September 14, 2016

OH GOOD: The DoJ is using a boring procedure to secure the right to unleash malware on the internet.

A power-trio — Senator Ron Wyden; security ninja Matt Blaze; and engineer/mathematician/social scientist Susan Landau — have published a joint op-ed in Wired sounding the alarm about the use of an obscure, technical, fantastically boring procedure to radically expand the powers of American law enforcement under cover of dullness.

But the results will be anything but dull. Even with advanced testing and scrutiny, the construction of “cyberweapons” is tricky business, nearly impossible to get right. The FBI’s history in this area does not inspire confidence: one FBI agent testified that he ascertained that a cyberweapon was safe because he tried it on his home PC and couldn’t see anything wrong with it. This is not sufficient testing for technology that could end up infecting hospitals, or cars, or voting machine, or insulin pumps, or nuclear reactors.

A bipartisan Congressional effort to stop this is now underway: the Stop Mass Hacking Act, which will require the DoJ to get Congressional approval before giving itself these sweeping, deadly new powers.

That last sentence would have had the Founders up in arms — literally.

You can help the EFF take nonviolent action here, but Congress has only until December 1 to stop the Justice Department’s dangerous usurpation.

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