FBI Wants “Adult Conversation” About Device Encryption


Amid reminders of how the FBI is still unable to access many devices due to encryption, James Comey (Director of the FBI) stated that the organization gathering information in preparation for an “adult conversation” on encryption likely to come next year.

This desire for an “adult conversation” likely stems from an event earlier this year, where the FBI requested that Apple manufacture a backdoor toolkit for encrypted Iphones in order to gain access to the phones of the attackers who committed the San Bernardino shooting. Much to the FBI’s displeasure, Apple denied their requests in the interest of maintaining the integrity of Iphone encryption. While the FBI later gained access with the help of an unidentified third party, the FBI still believes that they should hold some sort of tool to gain access to otherwise inaccessible phones.

Comey stated that “The American people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in private spaces — including houses, cars and electronic devices. But that right is not absolute when law enforcement has probable cause to believe that there’s evidence of a crime in one of those places.”

The FBI seems to be analyzing the overall effect of personal encryption on their operations as well, “We need to understand in the FBI, how is this exactly affecting our work, and then share that with folks” Comey stated on Tuesday.

This “adult discussion” will likely prove to be important, as it could decide the future of encryption backdoors.

-Jon Kinney

Source: AP News