Federal Judge Rules Government Hacking Is Constitutional Without Warrant

In June 2016, a Federal Judge ruled Government hacking is Constitutional, after it had been discovered that the FBI had utilized malware on a private computer to obtain specific I.P. addresses of individuals accessing a particular website. It is worth noting at this point in the discussion that the use of the malware was done after the FBI obtained a search warrant for such use. The website in question hosted a voluminous library of abusive and explicitly sexual material of minors. The type of malware that was used is known as a network investigation technique, or more commonly referred to as NIT. Once the FBI obtained specific information using the malware they then went and sought out a subpoena for personal information on the individuals I.P. addresses they had obtained from the use of the malware. The subpoena was sent to Time Warner Inc., which is how they obtained specific information on the individual, such as his name, address, and other personal information on file with Time Warner.

After the FBI obtained the personal information about the individual in question from Time Warner, they then went and sought a second search warrant. But this time, the warrant was issued for the search of the individual’s home and computers. The issue before the court, originally dealt with whether the second warrant issued was overly broad or vague, meaning the place to be searched was not described with enough specificity as required by law. The court determined that the second search warrant was appropriately drafted, but it also spoke to the legitimacy of the initial search warrant. The court explained that Government hacking is Constitutional is founded and legal because of the lack of expected privacy involving the use of a computer on the internet.

Essentially, the court held that an individual using his computer at home, who may even be attempting to block people from reading this I.P. Address does not have an expectation of privacy in what they are viewing or searching on the web. By making this statement and analyzing the use of the malware to obtain an I.P. Address the court held that a warrant in such a situation was not needed or required. This means that if the FBI wanted to they would have, without a warrant, still used the malware to obtain the information they did.

This ruling, and others like it, is a showing that our privacy rights are continually being eroded due to the advancement of technology. This issue with technological advancement and the lack of privacy rights has been an issue for decades, and it seems to be getting worse now that Government hacking is Constitutional and does not require a warrant prior to its deployment. So in the end, because Government hacking is Constitutional, Police officers and the like can now technically use software that will be able to obtain data about you and your private life without the need for a warrant. Not every court agrees with this analysis, which makes the issue more problematic when dealing with criminal charges. In the end, never rely on this website or any information on the internet when wanting, attempting or contemplating representing yourself in any court within Michigan or the United States. Always obtain or seek out competent counsel to assist you with any legal issue or question.

About Josh Jones

Josh Jones is an experienced and professional Michigan Criminal Defense attorney presenting Metro Detroit, Genesee County, Livingston County, Lapeer County, and others throughout the State of Michigan. He is available 7-days a week and handles all felonies, misdemeanors, probation violations, traffic tickets, and drivers license restoration. Josh is only a phone call away and is here to help when you are involved with the criminal justice system.