FBI Director Comey calls 'emotion' surrounding Apple case unproductive, says encryption needs legis

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2016
Two weeks after the Federal Bureau of Investigation withdrew its legal action against Apple, agency director James Comey on Tuesday said the difficulty of squaring national security policies with consumer privacy rights was the most onerous of his government career.




In February, a federal judge ordered Apple to comply with FBI requests for assistance in accessing an iPhone linked to last year's San Bernardino shootings. The company resisted, saying that doing so would leave millions of similar devices vulnerable to attack, a stance that sparked debate over government rights to digital data access.

Speaking today at Catholic University's Columbus School of Law, Comey opened up about the FBI's brief -- but intense -- court battle with the world's largest tech company, reports USA Today.

"I'm glad the litigation is gone," Comey said, adding that the "emotion around that issue was not productive." He later said, "Apple is not a demon; I hope people don't perceive the FBI as a demon."

In its case against Apple, the FBI sought access to an iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino terror suspect Syed Rizwan Farook under the All Writs Act, a judicial instrument that grants judges the power to issue orders when all other tools are exhausted. The target device was protected by iOS encryption protocols, meaning Apple would have been forced to invent a software bypass, or exploit, to comply with government requests.

As can be expected, Apple mounted a comprehensive -- and very public -- rebuttal to the strong-arm tactics, arguing the AWA order amounted to government overreach that violated the company's First Amendment rights. DOJ officials and federal prosecutors, perhaps unwisely, engaged Apple in what amounted to a PR campaign for public mindshare.

One day before federal prosecutors were set to face off against Apple lawyers in an initial evidentiary hearing, the FBI revealed that an outside party had discovered a way into Farook's iPhone, rendering the AWA motion moot.

The FBI is not willing to share the exploit with Apple, but says the technique only works on iPhone 5c hardware and older. For its part, Apple said it will not sue for the information.

While similar U.S. court actions are pending, including a recently failed bid to leverage AWA in Boston, Comey said the DOJ's decision to withdraw in San Bernardino allowed both the FBI and Apple to "take the temperature down."

Moving forward, Comey said the encryption issues brought into play as a result of the court action cannot be resolved by the court system, suggesting a legislative course of action is needed. Comey is now in apparent agreement with Apple CEO Tim Cook, who in February said the complex issue needs to be debated in Congress.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    He's a prime example of why people cannot and should not trust their government.
    designrlondorbrakkenstskgtrtdknoxmagman1979mac_dogbdkennedy1002pscooter63
  • Reply 2 of 33
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    I just read that it was hackers and not Cellebrite that helped the FBI. 
    badmonk
  • Reply 3 of 33
    brakkenbrakken Posts: 687member
    fbi unconstitutionally attacks Apple.
    Apple refuses and adheres to the law.
    fbi starts talking about 'emotions' after suddenly dropping the case the day before law could proceed.

    The fbi needs to be disbanded.
    gtrmagman1979mac_dogdigitolbrian greenirelandlito_lupenapalominemnbob1cali
  • Reply 4 of 33
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,348member
    brakken said:
    fbi unconstitutionally attacks Apple.
    Apple refuses and adheres to the law.
    fbi starts talking about 'emotions' after suddenly dropping the case the day before law could proceed.

    The fbi needs to be disbanded.
    you missed step one
    FBI waits for case with strong emotional pull.

    stskbobschlobtdknoxmac_doglostkiwiRayz2016brakkenairmanchairmanirelandlatifbp
  • Reply 5 of 33
    Maybe Comey would like help in defecting to North Korea. I am certain he could gain great insight into what happens when a government has absolute control of their citizens with no privacy rights. 

    The North Korean government would have no compunction in forcing a company to wantonly violate any vestigial right privacy. Comey would feel right at home. Or he could defect to ISIS held territory.

    And I would like to purchase a one ticket to Pyongyang for Senator Feinstein. If my own senator supports the notion of placing a backdoor into otherwise secure software, he will lose my vote forever also. 
    designrgtrmac_dogbrakkenmwhiteairmanchairmanlatifbpbadmonkjbdragonmnbob1
  • Reply 6 of 33
    spacekidspacekid Posts: 183member
    Maybe Comey would like help in defecting to North Korea. I am certain he could gain great insight into what happens when a government has absolute control of their citizens with no privacy rights. 

    The North Korean government would have no compunction in forcing a company to wantonly violate any vestigial right privacy. Comey would feel right at home. Or he could defect to ISIS held territory.

    And I would like to purchase a one ticket to Pyongyang for Senator Feinstein. If my own senator supports the notion of placing a backdoor into otherwise secure software, he will lose my vote forever also. 
    Nothing like wild hyperbole.
  • Reply 7 of 33
    vvswarupvvswarup Posts: 336member
    From the very beginning when Apple implemented strong encryption, Comey has been upset. For years, the government got away with things of questionable legality. All that changed with Snowden. Comey and other people in the government were livid that they couldn't hide behind secrecy in the name of national security to cover up their actions. They would actually have to start showing some proof. Meanwhile, tech companies started locking up their systems and throwing away the keys. 

    Comey tried to appeal to emotion. He used the buzzwords-rapists, child pornographers, terrorists, murderers. Then came San Bernardino. Comey thought he had the perfect case. He thought he could use the media to sling mud at Apple, hoping Apple would capitulate for fear of alienating the public and its customer base. We don't know what happened but evidently, the public wasn't overwhelmingly on the FBI's side. For whatever reason, the FBI withdrew the case. 

    The government has seen limited success in the courts so far. It seems that Comey has turned to Congress only after all of his other options are exhausted. If any of this other tactics had worked, he definitely wouldn't be calling for a legislative solution. 
    gtrtdknoxmac_dogjes42lostkiwiadrayvenlatifbpbadmonkjbdragonmnbob1
  • Reply 8 of 33
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,229member
    I think what The Director misses is this is not a security vs privacy issue but a security vs privacy/security issue. Stron unbreakable encryption absolutely allows some devious elements to thrive but it also protects a much larger segment of average people. To catch a small handful of people you put the security of 100's of million more at risk.
    jes42lostkiwibadmonkjbdragonmnbob1caliewtheckmanai46
  • Reply 9 of 33
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,369member
    So even the FBI is copying Apple now in saying legislature most solve it. Does no one have an original idea except Apple?
    magman1979pscooter63badmonkpalominecaliai46
  • Reply 10 of 33
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,297member
    Nothing that comes out of the mouth of this sack of s__t should be trusted as far as the sound waves can travel! This dirtbag was proven, time and time again, to be a LIAR, and he's doing it again. This has NOTHING to do with emotion; he's glad the court case is gone cause he didn't have a f__king legal leg to stand on, Apple would'be walked all over the FBI, and it was never "just about one phone"!

    spacekid said:
    Maybe Comey would like help in defecting to North Korea. I am certain he could gain great insight into what happens when a government has absolute control of their citizens with no privacy rights. 

    The North Korean government would have no compunction in forcing a company to wantonly violate any vestigial right privacy. Comey would feel right at home. Or he could defect to ISIS held territory.

    And I would like to purchase a one ticket to Pyongyang for Senator Feinstein. If my own senator supports the notion of placing a backdoor into otherwise secure software, he will lose my vote forever also. 
    Nothing like wild hyperbole.
    Nothing like being oblivious to reality, which is you...
    mac_dogRayz2016mnbob1cali
  • Reply 11 of 33
    All it takes is one cancer cell to ravage your body.
  • Reply 12 of 33
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,926member
    Hey Comey, you brought emotion into this by using a terrorism case and letters from the families of the victims. 

    Full encryption ion shouldn't be illegal. No backdoors. 
    jfc1138lostkiwibrakkenbadmonkpalominestompymnbob1caliewtheckmandysamoria
  • Reply 13 of 33
    digitoldigitol Posts: 276member
    Fire James Comey. Seriously. Any lawyers around? How do we start this process?
    brakkenbadmonkcalidysamoria
  • Reply 14 of 33
    NemWanNemWan Posts: 118member
    vvswarup said:
    From the very beginning when Apple implemented strong encryption, Comey has been upset. For years, the government got away with things of questionable legality. All that changed with Snowden. Comey and other people in the government were livid that they couldn't hide behind secrecy in the name of national security to cover up their actions. They would actually have to start showing some proof. Meanwhile, tech companies started locking up their systems and throwing away the keys. 

    Comey tried to appeal to emotion. He used the buzzwords-rapists, child pornographers, terrorists, murderers. Then came San Bernardino. Comey thought he had the perfect case. He thought he could use the media to sling mud at Apple, hoping Apple would capitulate for fear of alienating the public and its customer base. We don't know what happened but evidently, the public wasn't overwhelmingly on the FBI's side. For whatever reason, the FBI withdrew the case. 

    The government has seen limited success in the courts so far. It seems that Comey has turned to Congress only after all of his other options are exhausted. If any of this other tactics had worked, he definitely wouldn't be calling for a legislative solution. 
    The FBI has also seen limited success in Congress for decades, e.g. the Clipper chip.
    palomine
  • Reply 15 of 33
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,552member
    Daring. Lol. 
  • Reply 16 of 33
    brakkenbrakken Posts: 687member
    mattinoz said:
    brakken said:
    fbi unconstitutionally attacks Apple.
    Apple refuses and adheres to the law.
    fbi starts talking about 'emotions' after suddenly dropping the case the day before law could proceed.

    The fbi needs to be disbanded.
    you missed step one
    FBI waits for case with strong emotional pull.

    Yes! Excellent point!
    badmonkcalidysamoria
  • Reply 17 of 33
    CMA102DLCMA102DL Posts: 121member
    I thought Congress already decided except for a small grup of hacks (Feinstein - Burr) for No bacdoors in encryption. This is not about privacy. Backdoors weaken security, the very thing they MUST protect. Damn fools!
    badmonkcalidysamoria
  • Reply 18 of 33
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,337member
    What Director Comey is missing is simple: full encryption for everything, all the time. Yes, this means that criminals will abuse this to do harm. Even terrorists. The FBI and other agencies will have to rely on the classic police procedures -- suspicious behaviour, legal surveillance, records searches, and so forth -- to detect, prevent, and prosecute crimes within the limits that the Constitution (which is an incredible barrier to easy law enforcement), and this will make their job difficult. Like, say, the way the free and easy sale of guns makes it easy for criminals -- even terrorists! -- to cause mass destruction. Funny how the FBI would like to see (at least) the Fourth and Fifth Amendments abridged for their convenience, but if we were to suggest that many more crimes stopped and lives saved by eliminating the Second Amendment right to bear arms, I wonder what the FBI's position on that would be? The FBI (and DOJ) complain that technology makes their jobs harder, but that is a huge lie: they rely on non-rights-violating technology constantly, and it makes their job vastly easier than it was in decades past. Apple -- and other tech companies -- routinely assist law enforcement agencies and provide general and meta-data on a scale that cops of even the 1990s would have been ecstatic to get, and which is generally even more useful than the mostly-junk data you'd find on a typical citizen's smartphone. Just as we tolerate a certain amount (far too much IMO, but YMMV) of irresponsible gun use (ie, "murder and mass killings") as the "price" of the freedom to own guns, so too must we accept some crime and even terrorism as the "price" of the freedom from a police state encryption gives us. As Director Comey says, Apple is not the demon here; the DOJ should be placing the blame on it not getting what it wants squarely on the Founding Fathers and the Bill of Rights, which is where the limitations they face really come from. If anyone here is a demon, it would be law enforcement officials who are so focused on preventing crimes at any cost that they think nothing of shredding the foundations of Constitutional law and democracy to create a authoritarian "Minority Report/1984" type dystopia where crime is impossible, and the trains run on time.
    badmonkmattinozdysamoria
  • Reply 19 of 33
    irelandireland Posts: 17,798member
    May seem like an off the wall point to some, but have any of you ever noticed these "power-guys" always look sad? Look at Trump's face for example. His smiles look fake, his arm gestures are forced and over-exaggerated, his mouth mostly turned down and his eyes, unhappy.

    Just goes to show no matter how much power you achieve if you go in the wrong direction in this life, no matter how far you go you'll never be happy. You'd wonder why some of these guys can't take a step back and ask: what the fuck am I doing?

    An unhappy life is an empty life is a pointless life.
    edited April 2016 palominedysamoria
  • Reply 20 of 33
    Why is the FBI talking so much about this case?
    calidysamoria
Sign In or Register to comment.