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Coalition Asks Congress to Reject Rule 41 Changes That Would Authorize Warrants for Remote ‘Govt Hacking’

cyber-hack-network-computerA coalition of trade groups and technology firms has called on congressional leaders to support a bipartisan bill in an effort to block the proposed changes to a rule that would authorize law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for remote “government hacking.”

The coalition asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) in a letter published Tuesday to back the Stopping Mass Hacking Act in order to provide Congress more time to consider the potential implications of the proposed amendments to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure before such changes take effect on Dec. 1.

The changes to Rule 41 would allow federal agents to apply for search warrants that would authorize them to find criminals whose computers’ locations are hidden, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell wrote in a blog post published Monday.

The second proposed amendment to the rule would allow law enforcement authorities to apply for a consolidated search warrant that would permit them to investigate threat actors that breached computers that are located in at least five judicial districts, Caldwell added.

“This proposal is dangerously broad,” the coalition wrote in the letter that was also addressed to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California).

“It fails to provide appropriate guidelines for safeguarding privacy and security, and it circumvents the legislative process that would provide Congress and the public the critically necessary opportunity to evaluate these issues.”

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