What are the proposed changes to "Rule 41?"

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may soon be able to hack into anyone’s computer they want here at home.

The Department of Justice made it known recently that they are on a mission to broaden and strengthen its hacking and surveillance powers through the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, specifically “Rule 41.” The Supreme Court approved the request for changes to “Rule 41” this past April. 

At present, the FBI, under “Rule 41,” is able to obtain authorization from a judge so that they can install malware and hack into computers believed to be linked to criminal activity. 

Changes to “Rule 41”, if they happen, would introduce two new law enforcement powers in the digital domain. 

The first is that the FBI would be granted warrants so that they can search any computer they desire in an unknown locale, and the second would give them the right to search any device that uses Tor, botnets or malware to hide their location. 

Changes to “Rule 41” will become a reality on December 1, 2016, unless Congress prevents it from happening. 

The issue of course is causing a fury of debate. 

Advocates in favor of changes to “Rule 41” argue that law enforcement needs more powers in tracking and capturing cyber criminals, like those involved with terrorism, fraud and even child pornography. 

Opponents argue that the feds have already enough power as it is when it comes to hacking and surveillance and they contend that changes to “Rule 41” will cause further harm to one’s personal rights. Simply put, opponents feel that cyber privacy and security is a human right, and they also question what sorts of new digital tools the feds will use in the event they are granted more power for “mass hacking.” 

December 1 is not far off and it’s a given that there will be plenty more debate involving changes to “Rule 41.” 

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