President Obama’s implication that the government should never have an issue accessing a person’s data comes an even scarier viewpoint: being the victim of a search warrant just because you take steps to enhance your privacy.
As it happens, that could become the reality if the FBI gets its way. While it’s no secret that government agencies spy on us as if we’re all guilty of threatening national security, the Fourth Amendment has a number of protections in place that can prevent us from prosecution. So, the FBI has decided to go after a specific rule to help get rid of that roadblock.
That rule is called Federal Rule 41(b) and the change would result in law enforcement being able to search our data without hindrance (even if it means coming to our house to do so) if the user has gone out of their way to protect themselves. Examples of this include running all of your transmissions through the Tor network, or even a simple VPN (virtual private network), like OpenVPN.
Clearly, there’s a lot wrong with this prospect. To me, wanting to keep your personal life private is a human right and it certainly doesn’t translate into you being guilty of something. There’s also the problem with the fact that some people need to use tools like Tor and VPN in order to do business. While the government might say that business VPNs would be left alone, that’s not really how this works. If the FBI were granted free access to search our data just because it runs through a VPN, it’d be running bots to do it all automatically.
While the FBI would love to override a core part of the Fourth Amendment so that it can fish through our data much more easily, it doesn’t mean that it will actually happen. Stay safe out there!
(Image Source: iCLIPART)