Civil Rights Groups, CCIA Appeal To Congress To Block Government Hacking Expansion

BY Heather Greenfield
June 21, 2016

Washington — The Computer & Communications Industry Association has joined public interest groups to try block an expansion of government hacking. Unless Congress intervenes, a law enforcement request to be given the ability to hack multiple computers in unknown locations outside a magistrate’s jurisdiction will automatically take effect. Today CCIA and others sent a joint letter to members of Congress asking them to instead support the Stopping Mass Hacking Act (S. 2952, H.R. 5321), bipartisan legislation that would block the changes. The coalition also launched a website and Day of Action to raise public awareness following a behind-the-scenes approval process.

CCIA began voicing concern two years ago when law enforcement first initiated its request for changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“The slated change would broadly expand government hacking powers in ways that raise clear Constitutional questions. In addition to a litany of civil liberties and privacy issues, expanding government hacking into unknown and possibly foreign computers will further raise tensions with allies like Europe, and exacerbate existing international conflicts of law over technology and data. Given the significant civil rights, diplomatic, and economic concerns the slated change raises, we urge members of Congress to prevent the rule change and ensure this matter receives the oversight and debate it deserves.”

“If the Administration and the intelligence community truly want the enduring cooperation of the tech sector, the best way to ensure it is to act with transparency and in good faith when major changes are proposed in policy or operations. Using this procedural change to camouflage and effect a major expansion in hacking power is unwise at best.”

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