Digital Trend 5 – Tor Browser and You

According to this blog, the Supreme Court recently instated a rule that gives judges the ability to issue search warrants, with the probable cause being that the person in questions computer was using the Tor browser. However, this is slightly over dramatic and incorrect. Firstly, what is the Tor browser anyways? Well Tor is simply a web browser that you can use to make yourself and your activities on the internet anonymous. This has some very obvious benefits for the average man, such as protecting your privacy for network surveillance and traffic analysis. However, this also enables users to perform illegal activities on Tor without the authorities being able to trace their IP addresses to their location. It should be noted, however, that the majority of Tor users do not preform any illegal activities, and Facebook has even stated that 1 million Tor users only use it for social media.

What this article suggests however, is that by using Tor, you are subject to be warranted and searched, which is essentially the digital equivalent of having your house searched for having your curtains drawn. However, this is alarmist and incorrect. What it really means is that they don’t have to know where you are and apply for the warrant in that jurisdiction. They are still held to the same legal standards to get the warrant in the first place.

I think the rule change is unwarranted, and expands the scope of Federal power unnecessarily, but it does not eliminate the probable cause/warrant requirement, merely states that if probable cause exists to search a device any judge presiding over a location where a crime was supposedly committed with the aid of that device can issue a search warrant for such device, even if it’s location is hidden by technology (Tor). Compared to as it stands now, the proper venue to seek a search warrant is in the location of the property to be seized. Gets hard to do when the location is hidden.

3 comments on “Digital Trend 5 – Tor Browser and You”

  1. Tom Reply

    You are very wrong. I don’t think you understand the new law at all. The blog says that they are able to search a computer even if they do not know where it is, I looked into this new law, and the blog has the right of it.

    • sgc4eq Reply

      Look Tom, I might be wrong. I admit that, but when I did the research on this I saw mostly knee-jerk reaction like the article. Even the title is cick-bait. However, I also read a decent amount of people saying that the new law is just a way to get around issuing judges not being sure if something was in their district and thus not giving a warrant. Since I had to choose a side of the fence to fall on, I chose the side that sounded more reasonable to me.

      • Tom Reply

        Fair enough, but there is a fine line between click bait, and just cutting through the BS and calling it like it is. Honestly, Im not sure where I stand yet, but I do feel that today everyone is afraid to look “outside the norm” or be labeled, god forbid, a “conspiracy theorist,” but everything I am seeing is showing me that the actual Truth, is outside what we have traditionally considered “normal.” I skimmed through the site and it does seem fairly legit, some click bait, but seems the nature of the beast today. I do appreciate your honest response though.

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