Fight for the Future


URGENT: The FBI, CIA, and other law enforcement agencies get expanded powers to hack into your computer and phone on Thursday, December 1. Some senators are pushing legislation to stop them, but they need more senators to join them immediately.

Posted 10:20 EST on November 29, 2016

Beginning at midnight on Thursday, December 1, 2016, anyone who uses a VPN, Tor browser, or other privacy protection tools can more easily get hacked by the government.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are scheduled to get expanded powers to remotely access and search computers, phones, and storage devices in cases where people suspected of being “related” to a crime  use technological means to conceal their location.

That is, unless Congress takes action to stop these hacking powers from taking effect.

Under current criminal procedure rules, if the FBI or any other agency wants to hack into your computer, they need to get a warrant from a federal judge located within your federal judicial district. Under a new amendment to the rule that takes effect on Thursday, if you use encryption, disable location tracking, or have been a botnet victim, the FBI can get a warrant to hack you from any of the more than 500 federal magistrate judges around the country.

So, if the FBI wants to hack you but they don’t have evidence that passes muster with your local federal judge, they will be able to take their case to a more lenient (or more naïve) judge located anywhere in the country.

Another clause in the rule change would let any federal judge authorize hacking operations for multiple devices in cases involving the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. That means if you are a victim of a botnet or had your computer infected by some malware, the government could remotely hack you under a mass hacking warrant issued by any federal judge.

The rule change was never voted on—or even debated—by Congress. It comes from the Judicial Conference, the national policy-making body for the federal courts, which earlier in the year agreed to a FBI proposal to amend Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (FRCrmP) so they could get warrants to hack multiple computers in different districts. The Judicial Conference has authority to make technical changes to the rules governing criminal proceedings, but this proposal goes way beyond mere technicalities and should be subject to public and legislative debate.  

We don’t have much time, but we can still stop the government from getting these new mass hacking powers. Dial 1-919-FREEDOM or use this page to get connected with your senators.

A bipartisan group of senators and representatives is pushing legislation to block the Judicial Conference’s amendment or at least delay it for a few months so Congress can hold a debate. They will be bringing their bills to the floor for unanimous consent consideration on Tuesday and Wednesday. If no senators object, the bills could pass.

While Congress is unlikely to approve the bill to fully block the rule change (the so-called “Stop Mass Hacking Act”) they could possibly be convinced to pass a bill from Senator Chris Coons to delay it until July 1, 2017.

According to strategists on the Hill, the best approach at this late stage is to get the Senate to pass the bill first and then use that as pressure to urge the House to follow suit – ideally before the rule change takes effect on Thursday, but they could also pass it at a later date and have the rule change repealed.

The best thing you can do to stop the hacking rule is to call your senators and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to ask them to delay the rule change. Dial 1-919-FREEDOM or use this page to get connected with your senators.

After you call your senators, make an extra call to Majority Leader McConnell and urge him to agree to unanimous consent on delaying the Rule 41 change. You can reach him at (202) 224-2541.

Here’s what you should say when you call your senators:

“I am a constituent from [town or city] and I am calling to urge the Senator to agree to unanimous consent on legislation to delay the Rule 41 changes on warrant requirements for government hacking of people’s computers. This rule change could have a big impact on the privacy of all Americans and it should be debated by Congress before going into effect.”

You can find your senators’ numbers below.

Alabama

Jeff Sessions  (202) 224-4124

Richard Shelby  (202) 224-5744

Alaska

Lisa Murkowski  (202) 224-6665

Daniel Sullivan  (202) 224-3004

Arizona

Jeff Flake  (202) 224-4521

John McCain  (202) 224-2235

Arkansas

John Boozman  (202) 224-4843

Tom Cotton  (202) 224-2353

California

Barbara Boxer  (202) 224-3553

Dianne Feinstein  (202) 224-3841

Colorado

Michael Bennet  (202) 224-5852

Cory Gardner  (202) 224-5941

Connecticut

Richard Blumenthal  (202) 224-2823

Chris Murphy  (202) 224-4041

Delaware

Tom Carper  (202) 224-2441

Chris Coons  (202) 224-5042

Florida

Bill Nelson  (202) 224-5274

Marco Rubio  (202) 224-3041

Georgia

Johnny Isakson  (202) 224-3643

David Perdue  (202) 224-3521

Hawaii

Mazie Hirono  (202) 224-6361

Brian Schatz  (202) 224-3934

Idaho

Mike Crapo  (202) 224-6142

James Risch  (202) 224-2752

Illinois

Dick Durbin  (202) 224-2152

Mark Kirk  (202) 224-2854

Indiana

Daniel Coats  (202) 224-5623

Joe Donnelly  (202) 224-4814

Iowa

Joni Ernst  (202) 224-3254

Chuck Grassley  (202) 224-3744

Kansas

Jerry Moran  (202) 224-6521

Pat Roberts  (202) 224-4774

Kentucky

Mitch McConnell  (202) 224-2541

Rand Paul  (202) 224-4343

Louisiana

Bill Cassidy  (202) 224-5824

David Vitter  (202) 224-4623

Maine

Susan Collins  (202) 224-2523

Angus King  (202) 224-5344

Maryland

Ben Cardin  (202) 224-4524

Barbara Mikulski  (202) 224-4654

Massachusetts

Elizabeth Warren  (202) 224-4543

Ed Markey  (202) 224-2742

Michigan

Gary Peters  (202) 224-6221

Debbie Stabenow  (202) 224-4822

Minnesota

Al Franken  (202) 224-5641

Amy Klobuchar  (202) 224-3244

Mississippi

Roger Wicker  (202) 224-6253

Thad Cochran  (202) 224-5054

Missouri

Roy Blunt  (202) 224-5721

Claire McCaskill  (202) 224-6154

Montana

Steve Daines  (202) 224-2651

Jon Tester  (202) 224-2644

Nebraska

Deb Fischer  (202) 224-6551

Ben Sasse  (202) 224-4224

Nevada

Harry Reid  (202) 224-3542

Dean Heller  (202) 224-6244

New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte  (202) 224-3324

Jean Shaheen  (202) 224-2841

New Jersey

Cory Booker  (202) 224-3224

Robert Menendez  (202) 224-4744

New Mexico

Martin Heinrich  (202) 224-5521

Tom Udall  (202) 224-6621

New York

Kirsten Gillibrand  (202) 224-4451

Chuck Schumer  (202) 224-6542

North Carolina

Thom Tillis  (202) 224-6342

Richard Burr  (202) 224-3154

North Dakota

Heidi Heitkamp  (202) 224-2043

John Hoeven  (202) 224-2551

Ohio

Sherrod Brown  (202) 224-2315

Rob Portman  (202) 224-3353

Oklahoma

Jim Inhofe  (202) 224-4721

James Lankford  (202) 224-5754

Oregon

Jeff Merkley  (202) 224-3753

Ron Wyden  (202) 224-5244

Pennsylvania

Bob Casey  (202) 224-6324

Pat Toomey  (202) 224-4254

Rhode Island

Jack Reed  (202) 224-4642

Sheldon Whitehouse  (202) 224-2921

South Carolina

Lindsey Graham  (202) 224-5972

Tim Scott  (202) 224-6121

South Dakota

Mike Rounds  (202) 224-5842

John Thune  (202) 224-2321

Tennessee

Lamar Alexander  (202) 224-4944

Bob Corker  (202) 224-3344

Texas

John Cornyn  (202) 224-2934

Ted Cruz  (202) 224-5922

Utah

Orrin Hatch  (202) 224-5251

Mike Lee  (202) 224-5444

Vermont

Pat Leahy  (202) 224-4242

Bernie Sanders  (202) 224-5141

Virginia

Tim Kaine  (202) 224-4024

Mark Warner  (202) 224-2023

Washington

Maria Cantwell  (202) 224-3441

Patty Murray (202) 224-2621

West Virginia

Shelley Moore Capito  (202) 224-6472

Joe Manchin  (202) 224-3954

Wisconsin

Tammy Baldwin  (202) 224-5653

Ron Johnson  (202) 224-5323

Wyoming

John Barrasso  (202) 224-6441

Mike Enzi  (202) 224-3424


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