FBI wants you to lock up data, but allow tech companies to keep the keys

FBI Director James Comey expresses deep concern about the new encryption technologies that Apple had built into the release of iOS 8 and Google will implement with the forthcoming launch of Android L. These new encryption methods are designed to keep data safe and for tech companies to avoid the uncomfortable position of being compelled to hand over private personal data to law enforcement officials. However, Comey says that this move could thwart the fight and prevention of crime.

While many could be sympathetic to Comey's pleas that in certain situations, a greater good could occur if law enforcement officials could compel Apple and Google to decypt your iPhone or Android device, which Comey says, could help in child kidnapping cases.

I like and believe very much that we should have to obtain a warrant from an independent judge to be able to take the content of anyone's closet or their smart phone. The notion that someone would market a closet that could never be opened -- even if it involves a case involving a child kidnapper and a court order -- to me does not make any sense.

However, it becomes a slippery slope as to what alleged crimes would result in a court order compelling Apple, Google, and other tech companies to hand over the keys to decrypt mobile devices. The point of encryption is for users to keep the only set of keys, not for companies to keep a spare.

Comey argues that Apple and Google are marketing their new standards in a way that makes people feel above the law:

Google is marketing their Android the same way: Buy our phone and law-enforcement, even with legal process, can never get access to it.

What do you make of Comey's argument? Is there a hard line on privacy such that it could thwart the solving of crimes? Perhaps, with the NSA scandal, the government had played the role of the boy who cried wolf.

Source: Huffington Post

Chuong H Nguyen