James Comey tears into Apple, Silicon Valley over encryption policies in new book

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 16
Former FBI director James Comey is extremely critical about Apple, other tech companies, and their policies when it comes to encryption in his new book "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership."

FBI Director James Comey


Former FBI director Comey talks about a wide range of issues he dealt with across his entire career, including his four years as FBI director in his book. Among those is the issue of encryption. Comey's views on the matter, as stated in the book, are consistent with those generally held by law enforcement, as well as what Comey has said all along in testimony and other public comments about data privacy and encryption.

In "A Higher Loyalty," as cited by Fast Company and LifeHacker, Comey addresses various disagreements the FBI has had with Apple and other Silicon Valley companies, most notably about Apple's refusal, in 2016, to unlock an iPhone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the accused conspirators in the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack.

"Don't see the darkness"

Comey writes in the book that, when it comes to terrorism, crime, and other scourges "the leaders of the tech companies don't see the darkness the FBI sees."

"I found it appalling that the tech types couldn't see this," wrote Comey. "I would frequently joke with the FBI 'Going Dark' team assigned to seek solutions, 'Of course the Silicon Valley types don't see the darkness -- they live where it's sunny all the time and everybody is rich and smart.'"

The former FBI director, however, made it clear that he realizes the balance between privacy and the needs of law enforcement is a hard one to strike.

"Apple is not a demon"

At the time of the San Bernardino controversy, Comey had also called for reconciliation between the FBI and Silicon Valley.

"Apple is not a demon; I hope people don't perceive the FBI as a demon," Comey said in April 2016.

He also called at the time for a legislative solution, rather than for the matter to head to the courts. Apple CEO Tim Cook was seeking the same thing.

Comey admitted the same month that the FBI had paid $1.4 million to unlock Farook's iPhone 5c. Much later, this last March, an FBI inspector general concluded that Comey and other top FBI officials did not make false statements to Congress in regards to the San Bernardino matter, while noting a lack of effective communication.

"A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership." retails for $17.99, and will be available on April 17.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 51
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,344member
    Government exists at the option of the American people, not the other way around.
    MuntzlkruppirelandcornchiptylersdadGG1jasenj1buzdotsgregg thurmanviclauyyc
  • Reply 2 of 51
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,648member
    Comey's service to this country is unparalleled, but he's not correct about what appears to imply some sort of backdoor for Feds to access to electronic devices with ease.

    And let's be clear that Apple offered to help right away but they waited until it was too late before taking Apple up on that offer. The FBI dropped the ball with San Bernardino, not Apple.
    edited April 16 MuntzStrangeDaysbshankmanfred zornviclauyycwatto_cobrajony0repressthismattinoz
  • Reply 3 of 51
    Lab4UsLab4Us Posts: 28member
    Used to be police had to actually search for e idence and “solve” cases.  Now they want to throw out the 4th Amendment, among others, because they are lazy.  

    And Comey is nowhere near a leader, nor is he loyal to his country.  He stole, and released through a friend, proprietary information (applies to the governmnet too), all to sell a book and make a quick buck.  
    MuntzSpamSandwichbloggerblogbuzdotsgregg thurmanh2pwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 51
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,845administrator
    Be advised -- we didn't turn this into a partisan or politically divisive issue, and neither will you.
    Solimknelsonbshankaettexjony0repressthis
  • Reply 5 of 51
    irelandireland Posts: 17,207member
    Lots of darkness in your mirror.
  • Reply 6 of 51
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,344member
    Be advised -- we didn't turn this into a partisan or politically divisive issue, and neither will you.
    May I ask if the comments that are in this thread now are somehow violating the rules? I’m just wondering who is being warned.
  • Reply 7 of 51
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,648member
    Be advised -- we didn't turn this into a partisan or politically divisive issue, and neither will you.
    May I ask if the comments that are in this thread now are somehow violating the rules? I’m just wondering who is being warned.
    I think it's clear that everyone is being warned (even those who haven't yet read the article), and that no comment is currently in violation since they all still exist.
    edited April 16 muthuk_vanalingambaconstang
  • Reply 8 of 51
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,845administrator
    Soli said:
    Be advised -- we didn't turn this into a partisan or politically divisive issue, and neither will you.
    May I ask if the comments that are in this thread now are somehow violating the rules? I’m just wondering who is being warned.
    I think it's clear that everyone is being warned (even those who haven't yet read the article), and that no comment is currently in violation since they all still exist.
    There has been no moderation in this thread as of yet. Nobody specifically has been warned. I just got distracted by something else before my traditional first post warning.
    king editor the graterepressthis
  • Reply 9 of 51
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,140member
    Of course the FBI sees the dark side this what they think they are paid to do, their whole purpose in life is to imagine  all the bad things that could happen. But in reality, they are police, as police they investigate a crime. They are suppose to look backward not forward. There are other groups who jobs are to look into the future and set policy. The FBI is  not suppose to be looking for all the dark things that could happen. If they are doing this they are no longer investigating a crime, they see bad people or people who they think are bad and they want to dig into their lives and see all the dark things they are doing. This is why they are so upset they can not see into your personal information. They no longer want to wait for the crime to happen they want to watch and listen to you when they like. The FBI can not compel you to tell them what you know, but they think since it been written down or recorded on your electronic devices it free for them to go through it as they like.

    We live in a very different world, we have people giving up their privacy to get free products, and we have the government who thinks they should have free access to all your personal information and no company should allow you to protect that information.
    edited April 16 stevewhitemdbonobobviclauyych2pgeorgie01baconstanglostkiwijony0
  • Reply 10 of 51
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 587member
    His points only prove that he wasn't competent in either his understanding of constitutional rights much less encryption.  If there's a backdoor key that Comey and his Orwellian vision of government would have ready access to, the encryption would be a farce.  He's not a good businessman either considering he wants $17.99 for his book.
    SpamSandwichbuzdotsstskh2pjony0
  • Reply 11 of 51
    Staying within the boundaries that the moderator (fairly) has set, I'll just note that I appreciate Apple's position more and more. Whatever one thinks of Mr. Comey, it's clear that our government and our politics have reached the point where the legal process and investigative agencies have been weaponized (and try putting THAT genie back into the bottle!). In such settings, ordinary people need more protection from government, not less, and having their personal phone less susceptible to both hacking and inappropriate intrusion is much appreciated. I can criticize Apple like anyone else, but on this one they're right.
    baconstanglostkiwijony0
  • Reply 12 of 51
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,021member
    Comey performed (mostly) admirably as director but his understanding of security and encryption is not an area he understood in the slightest.

    "I found it appalling that the tech types couldn't see this," wrote Comey. "I would frequently joke with the FBI 'Going Dark' team assigned to seek solutions, 'Of course the Silicon Valley types don't see the darkness —they live where it's sunny all the time and everybody is rich and smart.'"

    I find it appalling the FBI does not comprehend how encryption works and this is not a "Privacy VS Security" issue as he so liked to frame it. It is a "Privacy and Security VS a false sense of security", however, and Silicon Valley truly does understand this issue significantly better than law enforcement.
    Solibshankbaconstanglostkiwi
  • Reply 13 of 51
    Free markets vs privacy vs national security. 

    A very complicated intersection of issues where an advocate for each view has many reasonable arguments.  

    A survey of recent (and not so recent) Supreme Court décisions doesn’t generate much confidence that law enforcement won’t abuse violations of privacy. Comey may be right - tech companies don’t see so don’t know about how their technology is being used to aid crime. Yet, where are the assurances backdoor Access won’t be abused?  

    Likewise, are companies really concerned about privacy?   Only if privacy aids short term profits.  But what about national security?   What about the threat of national security to the bottom line.  
  • Reply 14 of 51
    zonezone Posts: 53member
    The government (the USA or any government) has no right to our personal information. It's that simple. We should not give our freedoms away to protect us from a non-threat. More people are killed dying in the bathtub than from the boogies man. Stupid people think they are safer and so quick to give their freedoms and privacy away. Apple should be commended for keeping this a reality. Too bad Comey you work for us and you need to learn that!
    buzdotsbaconstangjony0
  • Reply 15 of 51
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,344member
    The FBI is an extralegal arm of government which is used by members of both parties to undermine and weaken our individual constitutionally protected rights. Its establishment was certainly illegal and that has never been corrected because even the party out of power anticipates a day they’ll be back in power to abuse their authority.
    buzdotsGG1
  • Reply 16 of 51
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,841member
    Well, I certainly agree there needs to be a legislative solution. Perhaps also a new agency, or an existing agency (NSA?), could be given the mandate, authority, and budget to focus on protecting the private information of American citizens from organized crime, foreign governments, and other government agencies (federal, state, and local). 

    I think people may not fully appreciate how important it is to have that legislative mandate/authority/budget. All agencies fundamentally are acting in accordance with those things. Guys like Comey are basically trying to do the job that the law tells them they are supposed to do. If we don't like what they're doing, that often means we need to change the law. 
  • Reply 17 of 51
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,648member
    Don't get the thread closed, Spam. 😠
  • Reply 18 of 51
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,344member
    blastdoor said:
    Well, I certainly agree there needs to be a legislative solution. Perhaps also a new agency, or an existing agency (NSA?), could be given the mandate, authority, and budget to focus on protecting the private information of American citizens from organized crime, foreign governments, and other government agencies (federal, state, and local). 

    I think people may not fully appreciate how important it is to have that legislative mandate/authority/budget. All agencies fundamentally are acting in accordance with those things. Guys like Comey are basically trying to do the job that the law tells them they are supposed to do. If we don't like what they're doing, that often means we need to change the law. 
    It would probably be better for the FBI to be defunded, have all their top tier managers fired and fold the remainder under Homeland Security.
  • Reply 19 of 51
    adm1adm1 Posts: 831member
    Government exists at the option of the American people, not the other way around.
    Yeh, good luck with enacting that option mate. :wink: 
    edited April 16 baconstang
  • Reply 20 of 51
    NotsofastNotsofast Posts: 235member
    Soli said:
    Comey's service to this country is unparalleled, but he's not correct about what appears to imply some sort of backdoor for Feds to access to electronic devices with ease.

    And let's be clear that Apple offered to help right away but they waited until it was too late before taking Apple up on that offer. The FBI dropped the ball with San Bernardino, not Apple.
    "Unparalleled" ?  Yes, in a negative sense.  This controversy is another example of his dishonorable behavior as he knew when he was speaking to the American people in the San Bernardino tragedy that he was lying and the FBI had the capability to examine the phone's contents, and worse, he was trying to take advantage of the terrorist act to push through legislation to suit his needs.  Sad indeed. 
    SpamSandwichbaconstangjony0
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