Attorney Ian Friedman and Law Clerk Brad Wolfe were given the opportunity to contribute a column to the latest edition of Attorney at Law Magazine. Thanks to their experience in the areas of computers and cyber-crime, they were chosen to pen an editorial based on the recent expansion of Rule 41.
The article is primarily based around a policy that went into effect on December 1st, 2016, which essentially gave the government permission to legally hack into an unlimited number of computers when they are given a search warrant for a location. This is an expansion of what was known as Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Rule 41 itself is the guidelines and instructions that govern criminal investigations.
Support for this change came from the FBI as a result of an investigation of one of the largest child pornography forums in the world, a site known as Playpen, back in 2015. After seizing the server, FBI agents launched malware bugs that found more than 1,000 users of the site, who were arrested and charged with sex crimes. However, the defendants in some of the instances were able to have the evidence against them tossed out as illegally obtained. The Supreme Court proposed changes to Rule 41 in April of 2016.
New Government Abilities Under Rule 41
Under these new laws, the United States government is now permitted to remotely access electronic devices, even if they do not know the device’s location, and search multiple computers in different locations as part of a computer crime investigation. The Department of Justice has pointed to this allowing for suspected cybercriminals to be caught and convicted faster and with better evidence, but the support has not been unanimous.
Opponents have since challenged these new powers as “invasive” and “substantive.” Several have even called it a complete undermining of the Fourth Amendment. Even the famous fugitive Edward Snowden tweeted “Without a debate or any new law, the rights of every American – and basic privacy of people around the world – have been narrowed.”
If you or a loved one is facing charges of a computer crime, such as child pornography, wire fraud, or even illegal hacking, you cannot afford to face your prosecution without the assistance of a Cleveland criminal defense lawyer. At Friedman & Nemeck, L.L.C., we are dedicated to the best interests and a positive outcome to your case, and we fight aggressively to protect you and your rights both in and out of the courtroom. Our commitment to excellence in practice and exceptional client service has earned us numerous industry honors, including a perfect 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo and recognition for outstanding service from the Associated Civil Liberties Union.Let us assist you with your charges! Call Friedman & Nemeck, L.L.C. today at 216.928.7700 and schedule your free initial case evaluation.