A federal magistrate judge in Houston denied the FBI a special warrant, which would allow the agency to install surveillance software on an alleged fraudster's computer.
The FBI requested the “Rule 41 search and seizure warrant” after an unknown individual attempted to fraudulently wire funds from a Texas bank.
On Monday, Judge Stephen Smith rejected the application saying there was inadequate evidence that the alleged fraudster's computer was in the United States.
The FBI also failed to show that steps to minimize the “over-collection” of data would be taken, the court order said.
The surveillance software that the FBI wanted to install would be capable of searching the computer's hard drive, activating its camera to take photos of the alleged fraudster and capturing the coordinates of the computer's location.