The Spider’s Parlor: Government Malware on the Dark Web

Kaleigh E. Aucoin

Volume 69, Issue 5, 1433-1469

The United States government’s use of what it refers to as “Network Investigative Tools,” presents several constitutional and privacy-related issues. Revelations stemming from the use of these NITsa form of malwarewarrant a difficult discussion on the conflict between public transparency and the level of secrecy required to maintain effective law enforcement. It is especially difficult to focus upon this concern in the context of investigations tackling child pornography, given the unforgiveable nature of crimes against children, and the dire need to apprehend predators. However, the real unease is regarding how online surveillance is conducted, rather than that it is conducted at all. The problem is that unlike certain other forms of technology (for example, phones), there is currently no statutory framework in place to guide law enforcement, the courts, or the public for government hacking. This Note seeks to convey the importance of remaining unblinded by the ends and careful with the means so as not to conflate the significance of the need to capture serious offenders with the justification of ignoring civil liberties.

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