Global tech giant, Google, submitted public court comments this week calling the FBI’s new plan for obtaining digital search warrants a “serious and complex” constitutional concern.
Google’s director of law enforcement and information security says that the plan to alter an existing provision, known as Rule 41:
“…raises a number of monumental and highly complex constitutional, legal, and geopolitical concerns that should be left to Congress to decide.”
According to the National Journal, Rule 41 of criminal procedure, “permits judges to grant search warrants only within the bounds of their judicial district.”
But last year, the Justice Department petitioned for the rules to be changed, allowing for judges to approve search warrants outside of their jurisdictions in cases where authorities are not completely sure where a computer is located.
Googles fears that, if the rule change is approved, the vague language of the rule will allow the Justice Department to remotely access millions of people’s computers and the documents on them, i.e legal spying.
The Justice Department is denying claims that the change would allow such access, saying that the “small tweak” in the language of the rule is necessary to keep up with modern technology.
According to Deputy Assistant Attorney General David Bitkower, whose 2014 written statements about the provision and Google’s challenge were released last week:
“The proposal would not authorize the government to undertake any search or seizure or use any remote search technique not already permitted under current law.”
Google argues that the power to expand government’s investigative and technological tools lies with Congress.
The Washington Times reports that a decision about the possible expansion of Rule 41 will be made within the next “several months,” after a review by Congress and the Supreme Court.
—Courtesy of IJ Review