Tech groups say FBI shouldn't be allowed to do mass hacking

Tech and digital rights groups call on Congress to block proposal to allow expanded law enforcement hacking authority

Congress should block proposed changes to rules governing U.S. law enforcement investigations that could give law enforcement agencies new authority to hack thousands of computers, several tech and advocacy groups said.

Congress should stop the proposed changes, approved by the Supreme Court in April, that would allow judges to issue warrants for hacking and surveillance in cases where investigators don't know the target computer's location, a coalition of 50 tech trade groups, digital rights groups, and tech companies said in a letter sent Tuesday to congressional leaders.

The proposed rule, which would allow judges to issue warrants outside their jurisdictions, "would threaten the civil liberties of everyday Internet users," the coalition said in its letter. The new rule "would invite law enforcement to seek warrants authorizing them to hack thousands of computers at once."

In addition, the rule change could hurt network security efforts, the groups said. "Increased government hacking will likely have unintended consequences that cause serious damage to computer security and negatively impact innocent users," their letter said.

The Supreme Court approved changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure, which, in most cases, now prohibits federal judges from issuing a search warrant outside their jurisdictions. The changes go into effect on Dec. 1 unless Congress moves to reverse them.

The coalition called on Congress to pass the Stop Mass Hacking Act, a pair of bills introduced last month to roll back the proposed changes to Rule 41. 

Representatives of the FBI and the Department of Justice didn't immediately comment on the coalition letter.

Among the organizations signing the letter were trade groups the Computer and Communications Industry Association and the Internet Association; digital rights groups the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Fight for the Future; and tech companies Google, PayPal, SpiderOak, and Evernote.

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.
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?