A bailiff pushed Jabar Ali Refaie’s wheelchair into a federal courtroom in Tampa, Florida, on September 20. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and looking weak from not having had the drugs he takes to treat his multiple sclerosis, the 37-year-old Refaie was here for a bond hearing after being indicted on felony charges that allege he sold counterfeit BMW logos and diagnostic software on eBay.
“Talking points” aren’t deliberative documents, interagency memos, or documents containing sensitive personal information [b(5), b(6)]. Neither are they documents that might expose law enforcement sources or investigative techniques [b7(D) and 7(E)].They are exactly what the name says they are: points to be used when discussing these issues in Congressional hearings or during press conferences. They are indicative of the public stances the FBI takes on certain issues. There’s nothing secret about them, or at least there shouldn’t be.
IF LAW ENFORCEMENT was forced to get a warrant to obtain information about a suspect’s whereabouts from the phone providers, it would be “crippling,” according to James Baker, general counsel at the FBI.“I don’t know how we would handle that,” said Baker, speaking on a panel at the American Bar Association’s annual conference on national security law in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. The executive branch would suffer from “a huge amount of uncertainty and confusion while we are doing investigations.”
In 2013, the FBI received permission to hack over 300 specific users of dark web email service TorMail. But now, after the warrants and their applications have finally been unsealed, experts say the agency illegally went further, and hacked perfectly legitimate users of the privacy-focused service.“That is, while the warrant authorized hacking with a scalpel, the FBI delivered their malware to TorMail users with a grenade,” Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told Motherboard in an email.
No one in Congress has voted on this legal update. It means a warrant granted somewhere within the US can be executed on the other side of the country – or the other side of the planet.
The change, approved by the Supreme Court, is in Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Right now, if law enforcement wants to hack a PC, they have to ask a judge for a warrant in the jurisdiction where it is located. With the rule change, they could do this to any computer anywhere in the US or the world.
As a bonus, the change would also allow law enforcement – without a warrant – free rein to hack into computers that have already been hacked. So, for example, if you have a virus infection then law enforcement can go through your files at will.
It’s really sick how some persons of authority can misuse public trust for personal gain, and how many of their colleagues help them hide it
Presuming that the report is correct, it would represent essentially the digital equivalent of a general warrant—which is forbidden by the Fourth Amendment