A modification to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure took effect earlier this morning. The new rule allows investigative agencies to access multiple citizens devices with a single search warrant.
The Justice Department introduced the modification to Rule 41 earlier this year, and explained the new rule is necessary to keep up with evolving technologies and their respective threats. The rule was approved by the Supreme Court, and was to be enacted December 1 (today) unless congress chose to cancel or extend the enactment.
Data privacy lobbyists worked against the modification and viewed the new investigative access as a breach of privacy. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) explained Congress has not had time to study the rule and may not fully understand what the legislation entails.
“While the proposed changes are not necessarily bad or good, they are serious, and they present significant privacy concerns that warrant careful consideration and debate,” Coons said. “It is our responsibility to do our jobs and thoroughly evaluate the merits and ramifications of the proposed changes.”