Last Thursday, the US Supreme Court approved a change to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure that controls how law enforcement has to do things (follow procedure) in order to investigate a crime according to The Register.
Currently, law enforcement must know the location of a computer to get a warrant to hack the computer. With the new changes, the exact location is not needed. The change will also allow law enforcement to hack the victim’s computer also. This is to help with botnets – when a person’s computer is infected and used to perform various cyber attacks without the person’s knowledge.
“Instead of directly asking Congress for authorization to break into computers, the Justice Department is now trying to quietly circumvent the legislative process by pushing for a change in court rules, pretending that its government hacking proposal is a mere procedural formality rather than the massive change to the law that it really is,” said Kevin Bankston, director of new America’s Open Technology Institute.
This process of changing how law enforcement goes after computers in their investigations it did not need any public debate in congress. This process makes it less likely for the public to hear about it – and get upset.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has said he will be moving on the matter immediately.
“I plan to introduce legislation to reverse these amendments shortly, and to request details on the opaque process for the authorization and use of hacking techniques by the government,” he told The Register.