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Google Privacy United States Your Rights Online

Google: FBI's Plan To Expand Hacking Power a "Monumental" Constitutional Threat 51

schwit1 writes with news about Google's reservations to a Justice Department proposal on warrants for electronic data. "Any change in accessing computer data should go through Congress, the search giant said. The search giant submitted public comments earlier this week opposing a Justice Department proposal that would grant judges more leeway in how they can approve search warrants for electronic data. The push to change an arcane federal rule "raises a number of monumental and highly complex constitutional, legal, and geopolitical concerns that should be left to Congress to decide," wrote Richard Salgado, Google's director for law enforcement and information security. The provision, known as Rule 41 of the federal rules of criminal procedure, generally permits judges to grant search warrants only within the bounds of their judicial district. Last year, the Justice Department petitioned a judicial advisory committee to amend the rule to allow judges to approve warrants outside their jurisdictions or in cases where authorities are unsure where a computer is located. Google, in its comments, blasted the desired rule change as overly vague, saying the proposal could authorize remote searches on the data of millions of Americans simultaneously—particularly those who share a network or router—and cautioned it rested on shaky legal footing."
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Google: FBI's Plan To Expand Hacking Power a "Monumental" Constitutional Threat

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  • Indeed. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Google would like a monopoly on the collection and distribution of information. The NSA/CIA are preferred customers. The FBI have far too much oversight.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Google doesn't give a damn about the privacy of the data of millions of Americans. All they care about is to keep the data to themselves and not share them with the authorities, only because they will lose market share.

  • Hmmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Traitors be Traitin? LoL

  • Two things: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2015 @09:21PM (#49083811) Homepage

    the proposal could authorize remote searches on the data of millions of Americans simultaneouslyâ"particularly those who share a network or routerâ"and cautioned it rested on shaky legal footing

    1) Of course it is
    2) That's the frickin' point

    See, the people advocating unlimited surveillance couldn't possibly be stupid enough to not know this.

    They just don't give a fuck.

    This is "Yarg! We need security by any means, and if we shit on your rights, too fucking bad, because we're the good guys".

    These clowns might actually believe they're "doing this for the greater good" -- but so does every fascist and dictator who decides they will do it anyway and we'll thank them later.

    Unfortunately, since these people have sworn to uphold the Constitution, I think they should be hanged or shot. Because whatever they think they're protecting, they're doing more damage to our liberties than they are solving problems. In fact, they've become the problem.

    Once they get over their illusion they're doing it for our own good, then the fun really begins, and the fascism really goes into effect.

    Law enforcement have basically said "fuck the law, the law is what we say it is". And they feel entitled to do anything they want to. Which means law enforcement is more or less deeming themselves in charge of everything.

    • "Attribute not to malice what can be easily explained by incompetence."

      I know it seems like something that people should easily understand and know, but our society (and in this case beaurocracy) is naturally populated by specialists/savants because of the way we approach and reward work. All some of these people see and do every day involves chasing bad guys, and some of them really can't think outside of their benefits of the change to see the damaging implications. Its kinda like multinationals naming

    • Re:Two things: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Thursday February 19, 2015 @10:13AM (#49086887)

      god help you if you ask them what security they provide.

      First you'll find that the powers you gave them "only to fight terrorism" are being used to drug cases and other petty crime

      Next you'll find that drug cases and other petty crime are only against personal enemies, and done with such dubious methods you cannot be sure of their guilt, and their powers aren't being used to find bad guys, but to frame people.

      What the three letter soup wants is power to frame people and not have the framing questioned, by framing anyone who questions them.

      You see we've been tacitly complicit in giving up our rights to fight "the war on drugs", but instead of stomping out drug use, drug use has soared, and our rights have been abandonded. They have no intention of protecting you from drugs or terrorism, and don't mind the occational terrorist or drug lord from causing a muckety muck to expand their powers.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Woah there, slow down a little. "hanged or shot" ?
      They're malicious sadists wearing the flag as the loincloth they rub all over our shackled faces, not some evil whistleblower warning the world about the murderfucking-frenzy said malicious sadists are performing on some soon-to-have-been-terrorists-all-along civilians that got black-bagged at walmart.

    • You seem to forget that getting the warrant is only the first step in the legal process. Next the actual surveillance (aka hacking) needs to be done and then the evidence needs to be presented in court in public. All of that requires time and energy. This is a heck of a lot better then the warrantless mass surveillance done by the NSA and company

  • Aren't they at least going to see if Memex works before they try their contingency plan? If they've got that little faith in it, then I hope it was cheap to develop.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2015 @10:04PM (#49084019) Journal
      "Parallel Construction"... What good is a cool, powerful, sinister toy if you don't have a cover story that allows you to lie about the origins of evidence that would otherwise be inadmissible?
      • Memex isn't sinister at all. It's a very old idea, and it allows indexing of every possible URL out to some length, in real time. For those who have the resources to run it, that's a pretty nifty device. If they can see every criminal website, then they can obtain warrants for the sites based on their content. At that point, they can seize servers to catch the sites' clients.

        Parallel construction is automatically built into that. While they're building a database of website clients, they have probab
        • I should have thought to type this rather than reply for an addendum. Being able to figure out their strategy with Memex, one might hesitate to post it. We wouldn't want to encourage criminals to try to circumvent it, after all.

          Thing is, you can't. That kind of indexing power can even overcome the character limit I mentioned just by doing different checks every n cycles of the program. It's perfectly scalable too. There's no evading it. If a site exists, they will see it, period. And not only site
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2015 @10:09PM (#49084047)

    Suppose you let judges authorize surveillance where the location cannot be determined. Five things would happen:

    1) FBI would not try to determine the location, because they might find it is an unfriendly location with an unfriendly judge
    2) FBI would shop for jurisdiction. Just as patent trolls all go to Marshall Texas, the troll rubber stamping capital of the world, so the FBI will go to whatever district will rubber stamp their requests.
    3) Fail to get the warrant? There's no cross linkage between districts, judges won't spot they're being asked again for the same warrant, so FBI can simply keep hawking the request around till the get it.
    4) Target will be listed as 'terrorist', actual target device will be router through which millions of peoples data passes, but then why would a judge in Aspen care about people in Newyork. They're not his family and his friends.
    5) The FBI contracts this out to NSA, who accidentally store all the info while processing the warrants in these giant data centers they accidentally built, and accidentally data mine it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2015 @01:06AM (#49084829)

      1) FBI would not try to determine the location, because they might find it is an unfriendly location with an unfriendly judge
      2) FBI would shop for jurisdiction. Just as patent trolls all go to Marshall Texas, the troll rubber stamping capital of the world, so the FBI will go to whatever district will rubber stamp their requests.
      3) Fail to get the warrant? There's no cross linkage between districts, judges won't spot they're being asked again for the same warrant, so FBI can simply keep hawking the request around till the get it.
      4) Target will be listed as 'terrorist', actual target device will be router through which millions of peoples data passes, but then why would a judge in Aspen care about people in Newyork. They're not his family and his friends.
      5) The FBI contracts this out to NSA, who accidentally store all the info while processing the warrants in these giant data centers they accidentally built, and accidentally data mine it

      This, that, those, and the others.

      As the old saying [slashdot.org] goes, "Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're lying. They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible."

      > In its own comments, the Justice Department accused some opponents of the rule change of "misreading the text of the proposal or misunderstanding current law."

      And that's pretty much the dead giveaway. A bunch of non-lawyers can see the loopholes you cite from a mile away, and a bunch of actual lawyers whose day job is finding whatever loopholes the law allows that will strengthen their cases are pretending to be willfully blind. Methinks they doth protest too much.

  • Sorry, the vast majority (98%) is okay with this.

  • When the most privacy insensitive company on the planet is telling you it's a serious privacy issue, that's something you really might want to consider revisiting before proceeding any further.

    Given the US Governments recent track record of pretty much spying on anything worth spying on, it really shows their arrogance and disregard towards anything resembling laws, rules, or even the will of the people it was originally designed to represent.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... authorize remote searches on the data of millions ...

    The ASD (Australia's version of NSA/GCHQ) demanded this power 5 months ago. Plus the authority to plant files on suspects' computers. It's a sad day when one's country beats the USA to fucking-over legal protections for its citizens. This may not be law since I can't find any mention of "National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014" on the Commonwealth law web-site.

  • If a granted warrant is out of the jurisdiction of one appointed legal entity what are the chances that it will be inside the jurisdiction of another. I would say the chances are 100%. So lets say a judge grants such a thing to the FBI, location unknown. They then go off and gather evidence, remotely. Only later when using that evidence to present an international arrest warrant do they expose the location.

    The defence teem would I guess have a field day, presenting the FBI with their own arrest warrant accu

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Thursday February 19, 2015 @10:35AM (#49087093)
    Law enforcement has already reached a point at which many crimes must remain unpunished due to the economy of making arrests. There is already a situation in which only crimes that can generate money for the state are sought out. For example a drunk driver will pay stiff fines, be forced to make bail and often end up with mandatory therapy sessions with a county agency which charges a hefty fee week after week for months or years as well as a probation fee every month and states and counties may get a boost in federal funding for making such arrests. But there are other crimes that simply cost the state money so those arrests are sometimes avoided. But worse yet we have so many things considered crimes that many people are not aware they are committing a crime. These people can be leaned on by law enforcement to provide information or do things that they would not normally do. There are child welfare workers who get a call from the cops concerning a need to bash into a home and ask the child welfare worker to call in an address over a supposed complaint of a child being mistreated at the address. Armed with a bogus warrant the cops can gain sudden entry and search a home. This has gone on for decades. The child welfare workers need cooperation from the cops and are unusually willing to help generate such false warrants.

An authority is a person who can tell you more about something than you really care to know.

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