Tech Companies Lash Out At Supreme Court’s Warrant Rule Change

Today, law enforcement can’t get a warrant to hack into a computer if it doesn’t know the computer’s physical location. That will change on December 1, as a result of yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court.

Federal judges have traditionally been hesitant to grant search warrants on computers in unknown locations for fear of straying outside their jurisdiction. The High Court apparently feels that in the brave new world of borderless cybercrime, law enforcement needs to be able to search anywhere.

There may be some truth in that. “From an academic perspective, this version of rule 41 is an expected evolution caused by the digital revolution,” said Cooper Levenson cyberlaw attorney Peter Fu. “Mass crimes necessitate mass responses.

“Unfortunately, such changes should have been introduced by elected officials and not the federal bench,” Fu adds.

The court made the change in a revision to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which lays out how and when federal agencies can search private property. The court informed Congress of the change in a letter yesterday.

The only thing that can stop the rule change from going into effect is a law passed by Congress. At least one senator has vowed to introduce such a law. “These amendments will have significant consequences for Americans’ privacy and the scope of the government’s powers to

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