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Google,EFF opposing access to data by law enforcement agencies

In their letter, Google, EFF, Demand Progress, FightForTheFuture, TOR, VPN providers Private Internet Access, Golden Frog and Hide My Ass, p...

In their letter, Google, EFF, Demand Progress, FightForTheFuture, TOR, VPN providers Private Internet Access, Golden Frog and Hide My Ass, plus many others, urge Congress to “consider and debate” the implications of the new rule.

“The changes to Rule 41 give federal magistrate judges across the United States new authority to issue warrants for hacking and surveillance in cases where a computer’s location is unknown,” the letter reads.

“This would invite law enforcement to seek warrants authorizing them to hack thousands of computers at once — which it is hard to imagine would not be in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment.”

Noting that the changes would allow for the hacking of innocent computer users, the coalition describes the proposal as dangerously broad.

“It fails to provide appropriate guidelines for safeguarding privacy and security, and it circumvents the legislative process that would provide Congress and the public the critically necessary opportunity to evaluate these issues,” they continue.

But perhaps most importantly, the proposed changes will undermine the security of those who need it most – those who have taken legitimate steps to protect their privacy with anonymizing tools such as VPNs and TOR.

“There are countless reasons people may want to use technology to shield their privacy. From journalists communicating with sources to victims of domestic violence seeking information on legal services, people worldwide depend on privacy tools for privacy, personal safety, and data security,” the letter reads.

“Many businesses even require their employees to use virtual private networks for security, especially during travel. Such tools should be actively promoted as a way to safeguard privacy, not discouraged.”

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