The US Supreme Court has approved a change in Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, now the Judges have the power to issue warrants for remote electronic searches outside their region.
US Supreme Court Permits FBI To Hack Any Computer
Under Rule 41, a judge can permit an FBI agent to hack into a computer in San Bernardino, for example or any computer in any corner of the world. The court documents regarding the issue show that a warrant will be permitted if a suspect uses softwares to conceal their identity like Tor.
To recall, this amendment was first introduced in 2014. The main motive of this amendment seems as a measure taken to cope with cyber crimes, however it raises issue of privacy and security which the tech giants are debating like Apple, Google.
This news emerges after Massachusetts Judge rejected proof procured by the FBI using a network investigative technique in a case involving a Dark Web site that circulated child sexual abuse content.
The US Department of Justice’s spokesperson Peter Carr told Motherboard:
Criminals now have ready access to sophisticated anonymizing technologies to conceal their identity while they engage in crime over the Internet, and the use of remote searches is often the only mechanism available to law enforcement to identify and apprehend them.
This amendment ensures that courts can be asked to review warrant applications in situations where is it currently unclear what judge has that authority. The amendment makes explicit that it does not change the traditional rules governing probable cause and notice.
Privacy lawyers are concerned that the government is seeking to accord itself this sort of power to investigate anyone while concealing it as a procedural rule.
According to me, this amendment would not be welcomed by the top tech companies like Apple, as you might be aware about the recent case of Apple regarding encryption where Apple was forced to give FBI a software which could help them in bypassing encryption. However Apple refused the demands of the government, but FBI managed to decrypt the iPhone without seeking the help from Apple.