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 PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?