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Supreme Court approves legal authority to hack anonymous computers

Warrants can be used to target devices regardless of physical location.

The Verge

It just got a lot easier for law enforcement agents to hack anonymous computers over the internet. Last night, the Supreme Court approved changes to the rules of criminal procedure, enabling warrants for searches of remote computers, regardless of their physical location. That kind of warrant is particularly important for law enforcement hacking techniques, which typically target anonymous accounts or devices without knowing their physical location or identity. The changes are due to take effect in December, unless Congress passes countermanding legislation in the interim.

A number of experts have criticized hacking warrants as granting unnecessarily broad powers. In a 2014 editorial, law professor Ahmed Ghappour argued the warrants would result in widespread intrusions into other countries, potentially violating other countries’ sovereignty. “Overseas cyber operations will be unilateral and invasive,” Ghappour wrote. “They will not be limited to matters of national security; nor will they be executed with the consent of the host country.”

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