Obama now has permission to hack everyone’s computer
with a Single Warrant
By: Alex Barron
We have a reoccurring segment on this blog where we address computer security and anonymity from a politically conservative point of view. I have found that most of the people working in the online privacy arena are extremely liberal. I felt that that some voters who are more conservative were often supporting authoritarian approaches, which damage us all, just because the argument for privacy was not presented to them in a more intuitive way. Thus we started the Patriot Darknet, also called the American Redoubt Darknet Project, which aims to bring internet security and online anonymity to the Patriot community.
Some progressives like it when President Barrack Obama acts like an imperial president. He simply decides he is not going to enforce immigration law. He simply expands laws to force schools and churches to allow sexually confused people to use whatever bathroom they want, protected by the federal legislation. These laws are not debated in Congress by the people’s representative. Individuals who oppose authoritarianism no matter if it is right wing or left wing have warned that allowing Obama to expand Executive power allows a potential future President Donald Trump this same power. No president should be an “imperial” president. Now we see how this comes back to bite authoritarian progressives in the face. Imperial President Obama has succeeded in giving the federales the right to hack millions of computers with a single general warrant.
The way the Obama administration went about it is sneaky and deceitful in the extreme. The Obama administration has submitted amendments to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (PDF). This rule change allows judges to grant general warrants to search and seize electronic media located outside of their home districts when the location of the information is “concealed through technological means.” Anything could qualify as “technology means” from Ham digital signals, to PGP, Tor or a company’s VPN. Because it is a “rule change” it does not go through Congress but has to be reviewed by the judiciary. Yet once again the nine Black Robes have failed the American people in their job to protect the Constitution. SCOTUS has said this massive new power grab is “constitutional.” The federales now have the right to download files from your computer or phone (this includes turning on your camera and audio) even if you are not suspected of any crime. This Rule change goes into effect on 01DEC2016.
This is a general warrant just like the British Empire used and one of the main reasons our colonial ancestors started a rebellion against the out of control federales of their time. This is why it is written into our Bill of Rights specifically to require the government to have probable cause and to write a very specific warrant. That is why we are supposed to be “secure” in our electronic files. Why does the FBI claim it wants this authority? It says it requires it to beat networks that some criminals have called hackers call robot networks or “botnets.” A botnet is when a single someone can control a lot of computers and make them do things.
You can defeat botnets without attacking and downloading files from each computer controlled by a botnet. We do it now. What the FBI really wants is the ability to crack open personal security that Americans use. Things like Tor or even the basic SSL protection of this blog (and your bank) and then infect each visitor with government spy where, even though you are not suspected of a crime. They will say they want to protect Americans from brown people (criminals and terrorist) or protect the children (pedophiles). The FBI claims the only way to protect you from the brown people or protect the children is to hack each and every computer and phone in these non-United States with a single warrant.
Even though the federales use the excuse of botnets, brown people and children they really want to stop Americans from “going dark.” It is hard to beat anonymity tools like VPNs, PGP, i2p, Tor and Silent Circle without hacking a lot of random computers. These are tools many of us depend upon simply to talk somewhat privately. They want this new power without even a discussion in congress.
With this Rule 41 change FBI would have the ability to hack thousands of computers and cell phones, no matter where they are located including corporate VPN, bank’s HTTPS (SSL) security or other anonymity tool with a single warrant. The federales would also have the right to download files from your phone and computer, even turn on your camera and microphone even if you are not suspected of any crime and are located anywhere in the world. Suddenly California judges can write warrants against people using PGP on their computers in Idaho. They can download any data from your device “in pursuit” of someone you never met. From reading this rule change, I don’t see how this does not include turning on any camera and microphone. This new general warrant capability goes into effect on 01DEC2016. Rule 41 is opposed by many technology firms.
This kind of vast expansion of government mass hacking and surveillance clearly should require a new law passed by Congress not a little-known Executive rule change and arcane court process. The reason Obama and the FBI didn’t do it the right way is that even though congressmen are often weak, and too many Republicans are authoritarian themselves, the people could punish their representatives if they found out they had given the federales the right to hack any computer anywhere from one general warrant.
Senator Rand Paul and other Republicans and Democrats submitted a proposed law in the Senate and House (S. 2952, H.R. 5321). It is a good bill it has a single sentence: “To prevent the proposed amendments to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure from taking effect.” As you would expect the Republican and Democrat establishment are trying to bury the Bill. I strongly suggest that everyone call their Senator and Representative and ask them to support the Stop Mass Hacking Act. It is an election year, and that is why the sneaky Obama administration and corrupt FBI waited until everyone was distracted to try and sneak through this massive power grab. Think on what the federales have done with the IRS as they have chased conservatives down like dogs in the street. Imagine what they can do when they have the legal authority to hack all of our electronic devices with a single warrant.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty
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