Senate Denies Request To Consider Bill To Block Government Hacking Expansion

BY Heather Greenfield
September 8, 2016

Washington — Senator Ron Wyden today asked for Senate approval by unanimous consent of his Stopping Mass Hacking Act (S. 2952), which would temporarily block a dangerous expansion of the government’s hacking authority from taking effect. Unfortunately, other members of the chamber objected to Senator Wyden’s move to stop the government from gaining sweeping new powers to hack numerous computers, or computers in unknown locations, with a single warrant. These new powers would result if pending proposed changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure are not blocked.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association is disappointed Congress has not acted to prevent the far-reaching expansion of government hacking authority from automatically taking effect on December 1.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“We are deeply concerned that the Senate has not yet seen fit to halt the expansion the government’s hacking powers absent a wider public debate. These activities need more oversight, not less. Empowering the government to use a single warrant to hack multiple computers in unknown locations, including computers overseas, has far-reaching consequences for us citizens, for citizens around the world and for any country that supports democracy and the rule of law.

“We are disappointed that Congress has failed to use this opportunity Sen. Wyden offered to block this dangerous expansion and allow for more robust examination of its consequences. The world’s greatest deliberative body must not waive its ability to deliberate this issue which poses a threat to our constitutionally protected rights and freedoms. We urge Congress to schedule a hearing on Sen. Wyden’s legislation this month.

“Granting government such significant new authorities merits careful consideration by Congress. These powers will raise international tensions, concerns over fundamental rights, and questions of technological feasibility that ought to be addressed transparently before being granted. Sadly, the rule changes are now scheduled to simply take effect by default just weeks after the Presidential election.”

 

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