The US Supreme Court has approved amendments to Rule 41, which now let U.S. judges issue search warrants for hacking into computers located also outside their jurisdiction.
Under the original Rule 41, a judge can only authorize the FBI to hack into computers in the same jurisdiction.
The rule change was approved despite the opposition from civil liberties groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Access Now, it is curious that the U.S. Justice Department has described the modification as a minor change.
A U.S. Justice Department spokesman clarified that the change did not authorize any new authorities not already permitted by law.
U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts transmitted the rules to Congress that can decide to apply modifications or totally reject it until December 1st. If the Congress doesn’t express any judgment of the rules, they would take effect automatically.
The U.S. Justice Department explained that the changes have been introduced to modernize the criminal code for the digital age as reported by the Reuters.
“The U.S. Justice Department, which has pushed for the rule change since 2013, has described it as a minor modification needed to modernize the criminal code for the digital age, and has said it would not permit searches or seizures that are not already legal.” states the Reuters.
Clearly the new Rules expand the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ability to conduct hacking campaigns on computer systems located everywhere in the world.
We have to consider that unfortunately the Congress rarely has rejected amendments to the rules.
According to the Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the modification to the rule will have “significant consequences for Americans’ privacy.”
“Under the proposed rules, the government would now be able to obtain a single warrant to access and search thousands or millions of computers at once; and the vast majority of the affected computers would belong to the victims, not the perpetrators, of a cybercrime,” Wyden said.
A Justice Department spokesman confirmed that the new rules are the response of the authorities to the increasingly use of “anonymizing” technologies made by threat actors.
According to the Daily Dot, Matt Edman is the cyber security expert and former employee of the Tor Project that helped the FBI to hack and de-anonymize Tor users in several court cases, including the clamorous Operation Torpedo and Silk Road.users.
(Security Affairs – Cornhusker, U.S. Justice Department )