Has your computer ever been infected with malware or spyware? Well, if it has, a new law that will go into effect December 1, says that if you’re computer has been hacked into into, then the federal government can legally hack into it without your knowing about it, too!
That’s right! Anyone acting on behalf of the federal government can go to any judge in any district to get a warrant to search your computer just because some jerk on the Internet infected your computer with some bogus scamware.
That means those bank statements and other private documents you keep on your home computer are up for grabs. Pictures of your friends, of your family, of you—including that selfie stash of yours! they’re all fair game. Run a company with sensitive customer data? Well, if any of your computers gets hacked, KA-BOOM! The feds can legally hack it, too. They can peek around and copy all of your company records. Who cares if it’s confidential? Now it’s “evidence”.
Starting three years ago, the Department of Justice drafted changes to the Search and Seizure rules of Federal Criminal Procedure law. The DOJ sent its changes to the Federal Courts. The courts okayed the changes to hack into American computers and passed them on to the Supreme Court. SCOTUS approved the changes on April 28. Now Congress has them for review. If not blocked, they go into effect on December 1. Christmas comes early for the FBI!
I’ve highlighted the relevant parts of the proposed amendment to the Search and Seizure Rule 41 that give the feds license over your data if your computer has been infected by malware and is part of a botnet.
10 FEDERAL RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
Rule 41. Search and Seizure
(b) Authority to Issue a Warrant.
At the request of a federal law enforcement officer or an attorney for the government:
* * *
(6) a magistrate judge with authority in any district where activities related to a crime may have occurred has authority to issue a warrant to use remote access to search electronic storage media and to seize or copy electronically stored information located within or outside that district if:
(A) the district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means; or
(B) in an investigation of a violation of U.S.C. §1030(a)(5), the media are protected computers that have been damaged without authorization and are located in five or more districts
But there is hope! You are the hope. You can call Congress. Here’s what to say.
Congress can change the law. There is a bill in the House and one in the Senate to repeal this odious big government overreach of power and invasion of privacy.
Here’s what I said when I called Rep. Katherine Clark’s office earlier (district office: (617) 354-0292):
Hi, my name is Joshua Reyes and I live in Cambridge, MA. I’m calling to ask Representative Clark to cosponsor H.R.5321 Stopping Mass Hacking Act. Personal privacy is important to me. And I do not expect to give up my personal privacy just because my computer or phone is connected to the internet. Does Representative Clark agree with me?
Thank you and have a nice day.
And to my senators Warren (Boston office: (617) 565-3170) and Markey (Boston office: (617) 565-8519):
Hi, my name is Joshua Reyes and I live in Cambridge, MA. I’m calling to ask Senator Markey/Warren to cosponsor S.3475 Review the Rule Act of 2016. Personal privacy is important to me. And I do not expect to give up my personal privacy just because my computer or phone is connected to the internet. Does Senator Markey/Warren agree with me?
Thank you and have a nice day.
Many representatives and senators don’t know about this obscure amendment. So it’s important to call now and let them know how you feel! December 1 is just a day away. I believe in you!
Don’t live in Massachusetts? No problem! Look up your representative. Look up your senators.