Tags: fail | block | expand | hack | fbi

Last-Ditch Effort Fails to Block Expanded Hacking Powers for FBI

Image: Last-Ditch Effort Fails to Block Expanded Hacking Powers for FBI

(Getty Images)

Wednesday, 30 Nov 2016 01:44 PM

A last-ditch effort in the Senate to block or delay rule changes that would expand the U.S. government's hacking powers failed Wednesday, despite concerns the changes would jeopardize the privacy rights of innocent Americans and risk possible abuse by the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden attempted three times to delay the changes which, will take effect on Thursday and allow U.S. judges will be able to issue search warrants that give the FBI the authority to remotely access computers in any jurisdiction, potentially even overseas. His efforts were blocked by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the Senate's second-ranking Republican.

The changes will allow judges to issue warrants in cases when a suspect uses anonymizing technology to conceal the location of his or her computer or for an investigation into a network of hacked or infected computers, such as a botnet.

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

In a speech from the Senate floor, Wyden said that the changes to Rule 41 of the federal rules of criminal procedure amounted to "one of the biggest mistakes in surveillance policy in years."

The government will have "unprecedented authority to hack into Americans' personal phones, computers and other devices," Wyden said.

He added that such authority, which was approved by the Supreme Court in a private vote earlier this year, but was not subject to congressional approval, was especially troubling in the hands of an administration of President-elect Trump, a Republican who has "openly said he wants the power to hack his political opponents the same way Russia does."

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware and Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana also delivered speeches voicing opposition to the rule changes.

The U.S. Justice Department has pushed for the changes to the federal rules of criminal procedure for years, arguing they are procedural in nature and the criminal code needed to be modernized for the digital age.

In an effort to address concerns, U.S. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell wrote a blog post this week arguing that the benefits given to authorities from the rule changes outweighed any potential for "unintended harm."

"The possibility of such harm must be balanced against the very real and ongoing harms perpetrated by criminals - such as hackers, who continue to harm the security and invade the privacy of Americans through an ongoing botnet, or pedophiles who openly and brazenly discuss their plans to sexually assault children," Caldwell wrote.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Newsfront
The Senate failed to block or delay rule changes that would expand the U.S. government's hacking powers failed Wednesday, despite concerns the changes would jeopardize the privacy rights of innocent Americans and risk possible abuse by the incoming...
fail, block, expand, hack, fbi
422
2016-44-30
Wednesday, 30 Nov 2016 01:44 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved