James Comey, Director of the FBI, is speaking out again. Issuing another warning on Tuesday about the bureau still not being able to get into encrypted devices.
He says that widespread encryption that is being built into smartphones, is making the area they are in charge of investigating “dark”. The FBI hasn’t changed the story much from its previous complaints against encryption. The battle had generated from the FBI and Apple battle, to Congress deliberating the line between online privacy, and national security.
The DoJ decided not to legislate the situation. In addition, most of the public debate about the FBI and Apple battle since the FBI was able to break into the iPhone of a terrorist without Apple’s help in the end. This year the FBI demanded that Apple weaken the encryption of its products, as well as went after a warrant to force Apple to unlock the San Bernardino shooting. Before the case was over, the FBI, with the help of an unknown third party, unlocked the phone.
Comey’s goal by going public again is to make sure that it is still a known issue.
“The conversation we’ve been trying to have about this has dipped below public consciousness now, and that’s fine. Because what we want to do is collect information this year so that next year we can have an adult conversation in this country,” Comey commented on Tuesday.
He went on to say:
“The American People have a reasonable expectation of privacy, in private areas like the home, car, and electronic devices. But these rights are not absolute when the law has probable cause to believe that there is evidence of a crime. Including your laptop, and cellphone.”
He admitted that it is not the role of the FBI or big tech companies to tell the people how to govern themselves. He also stood by the DoJ’s decision to indict Chinese and Iranian officials for major cyber-attacks in the past two years.
“We want to lock some people up, so that we send a message that it’s not a freebie to kick in the door, metaphorically, of an American company or private citizen and steal what matters to them. And if we can’t lock people up, we want to call them out. We want to name and shame through indictments, o sanctions, or public relation campaigns- who is doing this and exactly what they’re doing,” Comey said.
He concluded with:
“We are working hard to make people at keyboards feel our breath on their necks and try to change that behavior. We’ve got to get to a point where we can reach them as easily as they can reach us and change behavior by that reach out.”