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Senate Denies the Chance to Stop the Changes to Rule 41

Yesterday Senator Ron Wyden asked the Senate to approve his Stopping Mass Hacking Act. The Act would temporarily block the expansion of the government’s hacking authority. Members of the Senate objected to the Senator’s motion. If passed, the amendments to Rule 41 would allow the government to hack numerous computers all over the world, with a single warrant.

CCIA President and CEO Ed Black had this to say:

We are deeply concerned that the Senate has not yet seen fit to halt the expansion the government’s hacking powers absent a wider public debate. These activities need more oversight, not less. Empowering the government to use a single warrant to hack multiple computers in unknown locations, including computers overseas, has far-reaching consequences for US citizens, for citizens around the world and for any country that supports democracy and the rule of law.

Black also expressed the Computer & Communications Industry Association’s disappointment that the Senate did not take Wyden’s offer to block the expansion:

We are disappointed that Congress has failed to use this opportunity Senator Wyden offered to block this dangerous expansion and allow for more robust examination of its consequences. The world’s greatest deliberative body must not waive its ability to deliberate this issue which poses a threat to our constitutionally protected rights and freedoms. We urge Congress to schedule a hearing on Senator Wyden’s legislation this month.

Black finished showing his disappointment by stating:

Granting government such significant new authorities merit careful consideration by Congress. These powers will raise international tensions, concerns over fundamental rights, and questions of technological feasibility that ought to be addressed transparently before being granted. Sadly, the rule changes are now scheduled to simply take effect by default just weeks after the Presidential election.

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