US senators will introduce a bill to limit government hacking warrants

The legislation would block a rule change letting judges issue remote hacking warrants

A U.S. senator will introduce legislation to roll back new court rules that allow judges to give law enforcement agencies the authority to remotely hack computers.

Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, will introduce a bill that would reverse a court procedure rules change, approved by the U.S. Supreme Court last month, that would allow lower judges to issue remote hacking warrants.

The rules change, requested by the Department of Justice, expands the geographical reach of police hacking powers beyond local court jurisdictions now allowed through court-ordered warrants. Previously, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure prohibited a federal judge from issuing a search warrant outside his or her district.

The changes go into effect on Dec. 1 unless Congress moves to reverse them.

Several digital rights and civil liberties groups, along with some tech companies, have opposed the changes. The new rule "creates new avenues for government hacking that were never approved by Congress," the Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a blog post in April.

The new rule, allowing warrants targeting data "concealed through technological means,” would give police permission to target users of VPNs or the Tor anonymous browser, the EFF said. "If this rule change is not stopped, anyone who is using any technological means to safeguard their location privacy could find themselves suddenly in the jurisdiction of a prosecutor-friendly or technically-naïve judge, anywhere in the country," the group added.

Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, will sign on as a co-sponsor of the legislation, scheduled to be introduced next week, said a spokeswoman for Wyden. The proposal has generated bipartisan interest in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, she said.

The bill may be difficult to pass in a national election year, when controversial legislation usually stalls. But Wyden "certainly is going to put this at the top of the priority list," his spokeswoman said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmenthackingUSA

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?