Taking the lead in opposing U.S. law enforcement agencies’ tightening control over the digital realm , Google has reportedly opposed an “obscure committee measure” that would give the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) more warrant power to seek the locations of servers involved in illegal activity.
The measure did not attract much attention when it was introduced to the Department of Justice last year until Google put it up on the front page of the company’s public policy blog and referred to it as “a small rule change that could give the U.S. government sweeping new warrant power,” reported The Verge.
It is hard for law enforcement agencies to track down the original location of a server without a warrant. However, in order to get a warrant, officials need to know the jurisdiction the criminal is operating out of. The new amendment would however, give the FBI the power to get a warrant for a remote access search regardless of the location, if the data in question had been “concealed through technological means” or comprised a larger computer fraud investigation.
The amendment, which would be a powerful new legal tool, has raised Google’s concerns on privacy grounds. The firm said that the amendment raise several “monumental and highly complex constitutional, legal, and geopolitical concerns.” It further argued that if the government really needs the law then it should pass a law Congress, rather than relying on the Department of Justice to change the procedures in a smaller committee.
Google was the only tech company to have raised its voice on the issue, although privacy groups like the ACLU, EPIC and Center for Democracy and Technology offered similar analysis.