Expanded Federal Remote Computer Search Changes are Now the Law

Carolyn Casey

Dec 01 2016

Time is up. Congress failed to block or delay changes to Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure before Dec. 1, 2016. So today, federal judges can issue warrants for remote searches of computers outside their jurisdiction related to investigating suspects whose identities are concealed through anonymization, such as in child pornography websites. The same thing goes for warrants in investigations of bots that have taken over networks of computers, as discussed in our earlier blog. 

Several U.S. senators attempted to delay the new law in the last few weeks based on privacy concerns. But they were unable to muster support. A U.S. Assistant Attorney General put forth arguments in a recent blog as to why the changes were needed in today’s cybercrime age. The Department of Justice has fought over the last few years to modernize criminal laws after a string of cases invalidated evidence in child pornography.

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