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Judges Propose Changes To Warrant Requirements For TOR/Encryption

Last year at the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States, Judges proposed changes to warrant requirements in the United States, specifically as it relates to concealment of online activity.

a magistrate judge with authority in any district where activities related to a crime may have occurred has authority to issue a warrant to use remote access to search electronic storage media and to seize or copy electronically stored information located within or outside that district if:
(A) the district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means; or
(B) in an investigation of a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5), the media are protected computers that have been damaged without authorization and are located in five or more districts. (p.338-339)

Computer plug in

CC Licensed via photosteve101

Essentially this allows a judge to issue a warrant where a crime is committed rather than where the servers (evidence) are located. If you’re using TOR or some other form of encryption or concealment to hide your server/data location, this allows a judge not have to wait on the (perhaps impossible) task of finding the server’s location.

Another proposal would allow electronic service of a warrant and allow remote access to servers/data location:

For a warrant to use remote access to search electronic storage media and seize or copy electronically stored information, the officer must make reasonable efforts to serve a copy of the warrant on the person whose property was searched or whose information was seized or copied. Service may be accomplished by any means, including electronic means, reasonably calculated to reach that person. (p.340)

Which is a pretty radical change if you think about it. Open up your email and there could be a warrant in your inbox.

Comments on these proposals are due by February 17, 2015. Details on how to do so are here.

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