Skip to comments.Judge says the FBI can hack your computer without a warrant
Posted on 06/25/2016 9:30:05 AM PDT by Swordmaker
'Computers accessing the internet can -- and eventually will -- be hacked,' says Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr.
The FBI did not need a warrant to hack a US citizen's computer, according to a ruling handed down on Tuesday by Senior US District Court Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. If the decision is upheld, it may have ripple effects that essentially allow government agencies to remotely search and seize information from any computer in the US without a warrant, probable cause or suspicion, the EFF argues.
The ruling relates to a worldwide FBI sting dubbed Operation Pacifier that targeted child pornography sites on anonymity networks such as Tor. The FBI deployed hacking tools across computers in the US, Chile, Denmark and Greece, and caught 1,500 pedophiles on the Dark Web. As part of Operation Pacifier, authorities briefly seized and continued running a server that hosted the child pornography site Playpen, meanwhile deploying a hacking tool known internally as a network investigative technique. The NIT collected roughly 1,500 IP addresses of visitors to the site.
Judge Morgan, Jr. wrote on Tuesday that the FBI's actions did not violate the Fourth Amendment, which protects US citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. "The Court finds that no Fourth Amendment violation occurred here because the government did not need a warrant to capture Defendant's IP address" and other information from the suspect's computer, he wrote.
"Generally, one has no reasonable expectation of privacy in an IP address when using the internet," Morgan, Jr. said. "Even an internet user who employs the Tor network in an attempt to mask his or her IP address lacks a reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her IP address."
Basically, the judge argued, computers are hacked every day and no one should expect privacy while operating online.
"The rise of computer hacking via the internet has changed the public's reasonable expectations of privacy," he wrote. "Now, it seems unreasonable to think that a computer connected to the web is immune from invasion. Indeed, the opposite holds true: In today's digital world, it appears to be a virtual certainty that computers accessing the internet can -- and eventually will -- be hacked."
A Massachusetts court previously threw out evidence gathered by the FBI in one Playpen case, ruling that the operation relied on an invalid warrant. The bureau has moved to keep its NIT software classified, citing national security concerns if it were made public.
In April, the Supreme Court upheld the FBI's proposed changes to Rule 41, allowing judges to approve remote access to suspects' computers that fall outside their jurisdiction. Under the new rules, a judge in New York can authorize hacking a computer in Alaska, for example. A bipartisan Senate bill called the Stop Mass Hacking Act aims to block these expanded powers. There's a similar bill making its way through the House of Representatives, as well, according to Reuters. Congress has until December 1st to reject or amend the Supreme Court's ruling -- if it doesn't, the changes to Rule 41 will take effect as planned.
Freedom in America? Ha Ha Ha. Going Going Going Gone by dribble.
Bush1 appointee.. 1992
Trickle down dictatorship!!!
Can I hack into a government computer and download their stuff? How about a bank’s computer?
If not, why not? They have no reasonable expectation of privacy.
Do games and internet on one computer and anything important on another not on line.
They need a warrant to tap my phone but not my computer? Venezuela here we come.
Do this judge's first. Put some kiddie porn on it.
Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example...If the government becomes a law-breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.
Justice Louis D. Brandeis, from his dissent in Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 485 (1928)
I was under the impression that Windows 10 erased all privacy.
I don’t have anything to hide, so why should I Worry? Riiiight...
Obama complained that the Constitution was a document of “negative rights,” because it limited what the government could do.
Obama’s solution? Ignore the Constitution, but he really doesn’t need to, what with judges like this.
It does, but Microsoft is not the government.
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Gone with the creation of the EPA and OSHA - thank Nixon. No dribbles remain only illusions.
Big brother is always watching. Not a surprise.
This is akin to a judge ruling that because some people who know how to use lockpicks can break into your house, you have no reasonable expectation that locks will keep people out of your home, so government agents can just break into your home any time, on their slightest whim.
The fact is that if someone has gone to the trouble to attempt to be secure on the Internet, then the government, with it's unlimited resources, must NOT be allowed to "hack" into systems without a warrant.
The simple fact is that governments, given their resources, are far more capable than the vast majority of "script kiddies" who do most of the hacking. And this judge just gave them the go-ahead.
Homes are broken in to everyday, no one should have the expectation that their home and property are safe. No one should expect that their property is theirs.
Hacking is illegal. What is illegal for and individual is illegal for government.
Just because my computer is connected to the internet does not put contents of my computer in the public domain. My computer is still in my home and my home and its contents are immune from unreasonable search and seizure.
It the FBI wants to search my computer they need a warrant.
Don't have an Internet sight, too old. But your right freedom is on the way out.
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