Washington — Today Senators Ron Wyden and Rand Paul introduced the Stopping Mass Hacking Act (S. 2952), a bill that would block a controversial expansion of the government’s hacking authority from taking effect. Congress currently has until December 1st to reject the Department of Justice’s proposed changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The changes would allow magistrates to issue warrants for the government to remotely search computers outside the magistrate’s own district—including unknown locations, and to remotely access multiple computers in multiple locations that may have been the victims of hacking.
The proposed rule change has gone largely unnoticed by the public via a behind-the-scenes process usually reserved for procedural updates. The Computer & Communications Industry Association has voiced its concern about the government’s requested change for the past two years and we invite other technology advocates to join us in supporting this important legislation. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“We welcome Senators Wyden and Paul’s efforts to prevent this highly controversial rule change from taking effect. They recognize that the far-reaching implications of the government’s proposed changes merit the full attention of their colleagues in Congress. There are Constitutional, international, and technological questions that ought to be addressed transparently before such a broad rule change.
“The government’s proposal is a substantive expansion of its ability to conduct electronic searches, and it deserves a public debate in Congress. These remote searches could involve foreign computers and may require so-called ‘network investigative techniques,’ which essentially amount to government hacking. While the government argues the updates are merely procedural, the use and consequences of these techniques have never received appropriate public and Congressional review.”