Until yesterday, federal law enforcement couldn’t get a warrant to hack into a computer if it didn’t know the computer’s physical location. Judges feared the computer might be beyond their jurisdiction. But the Supreme Court has now tweaked the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to allow law enforcement to hack into a computer regardless of its location. The change will take effect in December unless Congress decides to pass a law countermanding the court’s decision.
The Court wrote a letter to Congress informing it of its decision Thursday. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon immediately said he’d introduce legislation to block the change: “These amendments will have significant consequences for Americans’ privacy and the scope of the government’s powers to conduct remote surveillance and searches of electronic devices,” he said in a statement Thursday.