anti-US doesn't make him *not* a rich, powerful douche who thinks he can do whatever he likes to whomever he likes. This guy violated another human being and deserves what he gets. I don't care who he is or what he thinks about our currency.

    • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:57AM (#36177288) Homepage

      Actually, no. The Slashdot crowd has interest in the goings on of the IMF and the players involved.

      In case you hadn't noticed, in addition to news stories about gadgets and software, we also have an interest in the things that make the world go around. Among these are copyright, trade mark and patent laws and litigation, money and finance and politics in general.

      If you have noticed, then I have to wonder how you failed to notice that in this case. He's the head of the IMF. He's a big-time shaker, mover and influencer in all things that make the world go around.

      • by Speare (84249) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:50AM (#36177800) Homepage Journal

        He's the head of the IMF. He's a big-time shaker, mover and influencer in all things that make the world go around.

        Right, so talk about all of those world-affecting issues. The guy's resignation is salient on its own, if someone wants to post a good article on his tenure and the changes this event may effect. The keycard records that play an infinitesimal role in the situation is not salient, or even interesting, but was called out as if some tech shibboleth was required to get coverage here. It's stupid pandering.

      • by Nyder (754090)

        ... He's a big-time shaker, mover and influencer in all things that make the world go around.

        And who did he piss off in the US Government to get rape charges against him?

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Why not ? We followed Reiser's trial because he was a filesystem maintainer. And isn't it interesting that even in these high-level cases, it took so long for authorities to realize there were tech forensics to do ? They have begun to talk about reputation of respective person before analyzing technical evidences, isn't that also interesting ?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      And also because the head of IMF is accused, a man who thinks that maybe we replace the old $$$ as currency for world trade.
      This would make the dollar act like other currencies, like when a country has trouble, the values is lower...
      I am guessing that there are some in the US who might not like this.
      ( Also he was the top candidate for the opposition in France to replace President Sarkozy. So expect little help from France. )

      There are to many questions and the press just screams "guilty" loud without asking

    • by zrbyte (1666979)
      Hear Hear!!! I have the BBC, NYT, etc for that. Keep it news for nerds.
    • Seriously! After all, it looks like an open and shut case to me.
    • by bjourne (1034822)
      Agreed, this is in no way news for nerds nor stuff that matters.
  • by way2trivial (601132) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:06AM (#36176916) Homepage Journal

    anyone know what lock system it is?

    I only know the specifics of three electronic lock systems...
    and all three that I know? only key swiping.. not closings or how long a door was open.
    they can't even tell if the door was actually opened-- they can only tell that a key was used

    as in, if I flash my key and the lock goes green but I don't open the door?
    it records the key use but doesn't know I didn't open it.
    if the master metal override key is used is also recorded (and even triggering that event in the memory)
    wouldn't require the door to be opened (although it would be noticeable)

    anyone know of a lock system that does all they suggest?

    • The locks in my office building turn green and stay green for a number of seconds (I think about 15) or until the door is opened. If the door is held open for more then 30 seconds an alarm goes off.

      It's kind of funny, but kind of not. There's a bus stop literally right outside one of the entrances to the building. Normally what happens is a crowd of people get off the bus and one will use their card to open the door. Once the door's open the rest just rush in. Big security issue.

      One day someone rushed i
      • It's kind of funny, but kind of not. There's a bus stop literally right outside one of the entrances to the building. Normally what happens is a crowd of people get off the bus and one will use their card to open the door. Once the door's open the rest just rush in. Big security issue.

        Why not just use turnstyles?

        • by Kreigaffe (765218) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:31AM (#36177622)

          Real estate.

          If they were really concerned about security, the outer-most door wouldn't be the one with the lock -- it would simply lead to a lobby or vestibule, a non-secure but indoor and dry area, visible to security, through which employees would pass in a more orderly fashion to a secure door leading into the building proper.

          People rush through because they don't want to form up in a line outside. Once they're inside, it's not so big of an issue to stand around a bit longer. They're out of the weather, away from the traffic. But security theater is so much more entertaining..

        • I don't know why there isn't turn style there. All the other entrances lead to the main lobby and there are secondary locked doors to gain access to the office areas. I can only speculate that this one is different because on the immediate left after waking in is the shipping bay, which does have it's own entrance for deliveries, but we're not allowed to use that one for pickups. To move things like office furniture to the other buildings we have to use the entrance next to the bus stop. I don't know why.
      • The person who used their key card to open the door took the heat for the incident. I have to say it's kind of hard to unlock the door, but stop people from just walking in. Unless you have a gun and are a major @ss I guess

        Very simple, actually. Instead of just having a company policy "don't let anyone in behind you" have another policy "don't follow anyone through the door" with a major telling off if you are caught, even when you have a pass yourself.

        Once you do that and enforce it, anyone who follows you would have to be confronted.

        • I don't make the security policies. We are told that if you see someone you don't recognize, ask them to produce their badge, which we're suppose to ware all the time. I've been here for over five years now, but I gave up after my first week when I was scolded for insulting one of the managements family members by asking them who they were and if they had a badge. I love where I work and the people I work with, but the culture here is pretty much keep your nose down and don't worry about others... Unless th
      • by cbeaudry (706335)

        Commercial access control systems like those used in your building (i.e. Softwarehouse, Kantech, Lenel, Winpak Pro) are completely different from Hotel management systems.

        You have door strkes, readers, contacts, request to exit devices on standard access control, and those are all connected to a Controler, that manages access and events and sends all history to a server system. Every person has an access card that can be activated or revoked remotely.

        Hotel systems have standalone readers, with no door conta

        • by PPH (736903)

          Hotel systems have standalone readers, with no door contacts. Without a contact, you cant tell the door status or record it.

          You can monitor the latch status. And you can assume that the door is open when the latch is open.

          There is no central monitoring or managing of each reader.

          But the readers have a buffer that records events. When some unusual circumstance arises, management goes up with a reader and dumps a copy of the log. If nothing happens, the log is overwritten (over several days or weeks).

    • A lot of systems record data such as is a door is open or shut, and how long for. Doors have to automatically shut if there is a fire also. Annoyingly one place where I worked which was a very large convention centre, if a door was left open, security would appear after a minute or so because the fire alarm would start beeping.

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:01AM (#36177326) Homepage Journal

      and all three that I know

      Just curious - did you work in hotels with $3K/night suites? I'd not expect them to have the same key systems as the La Quinta. Don't get me wrong, I prefer the La Quinta to the posh hotels (it's a bed for Pete's sake...) but my question is whether your experience is directly relevant.

      For instance, most office buildings I've worked in with prox-card systems will sound an alarm if the door is left open for more than 30 seconds (or whatever they're programmed for) to prevent unauthorized entry.

    • its a $5000 a night suite... I'm rather surprised there's not video cameras pointed at the door.
    • by Hellsbells (231588) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @09:06AM (#36177938)

      I write software for card access systems.

      Smaller systems can record an event when the card was swiped, when the door was opened, when the door was closed and when the lock is engaged or disengaged.
      They'll also record an event if the door was opened without a successful card swipe.

      Most decent electronic locks will return this kind of data.

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        Smaller systems can record

        So the next logical question is if this function is at all configurable? I know plenty of things systems everywhere CAN do, but I also know a lot of functionality which is superfluous to normal operation is often disabled so the logs are easier to navigate.

    • by jrumney (197329)
      The access control system that I worked on in the early 1990's recorded door open and close events (normally configured only to be logged when the door was open excessively long, unless it was a secure environment like a prison or bank).
    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      All swipe access control systems I've seen record key swiped, and door not closed x seconds after swipe events. Quite useful for finding safety breaches due to a door that has been jammed open.

      Though hotel chains may be different as holding doors open is modus operandi for the maids which on any given day may make it impossible to tell apart the legitimate doors not closed, and the cleaning staff in every other room.

  • Which was it?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:06AM (#36176918)

    tried to attack the maid, and then shut the hotel door when she tried to escape

    If the defense for Mr. Strauss-Kahn maintains that the encounter was consensual, its version will have to accommodate the unambiguous computer record of her leaving the door propped open,'

    Above 2 statements are contradictory

    • Re:Which was it?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by uglyduckling (103926) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:13AM (#36176958) Homepage
      I don't think they're contradictory, you've just spotted the obvious version of the story that would "accommodate the unambiguous computer record", and make the NY Times article a load of hot air. The maid will claim he shut the door to imprison her, he will claim they shut the door after mutually agreeing to sex. So these records prove nothing, other than that the encounter most likely started with the usual practice of the maid propping the door open to valet the room.
      • Re:Which was it?? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:27AM (#36177044)

        First of all, does the door system really record the times of opening and closings of the door, rather than just door unlocking.

        If so, then the point is not whether either side can come up with a story NOW which can explain the record. But whether the record is consistent with the initial statement they gave to the police. Maybe both are statements are consistent with the electronic record. But maybe one of them isn't. And that would be vital evidence.

        • by Ecuador (740021)

          If the consistency of the initial statement is what matters, I think he said he was dining with hist daughter at the time (at least that is what newspapers wrote that his lawyers were maintaining), so he would be screwed.
          IANAL but I think most "justice" systems don't work as simply/logically as that, and the lawyers can find ways to suppress statements (and even evidence).

      • Reasonable Doubt (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:08AM (#36177378) Homepage Journal

        The maid will claim he shut the door to imprison her, he will claim they shut the door after mutually agreeing to sex. So these records prove nothing

        Fortunately the accused in our system don't have to prove anything, just convince the jury that there's reasonable doubt. If it boils down to a he-said/she-said situation, that shouldn't be too hard. If there's further evidence of sexual entrapment, even easier.

        But, no matter, he'll have been replaced at the IMF even before a pre-trial hearing, so the goal will have been met and it doesn't matter what the judicial outcome is.

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          Fortunately the accused in our system don't have to prove anything, just convince the jury that there's reasonable doubt. If it boils down to a he-said/she-said situation, that shouldn't be too hard. If there's further evidence of sexual entrapment, even easier.

          But, no matter, he'll have been replaced at the IMF even before a pre-trial hearing, so the goal will have been met and it doesn't matter what the judicial outcome is.

          Shame that the presumption of innocence does not apply to rape [blogspot.com] in practice.

      • by DrXym (126579)
        Virtually every hotel these days has security cameras dotted around the place. I can imagine that one shot of her entering the room in a normal manner to clean it, or the door being slammed, or her emerging in a state of distress, or screaming or being comforted by other staff and that's it for him.
    • by Rhaban (987410)

      She left the door open, began cleaning the room, got assaulted, tried to escape, and only then he shut the door.

      Where is it contradictory?

      • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

        It's contradictory in the part where the computer says that the door was never actually shut, and both of their stories include shutting the door at some point.

        However, doesn't pretty much every hotel door have the little hinged lock on the inside that physically locks the door so it can only open a few inches? (This kind [tripadvisor.com].) If you flip that over while the door is open and then shut the door on it, the door can't shut all the way. Could that be what happened? It would explain why they both said the door was

        • Re:Which was it?? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv.v ... m ['x.c' in gap]> on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:04PM (#36180208) Homepage

          It would explain why they both said the door was shut when it really wasn't, although you'd still think they might have noticed that.

          You think someone closing the door for consensual sex might notice that, especially if she worked at the hotel and knew exactly how that worked.

          OTOH, someone shoving the cleaning cart out of the way and closing the door to stop someone from fleeing might not notice that, and the person attempting to flee might not either.

          Alternately, perhaps the cart didn't make it out of the way, and was still holding the door open. Perhaps the handle got caught in it.

          Incidentally, I've seen maids prop open doors with their cart, but I thought they just didn't want to bring the carts into the room, but yet didn't want to leave it, unobserved, out in the hall. Plus it would be tricky to get stuff off the cart without having to unlock the door again.

          I never realized they did it as a safety feature. It's doubly smart...it makes it hard to close the door, and if this hotel did it like the hotel I saw, and someone did close the door, the cart would end up outside the room, so that people could actually find the maid if she temporarily vanished in circumstances like this.

          Incidentally, the idea of a maid in an expensive hotel deciding to, during cleaning, to randomly have sex with some visitor is idiotic. Maids tend to be on tight schedules. I can see some hypothetical 'come back later' scenario, but during cleaning is just stupid.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      I just wonder how much they had to pay her, and if there was a not-so-subtle deportation threat involved too.

    • I don't see the contradiction. Maid opens door. Maid props door open. Some time later as specified in her story the door would close. The amount of time is wha t becomes important. It's only useless (but not contradictory) if they both specified the same amount of time- because then even assuming that duration open was captured it wouldn't reveal anything.
  • by fche (36607) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:14AM (#36176964)

    The "unambiguous computer records" at issue here are the supposed times and codes of door openings and times of closings. It's unambiguously useless for telling apart situation (a) the attempted rapist guest closes the door and (b) the maid interested in extracurricular activities closes the door.

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:36AM (#36177122)
    I heard on the radio the other day that hotel and city surveillance cameras were going to be the key to prove his innocence or guilt since they are virtually EVERYWHERE in New York City.
    The other interesting tidbit of information is that DSK said that he would be set-up in some sort of entrapment sex scandal [businessinsider.com] a few weeks before he arrived in the USA.
    Makes you wonder...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JustOK (667959)

      "I'm going to be framed!" Sow the seeds of reasonable doubt before the crime.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Maybe he looked at Julian Assange and saw what happens to those who cross the U.S.

        Making statements against the dollar, taking a decisive lead over a pro-U.S. administration, being a socialist...these are the kinds of things can can lead a man into a life of sex crime. tsk...tsk

      • "I'm going to be framed!" Sow the seeds of reasonable doubt before the crime.

        Indeed. I'm sure he had been stalking this maid for months, noting her cleaning scheduling and practicing his bathroom hiding routine. FFS, how does something like this get modding Insightful?

        • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

          That, or "Hmm, there's a fair chance during this trip that I simply won't be able to resist raping a cleaning-lady or two. I'd better sow some seeds of reasonable doubt, just in case."

          Either way... entirely possible, in theory, but still pretty far-fetched.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Yeah, I bet the FBI is busy rounding up all that footage even as we speak. "Yes, we need ALL the copies. Having them all helps with our investigation. And if it's digital, we'll need all your hard drives too. It's all spelled out in this subpoena that was signed by a judge the day before the rape."

  • by Issarlk (1429361) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:10AM (#36177398)
    I bet a few people where listening to bugs planted in that room. too bad that kind of evidence will never become public.
  • Dammit, how did Assange manage to get TWO women, I only got one, and it's the housemaid for Pete's sake...

  • Hopefully she used some teeth and gargled some spit down his dick.

  • Remove the door before attempting rape.

    • Remove the door before attempting rape.

      Only if you are an exhibitionist (... or want another maid or guest to join in on the fun...)

  • > Under siege by thieves who regularly got their hands on old-fashioned room keys, hotels in New York began using electronic locks on their doors in 1977 .. They would leave an electronic trail, stamped with the times that a door opened, closed or was left ajar..

    I know of no such system that will detecd a door "left ajar".

    > Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer for Mr. Strauss-Kahn, declared that the evidence was “not consistent with forcible encounter”

    Has such evidence been released if so can we see

  • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @10:05AM (#36178474)

    For example, if a male guest calls for service, the housekeeping department will send up a male attendant.

    “Oftentimes, male guests will order the pay-per-view adult movies, and then call for towels, perhaps hoping that a woman will be sent to bring them up,” said Peter M. Krauss, chief sales and marketing officer for Plasticard Locktech International of Asheville, N.C., which provides card keys to hotels. “So whenever they can, the hotels will send up a male if the call comes from a male guest.”

    Pssht! There are three kinds of adult movies.... And for one kind, it might be safer to send a female attendant, especially if the guest ordered extra soap...

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