Day of Action: Stop the Changes to Rule 41
Today and tomorrow, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is partnering with the Tor Project and a broad coalition of groups for a Worldwide Day of Action protesting changes to Rule 41 of the US Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. These changes will allow federal magistrate judges to grant search warrants to the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to legally hack into computing devices that use Tor or a VPN—-wherever the devices are--starting on December 1, 2016. EFF has organized a coalition of organizations and companies—from Fight for the Future to PayPal—to oppose these rules—but this is an uphill climb, and we need your help.
The broad search warrants allowable under these new rules will apply to people using Tor in any country—even if they are journalists, members of a legislature, or human rights activists. They will allow the FBI to hack into a person’s computer or phone remotely and search through and remove their data.
There are already examples of the FBI using one warrant to gain access to thousands of computers, and US Senator Ron Wyden has said that "Under the proposed rules, the government would now be able to obtain a single warrant to access and search thousands or millions of computers at once."
This pattern of abuse will only be exacerbated by more judges issuing these hacking warrants. The warrants must still be part of a criminal investigation and issued by a judge, but we're deeply concerned about the dramatic rise in government hacking this rule change is likely to cause.
The purpose of tomorrow’s Worldwide Day of Action is to educate people and mobilize them to act--either by signing a petition or emailing US Congress (depending on where they live). Then, members of US Congress will use this public pressure to try to pass the “Stop Mass Hacking Act” (#SMHAct), draft legislation that would block these rule changes.
Senator Wyden (D-OR) and a bipartisan group of members of Congress
are sponsoring this bill. They are deeply troubled that such sweeping infringement on personal privacy is happening through a seemingly trivial rule change.
Already, many Tor users can view the campaign banner on the Tor website and click through to sign the petition or contact US Congress. A special campaign website (NoGlobalWarrants.org) will launch starting at about 9:30 am UTC Tuesday. If the banner isn’t working for you, go directly to NoGlobalWarrants.org after that time.
Please sign the petition or contact Congress, and then tweet and retweet about this situation--all day if you can. Email your lists. Tell your friends. Tweet photos of yourself (or your cat) with a handwritten sign.
Do whatever you think will help get people to act.
I think trends are ebbing the tides of legal change. The strongest solution would be to focus on the integrity of Tor browser. Capitol hill does not use Tor or even understand encryption. They have no skin on the side of web anonymity. Drive your funds to the research and developement cause. This should be the underlying screaming focus.
> Capitol hill [US Congress] does not use Tor or even understand encryption. They have no skin on the side of web anonymity.
This is not quite right. Some Senators (e.g Ron Wyden) certainly do "get it". And many staffers are very aware that USIC, FBI, and US military operatives are spying on them (not to mention foreign intelligence services). I'd love it if more of them were more aware of the astonishing scope and variety of the spyware employed to target high profile employees such as US Congressional staffers, but it's certainly not the case that all of them are entirely ignorant of what is going on.
Further, leaks and other evidence strongly support the view that our enemies actually worry quite a lot about possible future successes in the political/legal arena by advocacy groups such as ACLU and EFF.
Just think about this: early in the history of FBI, ACLU cofounder Roger Baldwin came very very close to eliminating the agency (then called Bureau of Investigation) entirely. Unfortunately he decided that then Acting Director J. Edgar Hoover seemed like an earnest young man determined to clean up corruption scandals, who had nothing to do with the Palmer raids. In fact, Hoover had personally engineered the Palmer raids. He did clean up the corruption, but he also did everything possible to keep FBI focused on harassing "radicals" and other domestic dissidents. Hoover headed FBI for almost another five decades, and while FBI has had many other Directors since, it continues to fit the mold which Hoover created.
The good news is that ACLU has long since gotten wise to FBI's deceits. And while it is true that most in the US Congress continue to tell Comey "Lie to us!", a growing number of members are becoming more and more concerned about FBI's many, many, many abuses. Some are even starting to think that perhaps applying some "metrics" to FBI itself might not be a bad idea, in an election year. Nothing could terrify FBI more than being subject to some actual fiscal oversight.
Tor Project needs to do a bit of everything. Code. Code audits. R&D. Political engagement. Media engagement. Most of all, Tor Project needs to change the funding model;