U.S. has officially followed Britain’s mass surveillance changes and has passed the previously suggested Rule 41, once again introduced in congress back in September, 2016. This rule allows the Federal Bureau of Infvestigation to have an advanced procedures at their disposal allowing them to request warrants to hack computers of the mere suspicion they have committed a crime. The difference is that previously a request had to be issued from a judge of the same jurisdiction and with the new rule this action will be eliminated.
The rule was first suggested in 2014 by a committee which deals with criminal rules for the Judicial Conference in the U.S. In April, this rule was approved by the United States Supreme Court.
Many Against It
Attempts by senators Ron Wyden and Rand Paul were made to stop the law and also delay with several months but these attempts have now failed.
There were also other organizations who opposed the suggested changes of Rule 41:
- The team behind Tor Project.
- A lot of security researchers.
- Privacy International.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation or the EFF.
- The American Civil Liberties Union also known as ACLU.
The primary concern which according to those organizations will be addressed in the future is the amount of power given to the government agencies, because not only FBI will be able to access any given device they deem to belong to a criminal, but other agencies as well. Many feel concerned that some of those negative consequences may be that the one being hacked may lose important information due to malfunction of the malware that has hacked his device. Not only this, but if this device is an important device in an organization, like an important department in a city, it may malfunction an render communication within this department.
Furthermore, malware researchers are also in strong belief that Rule 41 will give indirect power to cyber-criminals as well, meaning that if malware created by the government is reverse engineered after being obtained by cyber-criminals, they may modify it in their own variant and begin using it to infect users for different purposes, like political agendas as well as financial gain interests. Clear example for this pattern of taking government technology is the usage of the military-grade encryption algorithms which were initially utilized to encrypt and secure top secret files for the NSA. Cyber-crooks now use those to encrypt user files and extort them for money via ransomware viruses. Similar to this, the new hacking tools used by the government can be restructured and used by crooks on unsuspecting victims.
Not only this, but also issues concerning this very low is that it also is in breach with some key human rights, concerning privacy, primarily regarding searching through the private data of unsuspecting citizens without their consent.