The Supreme Court in the United States has changed Rule 41, in order to give more power to the FBI and allegedly fight against terrorism. With these new changes, a judge will be able to issue a warrant for search and seizure of computers, even beyond the limits of his or her jurisdiction.
However, there is another hidden threat to all those seeking privacy and anonymity out there. More specifically, with the brand new Rule 41 the FBI will have the power to seize and search computers all over the world. Well, not all computers, but the ones that use either Tor or VPN.
Does this sound unfair? It most certainly is! In the effort to strengthen their reactions against cybercrime, they have targeted perfectly legitimate citizens. What is more, empowering one’s online privacy is the key to safeguarding personal information and protecting his digital entity. This should be applauded and not persecuted, by all means. Tor and VPN users engage in such tactics, primarily to ensure that their web surfing is secured. For instance, a lot of Facebook users have started using Tor towards ensuring that their info is in no way leaked.
Kevin Bankston from Open Technology Institute has commented on the recent changes: “Whatever euphemism the FBI uses to describe it–whether they call it a ‘remote access search’ or a ‘network investigative technique’–what we’re talking about is government hacking, and this obscure rule change would authorize a whole lot more of it.
Like wiretapping, hacking is uniquely invasive compared to regular searches and raises serious issues under our Fourth Amendment, which protects us from unreasonable searches. Unlike wiretapping, however, Congress has never authorized government hacking nor established protective rules for the road to ensure it’s not abused. Government hacking also raises a host of new and serious risks to privacy and security that wiretapping doesn’t, including the risk that the malware used by the government might spread to innocent people’s computers or cause unintended damage.”