Above is a video of FBI Director, James Comey, speaking at a recent Brookings event. Mr Comey was nominated for the position by President Obama and confirmed in Senate (September 2013) with a huge majority of ninety three votes to a single one, and exclaims to the audience that he has the “best job in the world.”
Mr Comey outlines, or more accurately, argues why the Government in its fight against crime and terror requires a level playing field as technical developments surpass Law Enforcement Agencies ability to stay ahead, let alone keep up with the digital communication landscape.
While using emotive case studies of how the utilization of ‘content’ on digital devices enable Law Enforcement to resolve heinous crimes, Mr Comey balances this point by giving an example of how ‘content’ on a digital device was used to correct a wrongful conviction. Unfortunately, Mr Comey paints a picture of “good guys’ and “bad guys”, the latter which use encryption as a tool for nefarious activity, which could be a signal of his frustration and impatience.
Where Mr Comey wishes to engage, his dialogue only alienates and is a distraction from the ever increasing over reach as Governments across the globe attempt to grab the bull by the horns, but get a handful of sawdust.
Other notable points of dialogue are listed below:
“Criminals and terrorists would like nothing more than for us to miss out,”
“Encryption threatens to lead us all to a very, very dark place.”
Why not to use cloud technology…
“And if the bad guys don’t back up their phones routinely, or if they opt out of uploading to the cloud, the data will only be found on the encrypted devices themselves. And it is people most worried about what’s on the phone who will be most likely to avoid the cloud and to make sure that law enforcement cannot access incriminating data.”
“If a suspected criminal is in his car, and he switches from cellular coverage to Wi-Fi, we may be out of luck. If he switches from one app to another, or from cellular voice service to a voice or messaging app, we may lose him.”
“I’m hoping we can now start a dialogue with Congress on updating it,”
“Uploading to the cloud doesn’t include all the stored data on the bad guy’s phone,”
“It’s the people who are most worried what’s on the device who will be most likely to avoid the cloud.”
“Where we may get is to a place where the US, through its Congress, says, ‘You know what, we need to force this on American companies,’ and maybe they’ll take a hit. Someone in some other country will say, ‘Ah, we sell a phone that even with lawful authority people can’t get into.’ But that we as a society are willing to have American companies take that hit. That’s why we have to have this conversation.”
FBI Director James Comey gave a speech Thursday about how cell-phone encryption could lead law enforcement to a “very dark place” where it “misses out” on crucial evidence to nail criminals. To make his case, he cited four real-life examples — examples that would be laughable if they weren’t so tragic.
In the three cases The Intercept was able to examine, cell-phone evidence had nothing to do with the identification or capture of the culprits, and encryption would not remotely have been a factor.
In the most dramatic case that Comey invoked — the death of a 2-year-old Los Angeles girl — not only was cellphone data a non-issue, but records show the girl’s death could actually have been avoided had government agencies involved in overseeing her and her parents acted on the extensive record they already had before them.
In another case, of a Lousiana sex offender who enticed and then killed a 12-year-old boy, the big break had nothing to do with a phone: The murderer left behind his keys and a trail of muddy footprints, and was stopped nearby after his car ran out of gas.
And in the case of a Sacramento hit-and-run that killed a man and his girlfriend’s four dogs, the driver was arrested in a traffic stop because his car was smashed up, and immediately confessed to involvement in the incident.