FBI Would Gain New Hacking Power if Search Warrant Rules Change


Dustin Volz | Reuters | Reader Supported News | April 28, 2016

.S. judges will be able to issue search warrants giving law enforcement agents power to access computers in any jurisdiction, potentially even overseas, under a controversial rule change likely to be approved by the Supreme Court by May 1.

Magistrate judges can normally only order searches within the jurisdiction of their court, which is typically limited to a few counties.

The U.S. Justice Department, which is pushing for the rule change, has described it as a procedural change 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.

Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, and civil liberties groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Access Now, contend the change would vastly expand the ability of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to hack into computer networks. They say it could run afoul of the U.S. Constitution’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

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