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Last-ditch fight emerges over likely expansion of government’s hacking powers

The Justice Department defended plans to broadly expand the federal government’s computer hacking powers on Monday as critics launched a last-minute attempt to have Congress intervene.

Unless Congress takes action first, law enforcement officials will be allowed starting next month to hack potentially thousands of computers anywhere in the world with a single search warrant thanks to an update effecting Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Rule 41 outlines the government’s ability to issue and execute search warrants, and the looming update will broaden that authority so that judges are able to search and computers regardless of their location. The U.S. Supreme Court approved the changes earlier this year, and they’ll take effect Dec. 1 unless lawmakers decide they want to offer input of their own. – READ MORE