Federal Judge: PCs Connected to Internet Have No Expectation of Privacy

Insists PC Security Too Lousy to Expect Privacy


In a ruling on one of the cases related to FBI hacking of Internet users, a federal judge for the Eastern District of Virginia insisted that there could be no expectation of privacy for any personal computer that has a connection to the Internet, because computer security is “ineffectual.”

The FBI used single warrants as a pretext for mass hacking of broad numbers of American Internet users, a practice which sparked a flurry of lawsuits. The judge not only upheld the FBI’s broad interpretation of the warrants, but even claims they didn’t need warrants at all to hack any PCs on the Internet, because it was “not objectively reasonable” to think you aren’t going to be hacked by the FBI.

This ruling is starkly different from previous rulings by other courts, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation blasted it as “far outside of the legal notion of privacy.” They urged another court to quickly overturn it, warning that the Justice Department will probably use the ruling to expand their hacking schemes.

The ruling also appears to do significant harm to the concept of “malware” from a legal perspective, as the FBI argued its hacking software wasn’t “technically” malicious, and therefore couldn’t be considered malware.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.