A judge in a federal court in Virginia stunned civil liberties groups by recently ruling that computer users connected to the Internet do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
The ruling came out of a case resulting from an FBI investigation into PlayPen, a child pornography site on the Tor network. The FBI took over the site using malware in order to identify visitors. In the ruling, the judge wrote: “The Court FINDS that any such subjective expectation of privacy—if one even existed in this case—is not objectively reasonable,” because computers are not inherently secure. The document references the numerous hacks that have undone individuals and major institutions alike in recent years.
But, the Electronic Freedom says the decision is bad for privacy: “The implications for the decision, if upheld, are staggering: law enforcement would be free to remotely search and seize information from your computer, without a warrant, without probable cause, or without any suspicion at all.”