A group of civil liberties groups and technology companies wrote to US Congressional leaders today to oppose the proposed changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

The change to the rule would grant federal magistrate judges broad authority to issue warrants for hacking and surveillance in cases where a computer’s location is unknown.  The change would permit law enforcement to seek warrants authorizing them to hack thousands of personal computers at once.  The rule change also permits courts to issue warrants that allow hacking into the personal computers of innocent victims of botnet attacks.

The coalition expressed concern because this change violates of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, which prevents unreasonable search and seizures and which requires warrants to be supported by probable cause.  Computer security experts have also warned that the increased government hacking will have harmful effects on computer and network security and negatively impact innocent users.

IP Justice was among the 50 public interest organizations, privacy tool providers, and Internet companies who sent the coalition letter to Congress.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation organized the Rule 41 Campaign, which calls for a day of action on 21 June 2016 to urge Americans to contact their Congressional representatives and speak out against the increased government hacking.  Read the coalition letter here and take action today.