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New Rule = Huge Expansion in FBI Hacking Power


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#1 Sidestreet

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 06:49 AM

Despite a strong opposition, changes to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41 occur today which dramatically expand federal magistrates' (and thus the FBI's) ability to issue warrants for electronic devices even if the devices are located outside of the magistrate's jurisdiction or the location of the device is unknown.

 

 

 

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.

http://www.reuters.c...s-idUSKBN13P2ER

 

 

 

The change to the little-known Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure — which will take effect on Dec. 1 unless Congress blocks it — would let judges grant electronic search warrants for devices whose locations aren't known, and permit them to authorize remote searches of devices not in their jurisdiction.

http://www.politico....-experts-216263

 

 

Here's a fuller explanation by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):

 
April 30, 2016 | By rainey Reitman
With Rule 41, Little-Known Committee Proposes to Grant New Hacking Powers to the Government

The government hacking into phones and seizing computers remotely? It’s not the plot of a dystopian blockbuster summer movie. It’s a proposal from an obscure committee that proposes changes to court procedures—and if we do nothing, it will go into effect in December.

 

The proposal comes from the advisory committee on criminal rules for the Judicial Conference of the United States. The amendment [PDF] would update Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, creating a sweeping expansion of law enforcement’s ability to engage in hacking and surveillance. The Supreme Court just passed the proposal to Congress, which has until December 1 to disavow the change or it becomes the rule governing every federal court across the country.  This is part of a statutory process through which federal courts may create new procedural rules, after giving public notice and allowing time for comment, under a “rules enabling act.”1

 

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure set the ground rules for federal criminal prosecutions. The rules cover everything from correcting clerical errors in a judgment to which holidays a court will be closed on—all the day-to-day procedural details that come with running a judicial system.

The key word here is “procedural.”  By law, the rules and proposals are supposed to be procedural and must not change substantive rights.

But the amendment to Rule 41 isn’t procedural at all. It creates new avenues for government hacking that were never approved by Congress.

The proposal would grant a judge the ability to issue a warrant to remotely access, search, seize, or copy data when “the district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means” or when the media are on protected computers that have been “damaged without authorization and are located in five or more districts.” It would grant this authority to any judge in any district where activities related to the crime may have occurred.

 

To understand all the implications of this rule change, let’s break this into two segments.

 

The first part of this change would grant authority to practically any judge to issue a search warrant to remotely access, seize, or copy data relevant to a crime when a computer was using privacy-protective tools to safeguard one's location. Many different commonly used tools might fall into this category. For example, people who use Tor, folks running a Tor node, or people using a VPN would certainly be implicated. It might also extend to people who deny access to location data for smartphone apps because they don’t feel like sharing their location with ad networks. It could even include individuals who change the country setting in an online service, like folks who change the country settings of their Twitter profile in order to read uncensored Tweets.

 

There are countless reasons people may want to use technology to shield their privacy. From journalists communicating with sources to victims of domestic violence seeking information on legal services, people worldwide depend on privacy tools for both safety and security. Millions of people who have nothing in particular to hide may also choose to use privacy tools just because they’re concerned about government surveillance of the Internet, or because they don’t like leaving a data trail around haphazardly.

 

If this rule change is not stopped, anyone who is using any technological means to safeguard their location privacy could find themselves suddenly in the jurisdiction of a prosecutor-friendly or technically-naïve judge, anywhere in the country.

 

The second part of the proposal is just as concerning. It would grant authorization to a judge to issue a search warrant for hacking, seizing, or otherwise infiltrating computers that may be part of a botnet. This means victims of malware could find themselves doubly infiltrated: their computers infected with malware and used to contribute to a botnet, and then government agents given free rein to remotely access their computers as part of the investigation. Even with the best of intentions, a government agent could well cause as much or even more harm to a computer through remote access than the malware that originally infected the computer. Malicious actors may even be able to hijack the malware the government uses to infiltrate botnets, because the government often doesn't design its malware securely. Government access to the computers of botnet victims also raises serious privacy concerns, as a wide range of sensitive, unrelated personal data could well be accessed during the investigation. This is a dangerous expansion of powers, and not something to be granted without any public debate on the topic.

 

https://www.eff.org/...wers-government

 

 

This sounds like the kind of thing that might affect us directly.  It definitely reduces the effectiveness of Tor and VPNs.  I wonder whether having a VPN based out-of-country makes any difference.

 

But, take heart.  There is no end to human ingenuity, and I know privacy advocates will hurry to pull back ahead of this affront to the Fourth Amendment.  What is the next level?


Edited by Sidestreet, 01 December 2016 - 07:03 AM.

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#2 niemandgeist

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 03:27 PM

It's always a cat-and-mouse game when it comes to this sort of thing. Some people will figure something out, I'm sure. It just takes time.

 

It seems like the people making the laws don't fully understand how such privacy technologies work. Sure, people could use them for nefarious purposes, but a lot of folks simply use them for added privacy and security. You know, sort of how most people prefer to lock their windows and doors as well as drawing the shades for privacy and security. Not everyone using a VPN or services such as TOR are trying to do something wrong.

 

I guess since the whole darknet market stuff, law enforcement thinks that no reasonable person trying to stay on the right side of the law would ever resort to such technologies. Encryption is like buying a safe with a combination lock to keep things safe and hidden for security and privacy.


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#3 Sidestreet

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 03:24 PM

Catattack asked me to post this because he had to run (scurry?):

 

 

Got this from PIA when I wrote them:The recent change to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure would allow a federal magistrate judge to issue a search and seizure warrant for electronic media if the location of the information is concealed through technological means or if it is a hacking case that involves computers in at least five judicial districts. Even if a warrant was issued to PIA about searching and seizing electronic media, because we do not log internet activity, there is no way to trace the activity to a specific user. Because this rule change allows the government to hack individuals outside of the United States, it is ever important that our subscribers remain vigilant and maintain best practices for protecting their privacy. That means not letting yourself be socially engineered and protecting your network against potentially malicious traffic. While a VPN can help protect your privacy, it is only one of several tools that when used together protects the privacy of you and your family. If you would like more advice on how to secure your privacy, you can view our Best Practices Guide which is available at https://helpdesk.pri...-Best-Practices

 

That best practices link is worth looking at.


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#4 wildedibles

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 02:11 AM

I noticed a few differences over the years on the net man oh man u can barley do anything without a cell phone attached to it somewhere and well its all impossible without an email

I have found out how to take the gps tracking off cause well I dont want anyone to know where my specil mushroom spots are ;) what I do not like about the gps stuff is it can be turned back on in case of an emergency (if im lost) any 911 service can turn it back on

watching boarder patrol go threw everyones devices to see if they are telling the truth etc what material etc is on the computer see if they are importing child porn etc.... if you want to travel past boarders do not bring lab top, phone etc or at least erase your messages I think with a warrent they can get erased messages etc if they really wanna

free speach is just an illusion sometimes ........well its free hum.. you can say it but you never know who is listing these days and how it will get you introuble (wheres my tin foil toque)
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#5 Hash_Man

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 10:15 AM

In late October, nearly two dozen members of Congress sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch with a number of questions about the change to Rule 41, specifically asking how the department could prevent “forum shopping” for warrants and whether the government would have safeguards in place to prevent damage to innocent users’ devices if they’re searched. The letter also asked whether owning a device that was compromised in an attack, such as a botnet infection, constitutes probable cause for a remote search....more http://mobile.reuter...e/idUSKBN13P2ER

President-elect Trump, a Republican who has "openly said he wants the power to hack his political opponents the same way Russia does."

Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and Republican Senator 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.

A handful of judges in recent months had dismissed evidence brought as part of a sweeping FBI child pornography sting, saying the search warrants used to hack suspects' computers exceeded their jurisdiction.

The new rules are expected to make such searches generally valid.

Blocking the changes would have required legislation to pass both houses of Congress, then be signed into law by the president.

Edited by Hash_Man, 04 December 2016 - 10:20 AM.

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#6 wildedibles

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 10:34 AM

Thats how they get srtuff like this to pass tho ......saying its to protect children from child porn who wouldnt pass that but if it passes it be more than just that tho.......
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#7 Hash_Man

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 11:03 AM

Thats how they get srtuff like this to pass tho ......saying its to protect children from child porn who wouldnt pass that but if it passes it be more than just that tho.......


yea, and then any politician opposed will go down as someone against protecting children.

Edited by Hash_Man, 04 December 2016 - 12:28 PM.

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#8 Sidestreet

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 11:24 AM

 

saying its to protect children from child porn who wouldnt pass that but if it passes it be more than just that tho.......

 

That's called "mission drift."  Like how the PATRIOT ACT was ostensibly for anti-terrorism efforts but had huge repercussions for all criminal investigations and privacy in general.


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#9 Heirloom Spores

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 12:13 PM

Trump wanting to hack political opponents  is like Nixon bugging the DNC  - Watergate.

This would seem to give a huge advantage to the ones in power preventing honest elections.

This is what dictators do.


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#10 Alder Logs

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 01:24 PM

Look out Canadians, and pretty much everyone else, expect the US security state to be sharing what shakes out of their vacuum bags.

 

I wonder what version the PROMIS software is in now. 


Edited by Alder Logs, 04 December 2016 - 01:25 PM.

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#11 August West

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 01:58 PM

 

 

saying its to protect children from child porn who wouldnt pass that but if it passes it be more than just that tho.......

 

That's called "mission drift."  Like how the PATRIOT ACT was ostensibly for anti-terrorism efforts but had huge repercussions for all criminal investigations and privacy in general.

 

 

 And at this point, mission creep should just be assumed with every bill like this. It's essentially redundant.

 

Trump wanting to hack political opponents  is like Nixon bugging the DNC  - Watergate.

This would seem to give a huge advantage to the ones in power preventing honest elections.

This is what dictators do.

I think it's safe to assume that  it doesn't take a dictator and this is what Western Democracies and their security states do. Aside from corporate spying, blackmail, via information from agencies like the NSA and GCHQ is how politics operate. NSA whistleblower Russ Tice (who preceded Snowden) has some very revealing interviews on the subject.

 

Spying on "everyday citizens" is distraction from the real goal...political blackmail and corporate espionage...imo.


Edited by August West, 04 December 2016 - 02:02 PM.

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#12 niemandgeist

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 04:56 PM

I don't even use a smartphone because, firstly, I already have internet access at home I pay for and don't see any reason to have to pay more money for phone internet access. The only thing I'd use on it would likely be GPS, but they have stand-alone units to put in your car for that that probably do a more thorough job.

 

There's all sorts of tracking going on with smartphone apps. Most of the free-to-use ones require that you allow many permissions on your phone for the apps to access loads of information. That's why they are "free". The companies make money on selling information they collect on you. You'd also have to worry about removing any embedded GPS and other tracking data that gets hidden in photo or video files, or tracked online when you make posts from a smartphone online.

 

I just need voice calling and texting on my phone, and maybe the camera and video function. It's a bonus to be able to put music on my phone to listen to.

 

Even with my tablet PC which runs Android OS, any games or apps I use can require that I give them lots of permissions to access data on my tablet to be able to use them. I know it's worse with smartphones. Also, if you drop a smartphone you're fucked. I can drop my old clunker of a cell phone and step on it and still be OK.


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#13 riseabovethought

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 03:33 PM

This should be good.  Snowden said its pretty accurate so I cant wait to see it.  I hope Trump pardons him since Obama doesnt dare threaten his 'legacy.'

[Direct Link]

 

[Direct Link]

 

[Direct Link]


Edited by riseabovethought, 09 December 2016 - 03:51 PM.





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