Compliance » New Law Expands Courts’ Authority To Search Computers

New Law Expands Courts’ Authority To Search Computers

December 2, 2016

An amendment to a Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure has taken effect this week which will allow judges to sign warrants that let authorities hack into computers outside a judge’s jurisdiction. The rule also gives federal judges the authority to issue a warrant to search multiple computers, even if they do not know who the targeted computer owner is. The amendment was decried by privacy advocates, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who said, “By sitting here and doing nothing, the Senate has given consent to this expansion of government hacking and surveillance.” But the Department of Justice sought to tamp down concerns, saying: “It is important to note that the amendments do not change any of the traditional protections and procedures under the Fourth Amendment, such as the requirement that the government establish probably cause.” The Senate failed to act on several bills proposed to block or delay the measure.

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