Friday, April 29, 2016

US Supreme Court Expands The Long Arm Jurisdiction Of US Subordinate Courts Regarding Computer Searches And Hacking

In an over ambitious move, the US Supreme Court has expanded the applicability of Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to not only US citizens but also those living in other countries.

When even limiting the applicability of the Rule 41 to entire US jurisdiction is troublematic it is too much to expect that other countries would take it in a friendly manner when their sovereignty is violated. For instance, if a warrant issued by a judge allows the FBI to investigate a matter in China, will China take it in a friendly manner?

Similarly, if the FBI hacks into a computer system located in India, will Indian government accept such an approach? It seems the US Supreme Court was carried away while protecting the interests of law enforcement agencies of US rather than the actual victims. Indian Supreme Court has also committed a mistake in the past regarding limiting the cyber law due diligence in India. We need a stronger cyber law due diligence and not a weaker one.

It is good to hear that Supreme Courts of US and India are trying to adopt technology and accordingly are modifying the laws of US and India. But their actual impact and constitutional effects must also be kept in mind.

The approach of the US Supreme Court would only result in an increased use of state sponsored cyber attacks that is already on rise. Intelligence agencies around the world are asking for legal immunity against cyber deterrent acts. India is also following this path and this approach of US Supreme Court would only complicate the matter further.

Conflict of laws in cyberspace are further going to increase due to this self centered approach of various nations. This is more so when there is no uniformity regarding international legal issues of cyber attacks and cyber security as on date.

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