But, the FBI’s malware actually grabbed more than just suspects’ IP addresses. It also beamed their username and some other system information to the FBI; information that is undoubtedly within a user’s computer—no two ways about it.
This doesn’t phase the judge either, who writes that the defendant “has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his computer,” in part because the malware collected a relatively limited amount of details.
“The NIT only obtained identifying information; it did not cross the line between collecting addressing information and gathering the contents of any suspect’s computer,” he writes.
Sounds like this judge was stretching the limits of interpretation solely for the sake of being able to convict someone evil. But this is how the slope gets slippery.
Unfortunately, expect this to continue to happen moving into the future, and ultimately become the new norm:
Rumold from EFF added that “the decision underscores a broader trend in these cases: courts across the country, faced with unfamiliar technology and unsympathetic defendants, are issuing decisions that threaten everyone’s rights.”