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A U.S. proposal to expand the U.S. Justice Department’s ability to hack into computers during criminal investigations is furthering tension in the debate over how to balance privacy rights with the need to keep the country safe.
A committee of judges that sets national policy governing criminal investigations will try to sort through it all. It’s weighing a proposal made public yesterday that would give federal agents greater leeway to secretly access suspected criminals’ computers in bunches, not simply one at a time.
The underlying goal is to take rules written for searching property and modernize them for the Internet age. The proposal arrives at a precipitous time for a government still managing backlash to electronic spying by the National Security Agency that was exposed last year by contractor Edward Snowden.