02.17.17

Daines, Tester Work to Protect Montanans’ Right to Privacy

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester today introduced the Stopping Mass Hacking (SMH) Act to protect millions of law-abiding Americans from government hacking.

The Stopping Mass Hacking (SMH) Act is a bipartisan effort that reverses recently implemented changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The changes allow the government to get a single warrant to hack an unlimited number of Americans’ computers if their computers have been affected by criminals, with only “reasonable efforts” required to notify individuals if their computers have been searched.  

“Unlimited power for unlimited hacking puts our civil liberties at risk and jeopardizes our Fourth Amendment rights,” Daines stated. “This rule change expands the hacking power of the federal government – allowing the search of potentially millions of Americans’ devices with one single warrant and it must be stopped.” 

“We must rein in the government’s ability to snoop on law-abiding Montanans,” Tester said. “Our civil liberties are at risk when we give blanket authority to search personal computers.  That’s why this legislation is so important; we cannot stand by while our right to privacy is at risk.”

The bill is also sponsored by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Mike Lee (R-UT). 

At the request of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Judicial Conference recommended the administrative changes to Rule 41, which were approved by the Supreme Court and took effect on December 1, 2016 without a Congressional hearing.

The amendments to Rule 41 make it easier for DOJ to obtain warrants for remote electronic searches. The amendments allow a single judge to issue a single warrant authorizing the government hacking of an untold number of devices located anywhere in the world.

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