The Phaserl


Feds closer to expanded search & seizure authority to remotely hack into PCs

from Patriot Rising:

The federal judiciary’s rules committee backed the DOJ’s search and seizure proposal which will expand the FBI’s authority to remotely hack into PCs.

The feds need a search warrant before installing a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) on computers suspected of being used in crimes, but the government can keep the remote access operation a secret from their target for 30 days and sometimes even longer if a judge approves an extension. But the remote search and seizure warrant is limited to the geographical district where the judge issued it. The DOJ, which includes the FBI, the DEA and ATF, says it needs one warrant to work over many districts so it can better hunt down potential terrorists and criminals on the Internet. The Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure (pdf) has now backed the Justice Department’s proposed search and seizure changes that would give the FBI “wide latitude” to hack into people’s computers with surveillance software.
What type of information might the government be seeking after hacking into a PC? Last year, a FBI warrant sought permission to access the computer’s built-in webcam in order to take photos for 30 days, to grab search terms, email contents, documents and chat logs. The investigation was into bank fraud and the warrant was based on “the attempted transfer of money from a Texas bank account to a foreign bank, using an email address similar to that of the account owner’s.” A Texas judge denied the FBI’s request for a Trojan horse warrant.

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