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Privacy Invasion or Necessary Update?

by Kate Lynch on 2016-11-28T11:13:00-05:00 | Comments

A new bill was introduced earlier this year by Senator Ron Wyden to delay the Department of Justice's proposed changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which deals with search and seizure. 

Essentially, the proposed changes to the rule would remove previous restrictions on the FBI's ability to hack computer networks which are suspected of criminal activity. Currently, Rule 41 requires law enforcement to obtain a search warrant from a federal judge to perform such hacks, and these search warrants only apply to computer devices located within the judge's area of jurisdiction. Under the proposed changes, the FBI will soon be able to hack numerous computers around the world with a single warrant - essentially, they will be able to hack anybody, without notification. 

Proponents of the Rule 41 changes suggest that the changes are a long-overdue update on outdated laws. Opponents of the change say that the consequences of the changes represent a severe breach of personal privacy. Either way, the changes are set go into effect on Friday, December 1st, unless Congress passes Sen. Wyden's bill delaying the changes. 

You can find more information in the citations below, including a letter signed by 26 organizations - including Google - urging Congress to delay the changes. 

What do you think? Do the proposed changes constitute an invasion of privacy? Or are they simply an update to outdated laws?


Letter Sent to Congress Majority and Minority Leaders. (2016, November 21) Retrieved from 

Breland, Ali. (2016, November 21). Google, ACLU call to delat government hacking rule. Retrieved from

Department of Justice Blog Post. (2016, June 20). Rule 41 Changes Ensure a Judge May Consider Warrants For Certain Remote Searches. Retrieved from

Helgren, Chris. (2016, September 16). 'Rule 41' change allows FBI 'mass surveillance; if Congress does nothing. Retrieved from




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