At odds with privacy groups and Google, Justice Dept. seeks rule change on computer access

Associated Press

The Justice Department is at odds with Google and privacy groups over the government's push to make it easier to locate and hack into computers in criminal investigations.

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Federal prosecutors say better tools are needed to track down computer users who hide their locations while committing crimes on the Internet. Civil libertarians fear that the proposal would grant the government expansive new powers to reach into computers across the country.

The proposal would change existing rules of criminal procedure that generally permit judges to approve warrants for property searches in districts where they serve. The government says those rules are outdated in an era when criminals can mask their whereabouts.

The proposal is drawing concern from civil liberties groups, who say it's vague and overly broad.