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.