Today Senators Wyden, Cornyn, Leahy, Baldwin, Coons, Daines, Franken, Hirono, Lee, Tester, Warren, and Heinrich as well as Representatives Poe, Conyers, Amash, Chaffetz, Chu, Cohen, DelBene, Gohmert, H.C. Johnson, Lieu, Lofgren & Nadler sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter to Attorney General Lynch requesting information regarding how the amendments to Rule 41 will be used.
Earlier this year, the i2Coalition signed on to an industry letter opposing the expansion of an arcane federal rule simply known as Rule 41. The clarifying amendments to Rule 41 would dramatically expand the hacking power of U.S. federal agencies.
This obscure procedure—amending a federal rule known as Rule 41— when it goes into effect on December 1st, will radically expand the government’s authority to hack. The changes to Rule 41 would make it easier for agencies to break into the Internet’s infrastructure, our businesses’ networks, and the personal computers of our users to take data, and engage in remote surveillance.
These changes will impact any person using a computer with Internet access anywhere in the world. However, they will disproportionately impact people using privacy-protective technologies, including Tor and VPNs.
i2Coalition advocated for rejections the changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure by passing the Stopping Mass Hacking Act, and was a cosponsor of the website https://NoGlobalWarrants.org. Now, with December 1st just around the corner and Congress unlikely to act, we require further transparency and openness on how this rule change will affect the open Internet.
As the leading voice for the Internet’s infrastructure, i2Coalition commends the Senate letter, and eagerly awaits the response of Attorney General Lynch regarding how the amendments to Rule 41 will be used.