April 28, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court approved yesterday a change in Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure that would let U.S. judges issue warrants for remote access to electronic devices outside their jurisdiction.
“These amendments will have significant consequences for Americans’ privacy and the scope of the government’s powers to conduct remote surveillance and searches of electronic devices,” Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon said in a statement Thursday.
“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 cybercrime.”
If Congress doesn’t act, the changes to the Rule 41 will take immediate effect in December despite opposition from technology giants and civil liberties groups who believes the changes would expand the FBI’s power to conduct mass hacks on computer networks.