The Guardian reported recently that Google is opposing an FBI request to The Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules to loosen restrictions on how it procures search warrants.
In its submission to the Committee, Google says that increasing the FBI’s powers with respect to search warrants would raise “monumental and highly complex constitutional, legal and geopolitical concerns that should be left to Congress to decide”.
Under the proposed changes, FBI agents would be able to carry out covert raids on servers no matter where they were situated, giving the government global access to vast amounts of private information.
In particular, Google objected to the FBI’s wish to “remotely” search computers that have concealed their location – either through encryption or by obscuring their IP addresses using services such as Tor.
Currently, agents wishing to search a computer or server have to apply to a judge for a warrant to do so and that judge has to be located in the same district as the property to be searched.
Google contends that the proposed changes risk undermining long-standing diplomatic arrangements the government has had with other countries allowing cross-border investigations to take place with the approval of all parties.Christopher Soghoian of the ACLU said: “The government is seeking a troubling expansion of its power to surreptitiously hack into computers, including using malware. Although this proposal is cloaked in the garb of a minor procedural update, in reality it would be a major and substantive change that would be better addressed by Congress.”
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Digital Forensics/Information Security/Information Technology