Obama’s “most transparent administration,” via the Department of Justice (DOJ) is pushing for even greater federal overreach by legalizing the illegal act of law enforcement and intelligence agencies remotely hacking into anyone’s personal computer and mobile device, implanting malicious software on personal computers and mobile devices, and scanning through all personal contents of anyone’s computer– specifically those who have not been charged or used their devices for any criminal activity.
Claiming to fight cyber-crime, the DOJ has proposed changes to the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41 (FRCP41), would expand government overreach in unprecedented proportions.
The Supreme Court already approved Obama’s changes to Rule 41. Only Congress can block or approve the change, and it has until December 1, 2016, to do so.
In a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden, who publicly announced his intent to introduce legislation to block this action, Rutherford Institute attorneys listed ways in which the federal government is seeking to spy on anyone it so chooses.
“Once again, the government is insisting that it needs greater powers to combat cyber-crime, even if it means cutting through the very foundations of freedom in order to fight these modern devils,” John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, and author of “Battlefield America: The War on the American People,” said. He added,
Of course, it’s a devil’s bargain—much like the Patriot Act was—that attempts to sell us on the idea that safety, security and material comforts are preferable to freedom. The problem with these devil’s bargains, however, is that there is always a catch, always a price to pay for whatever it is we valued so highly as to barter away our most precious possessions. In the end, as we saw with the Patriot Act, such bargains always turn sour.”
Obama’s changes to FRCP41 give any judge in any area allegedly affected by criminal activity to issue a warrant to law enforcement and intelligence agencies to search a person’s electronic storage of information and media files. Additionally, a single magistrate would be allowed to issue a warrant to search numerous computers if a cyber-crime involving a virus or malware is believed to involve more than five computers– even if the computer’s owner is not suspected of having committed any criminal activity.
Obama changes to FRCP41 greatly expand the federal government’s ability to implement remote surveillance, which involves the government secretly installing data extraction software on an individual’s computer– without their permission or knowledge. This software would give the government free reign to remotely search a person’s computer’s hard drive and all stored information, transmit the information to agents, and remotely activate and control a person’s computer’s camera and microphone.
And there are no limits imposed. Obama’s FRCP41 opens the door for ongoing, unlimited government surveillance of people who are not suspected of committing any criminal activity. And all of this is allowed, according to the Supreme Court, including never having to notify the person whose electronic devices the government has hacked.
If the federal government insists that it needs more power to fight cyber-crime, why is the DOJ insisting that non-suspected criminal activity be allowed under unlimited surveillance? Ironically, the agency responsible for enforcing the law as it applies to the Constitution, has thrown it, along with the 4th, 5th, and 10th Amendments of the Bill of Rights, into the black hole of cyberspace.
This article was first published on May 10, 2016.