Tags: NSA/Surveillance | FBI | computer surveillance

ACLU: FBI Seeks 'Green Light' to Hack Into Any Computer Worldwide

ACLU: FBI Seeks 'Green Light' to Hack Into Any Computer Worldwide
The J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington D.C. Headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI. (Richard Gunion | Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 30 October 2014 11:22 AM

The FBI is petitioning the government for new powers to hack into computers for surveillance in what is being described by civil liberties groups as "extremely invasive" and unconstitutional, The Guardian reported.

The intelligence agency is proposing a relaxation to the rules governing the scope of court warrants for searches. The regulations currently require warrants to be tied to specific locations where suspected criminal activity is occurring. The proposed change to the rules would enable the FBI to obtain warrants that would apply at any location in the world, giving the agency remote access to tap into computers whose location is being concealed by technology.

"This is a giant step forward for the FBI's operational capabilities, without any consideration of the policy implications. To be seeking these powers at a time of heightened international concern about U.S. surveillance is an especially brazen and potentially dangerous move," Ahmed Ghappour, an expert in computer law at the University of California Hastings College of Law, told the Guardian.

A federal judicial committee will meet on Nov. 5 to consider the issue. Technology experts and privacy campaigners are expected to raise concerns at the hearing. Some argue that the proposed changes would violate First Amendment rights to privacy and Fourth Amendment rights related to searches and seizures.

If the rule changes are approved, the FBI would have the power to employ a new range of investigative techniques on computers in America and around the world for any criminal investigation, according to the Guardian. It would also be the first time that courts would be asked to issue warrants to conduct searches outside the U.S.

In some instances the new powers would allow the FBI to install malicious software to enable investigators to take control of a computer, download its contents, operate its camera and microphone, and possibly do the same to other computers on its network.

"This is an extremely invasive technique," Chris Soghoian, principal technologist of the American Civil Liberties Union, who will address the hearing, told the Guardian. "We are talking here about giving the FBI the green light to hack into any computer in the country or around the world."

Civil liberties groups and privacy advocates are also concerned that discourse about the changing nature of the FBI's powers is taking place within a relatively obscure setting.
"This should not be the first public forum for discussion of an issue of this magnitude," Soghoian told the Guardian.

And Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, said, "This is an investigative technique that we haven't seen before and we haven't thrashed out the implications. It absolutely should not be done through a rule change — it has to be fully debated publicly, and Congress must be involved."

Ghappour warned there could be an international backlash if the FBI is granted the new powers, describing it as "possibly the broadest expansion of extraterritorial surveillance power since the FBI's inception."

European allies were enraged after the disclosures by Edward Snowden that they had been targeted as part of the National Security Agency's top secret surveillance program.

Internet companies have faced the ire of privacy rights activists for their cooperation with the government, while the European Union vowed to investigate ways to protect online privacy.
 

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Newsfront
The FBI is petitioning the government for new powers to hack into computers for surveillance in what is being described by civil liberties groups as "extremely invasive" and unconstitutional, The Guardian reported.
FBI, computer surveillance
549
2014-22-30
Thursday, 30 October 2014 11:22 AM
Newsmax Media, 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