The changes introduced to the Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure by the United States Department of Justice came into effect on Thursday, after an effort to block the changes failed on Wednesday.
The change grants the FBI much greater powers to hack into multiple computers within the country, and perhaps anywhere in the world, with just a single warrant authorized by any US judge (even magistrate judges). Usually, magistrate judges only issue warrants for cases within their jurisdiction.
That's the same the FBI did in its 2015 investigation into child pornography site Playpen, in which the agency hacked into some 8,700 computers across 120 different countries.
The Supreme Court approved the changes to Rule 41 in April, allowing any U.S. judge to issue search warrants that give the FBI and law enforcement agencies authority to remotely hack computers in any jurisdiction, or even outside the United States.
Democratic Senator Ron Wyden attempted three times to block changes to Rule 41 that potentially risks people using Tor, a VPN, or some other anonymizing software to hide their whereabouts, but the efforts were blocked by Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas.
The rule change should take effect on 1st December, today, barring surprises.
Rule 41 — FBI Gets Expanded Power to Hack any Computer in the World