In late September, both the United States Attorney General and Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations raised concerns regarding some facet of Apple’s iPhone encryption of data. Now, the FBI’s Director is once again voicing his opinion on the matter.
In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, FBI Director James Comey raised many of the same concerns he had voiced in late September, saying that he believes the use of unbreakable encryption of user data has “gone too far,” and that these capabilities set the users “beyond the law.” Comey’s concern stems from the fact that, even with a court order, the data secured on a new smartphone, thanks to advanced data encryption, it remains inaccessible by law enforcement.
““The notion that we would market devices that would allow someone to place themselves beyond the law troubles me a lot. As a country, I don’t know why we would want to put people beyond the law. That is, sell cars with trunks that couldn’t ever be opened by law enforcement with a court order, or sell an apartment that could never be entered even by law enforcement. Would you want to live in that neighborhood?“
Comey is still very concerned with the encryption levels on these devices, but his latest interview suggests that he’s going beyond just having issues with Apple’s marketing of their new encryption process (even though this is still a very big issue by itself), and is focusing more on the encryption itself, and the lack of options for government and law enforcement agencies when certain situations arise.
Comey did add that he believes there needs to be restrictions, oversight and review for law enforcement, especially when it relates to retrieving data or information from individuals. More to the point, Comey added that the FBI does not do any type of electronic surveillance unless it has been approved with a court order. He adds that it is an “extremely burdensome process,” but that he likes it that way.
How do you feel about Comey’s comments, and Apple’s new encryption?