Google warned strongly against a Department of Justice request to expand its federal powers to search and seize digital data. According to Google, such power will sanction the U.S. government to hack any facility in the world.
The request arose first from the problem with Rule 41, where if a federal agent wished to search a private property, they would need a warrant authorized by a judge in the same district as the property. The Justice Department argues that this arrangement no longer works in our modern age, especially when computers can hide their real addresses. The Justice Department wants to widen the scope for its searches and be able to search outside a judge’s district.
However, Google sees this power more as a threat than a help to society. Authorizing the search of a single computer network could also allow the search of thousands more connected to the same server. Also, searching a computer that is actually located outside the U.S. could cause geopolitical problems and might break diplomatic agreements that the U.S. has built up over the years.
In defense though, FBI director James Comey asks: “Have we become so mistrustful of government and law enforcement in particular that we are willing to let the bad guys walk away, willing to leave victims in search of justice?”
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