The FBI is seeking new authority to hack into computers and spy on their users, the Guardian reports.
The Justice Department is requesting that an obscure regulatory advisory board change the rules of searches and seizures. The two will meet Nov. 5.
Civil liberties groups claim the new rules would violate the first and fourth amendments and are questioning why the Justice Department is seeking the permission without public debate or congressional oversight.
“This is a giant step forward for the FBI’s operational capabilities, without any consideration of the policy implications. To be seeking these powers at a time of heightened international concern about US surveillance is an especially brazen and potentially dangerous move,” said Ahmed Ghappour, an expert in computer law at University of California, Hastings college of the law, who will be addressing next week’s hearing.
The proposed changes involve court-approved warrants, which currently require surveillance to occur in the same district as the judge who approves the warrant.
The proposed changes would eliminate that requirement and allow the FBI to hack into any computer.
The FBI has been having troubles tracking some hackers because their locations are hidden by tools such as Tor.