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FBI Director Says Prolific Default Encryption Hurting Government Spying Efforts (go.com) 367

SonicSpike quotes a report from ABC News: FBI Director James Comey warned again Tuesday about the bureau's inability to access digital devices because of encryption and said investigators were collecting information about the challenge in preparation for an "adult conversation" next year. Widespread encryption built into smartphones is "making more and more of the room that we are charged to investigate dark," Comey said in a cybersecurity symposium. The remarks reiterated points that Comey has made repeatedly in the last two years, before Congress and in other settings, about the growing collision between electronic privacy and national security. "The conversation we've been trying to have about this has dipped below public consciousness now, and that's fine," Comey said at a symposium organized by Symantec, a technology company. "Because what we want to do is collect information this year so that next year we can have an adult conversation in this country." The American people, he said, 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, including a laptop or smartphone. "With good reason, the people of the United States -- through judges and law enforcement -- can invade our private spaces," Comey said, adding that that "bargain" has been at the center of the country since its inception. He said it's not the role of the FBI or tech companies to tell the American people how to live and govern themselves. "We need to understand in the FBI how is this exactly affecting our work, and then share that with folks," Comey said, conceding the American people might ultimately decide that its privacy was more important than "that portion of the room being dark." Comey made his remarks to the 2016 Symantec Government Symposium. The Daily Dot has another take on Comey's remarks, which you can read here.
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FBI Director Says Prolific Default Encryption Hurting Government Spying Efforts

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:31PM (#52799175)

    Did they learn nothing from the encryption wars of the 1990s?

    • There were encryption wars in the 1990s? *government stooge*
      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:25PM (#52799545)

        There were encryption wars in the 1990s?

        Yes there was [wikipedia.org].
        The government lost.
        The people won.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:43PM (#52799653)

          There were encryption wars in the 1990s?

          Yes there was [wikipedia.org].
          The government won (by cheating).
          The people thought they won but were knifed in the back.

          FTFY. You seem to have missed Snowdon's relevations and other recent similar events. It turns out that all the flaws in IPSEC and stuff which stopped it being deployed were engineered by the NSA. The reason that the F35 designs were stolen; the reason why all commercial environments are so insecure, the reason the internet and mobile networks are one big ongoing security hole is that, when they lost the moral and legal arguments the government simply decided to break everyone's toys.

          • by duckintheface ( 710137 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:59PM (#52799749)

            The "adult conversation" the FBI says it's planning is a call for criminalization of any encryption that the FBI can't break. They want a back door and if you won't give it to them, they will put you in jail. Or use the powers of the NDAA to hold you without trial or "rendition" you to a country like Egypt where you can be tortured without anyone noticing.

            This is an FBI which not only has broken the law regarding surveillance of US citizens, but then lied about it to Congress. The FBI may be correct that some terrorists will succeed because their communications are encrypted. That is better than living under an FBI shadow government that thinks it is above the law. We don't have to speculate about the intent of the FBI. We already know they broke the law and lied to Congress. And still have not been prosecuted for it.

            • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @06:52PM (#52799977)

              The "adult conversation" the FBI says it's planning is a call for criminalization of any encryption that the FBI can't break. They want a back door and if you won't give it to them, they will put you in jail.

              They already tried that 20 years ago, and failed. People today are way more aware of the issue, and more willing to push back. Secure encryption is already widespread and will soon be ubiquitous. The FBI is just throwing a temper tantrum because they didn't get what they wanted.

              • by duckintheface ( 710137 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @08:45PM (#52800503)

                And what has happened since then? 20 years ago we had not had a major terrorist attack that killed 3000 people in New York. Since then we have had the Patriot Act and secret FISA courts. Politicians are afraid to stand up for civil liberties because they will be branded as "soft on terrorism". It's going to take courage and effort by all of us to stop the gradual removal of our privacy.

            • by nnull ( 1148259 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @07:07PM (#52800055)
              The sad part is, the real terrorists don't even use encryption and they still can't figure it out or find them.
            • by Killall -9 Bash ( 622952 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @11:29PM (#52801035)
              I was recently at a free security seminar, which featured an FBI special agent from the cyber-crime devision as the main speaker.

              Main LOL's taken away from this talk:
              -Stuxnet was created by terrorists.
              -Dual-factor auth. is not the silver bullet it appears to be.
              -Everyone should put their data in the cloud.
              -Private cloud is less secure than public cloud.

              The 20/30-somethings in the room were stoked about free beer and cookies. All the old-head neckbeards had full blown WAT face going on.
            • Making Americans more vulnerable to foreign and domestic hackers does not make us safer.

              Just because the FBI could also potentially use those same hacking tools against criminals and terrorists doesn't make it a good idea to make the rest of us vulnerable.

              Like ordering people to leave their doors open at night in case the FBI needs to check on something.

          • by bigpat ( 158134 )

            It used to be the FBI's job to make it harder for foreign governments to spy in the US, now the FBI director wants to make it easier. Comey needs to go.

    • What they haven't learned is the Universe doesn't care about the FBI, or even criminals for that matter. If mathematics makes hard-to-break encryption possible, then that is simply that. Unless Congress plans to pass laws banning encryption, or demanding back doors, which will set it up for a big fight in the Supreme Court, the government should just shut its fucking pie hole and get about investigating crimes. Criminals have been hiding and destroying evidence as long as there have been criminals, and I've seen absolutely nothing that suggests that more criminals are getting away with crimes now than they did a couple of decades ago.

  • by Cornwallis ( 1188489 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:32PM (#52799183)

    Here's my take on that.

    Fuck you. We're not your children . Stop treating us as if we were.

    • by crbowman ( 7970 )

      Wish I could like this!

    • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:07PM (#52799431)

      In other news, the director of the Burgler's Association says that prolific door locks are hurting their business efforts. He was joined by the director of the Peeping Tom's Union announcing that prolific window coverings are hurting their ability to stay competitive.

      Wow, that's weird that a technology designed specifically to protect against eavesdropping and unauthorized access makes a spy's job more difficult. You know what I want? I want a bunch of laws to get passed specifically to allow me to do my job with less effort and fewer skills, because my feelings get hurt when I have to actually work and use what I know. When I have an issue on a server that I'm having a hard time figuring out, I want someone to just call my phone with the solution. That would be fantastic, let's get right on that. In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to continue to do my damn job and get paid for the work that I actually do.

      • by sl149q ( 1537343 )

        Actually the Burglars Association simply agreed heartily with the FBI proposal saying it would ensure increased revenue streams for its members as they increasingly move to online crime with much higher profits. There will also be fewer problems with Local Law Enforcement as they won't be seen out of doors with inappropriate tools or guns. We see a safer and brighter future for our members.

    • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

      Here's my take on that.

      Fuck you. We're not your children . Stop treating us as if we were.

      And of course his counter-argument, not that I buy into it, is that the encrypt-everything group is acting like children, pouting and shouting "won't" like Abdullah with Tintin. It IS a sea-change -- the ability of law enforcement to conduct these sorts of investigations, which they've done since the founding of the country, is being closed device by device. Did you think they wouldn't fight back? In their mind, the right to absolute privacy, which hasn't existed before, does not override their right to co

      • by Copid ( 137416 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @08:04PM (#52800361)
        It's tough to compare the environment now to what law enforcement has "always" done in history, though. There never used to be a way for them to read every single letter and cable being sent and received everywhere, so in that sense, the power they're looking for is unprecedented, even if they promise only to use it in a way that's analogous to old school manual police work. And even the claim that they've "always" had access to the data they're asking for doesn't entirely hold up. They've never had, say, access to timestamped GPS data about everywhere a person has gone every day or years of archives of mail. In the idealized old days, they could start tapping your phone or reading your mail at a certain point in time and get data for that time window, but not everything you'd done for years before that. There are types and quantities of data about us that exist now because of smart phones and ubiquitous use of the Internet that simply didn't exist in the "good old days" he's pining for.

        So I think the fundamental claim he's making is at least a little bit flawed, and that's before we even get into discussions about whether it's technologically feasible or whether law enforcement can be trusted with the expanded powers.
  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:33PM (#52799187)

    He keeps proving it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:33PM (#52799189)

    Go fuck yourself, federal government.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:34PM (#52799191)

    When law enforcement agencies in the USA think "parallel construction" of the source of their evidence is acceptable or justifiable. Maybe if they hadn't be so underhanded and dirty in the first place, people might believe in them.

    • by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:03PM (#52799407) Journal
      pretty much lost all credibility with blatantly unconstitutional seizure laws
    • by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:18PM (#52799507)

      The blue wall of silence similarly degrades my trust in police and law enforcement.

      I fear our police, FBI, NSA, CIA, TSA, ATF, ICE, etc more than criminals these days, and by a decent margin.

      • by Rakarra ( 112805 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @06:52PM (#52799971)

        The blue wall of silence similarly degrades my trust in police and law enforcement.

        I fear our police, FBI, NSA, CIA, TSA, ATF, ICE, etc more than criminals these days, and by a decent margin.

        The worst things to have happened to the police in the last decades have been the disappearance of community policing and the decay of the inner city. No longer do the police walk around on the beat as a trusted and respected member of the community that everyone knows and has talked to. Instead, the police have developed a "perpetually under siege" mentality, with an us-vs-them attitude towards the community they patrol, ready to lash out at a moment's notice. They have more in common with partisan suppressors or soldiers fighting terrorists in Iraq during the worst of the occupation rather than the police of decades past.

        • by grumpy_old_grandpa ( 2634187 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @10:47PM (#52800929)
          That development started at least as early as the 1960s, with Nixon's tough on crime policies. Since then, we've had a steady march towards a more brutal militarized police force from federal to local levels.

          For an insightful review and background on why we have the police we have today, read Radley Balko's "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces". It follows the main events, landmark court cases and government policies which took us there. It's a well written journalistic expose, with detailed information and history.
    • by UPZ ( 947916 )
      Yep, when I hear of law enforcement I see tax-payer funded concentrations of power that selectively enforce laws inversely proportional to a criminal's social status, and are too eager to spy on american public with reckless disregard for core societal values like privacy.

      I'm all for encryption. A judge can compel me to divulge password, and I will, but not otherwise.
    • When law enforcement agencies in the USA think "parallel construction" of the source of their evidence is acceptable or justifiable. Maybe if they hadn't be so underhanded and dirty in the first place, people might believe in them.

      This is a third of the problem, and the third they really don't understand. I don't believe there's even been an apology for mass surveillance, just rationalizations and more-of-the-same and parlor tricks like pretending it was meaningfully helpful to make the telcos rather than the government maintain surveillance databases.

      There is also the tech problem. If the encryption is breakable because your friends have a secret key, your enemies are going to make that secret key their #1 priority. If you share tha

    • Parallel construction, aka "a conveniently timed and helpful anonymous tip"

      Another thing encryption helps with: making it harder to plant evidence on digital devices...

      Yeah... I'm in the "go f*** yourself" camp on this one.

    • That brief comment is the only visible one rated "insightful" that barely touches on the obvious insights here.

      Obviously the FBI is complaining about a technology that it would like to ban or regulate. Sorry, you fibbing FBIers, you KNOW that it doesn't work that way. You can't make everyone forget and even if you could, the technology would simply be rediscovered. The law of gravity is more than a good idea, and ditto on the mathematics of information theory.

      If the FBI wasn't constantly abusing innocent pe

  • Duh (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:36PM (#52799211)

    Um, Duh. You brought this on yourselves. If you didn't constantly overreach, I wouldn't feel as completed to encrypt all my communications.

  • by Sebby ( 238625 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:37PM (#52799219)

    in preparation for an "adult conversation" next year

    You can't have an "adult" conversation with a child like Comey.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:39PM (#52799229)

    The Feds were the ones that violated the "bargain".

  • Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iCEBaLM ( 34905 ) <icebalm&icebalm,com> on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:39PM (#52799233)

    Good.

  • "If you don't give me what I want, you're not acting like an adult!" *foot stomp*
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      *foot stomp*

      Go to your room for a time out, Jimmy. And stop peeking in people's windows.

  • FBI Word games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:42PM (#52799263)

    > "With good reason, the people of the United States -- through judges and law enforcement -- can invade our private spaces," Comey said, adding that that "bargain" has been at the center of the country since its inception.

    Yes, but for specific limited instances and after obtaining warrants for each case.
    What Comey/The FBI are actually demanding is our freedom to use encryption be completely removed so that they can perform warrantless mass monitoring on a national scale.

    • Re:FBI Word games (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mattyj ( 18900 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:48PM (#52799301)

      Exactly. The big difference is that two of the things he mentions are physical spaces that a human has to enter. If the FBI broke into my car, people would see it, they'd be reprimanded, etc. He basically wants the right to secretly dig a tunnel under your home, sneak in while you're not there, steal whatever they want, and leave without anyone knowing it. Except in your phone.

      I'm glad that we have people on our side that are smarter than him.

      • Pre-dug tunnels. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:33PM (#52799597) Homepage

        He basically wants the right to secretly dig a tunnel under your home, sneak in while you're not there, steal whatever they want, and leave without anyone knowing it. Except in your phone.

        Even worse: he want the tunnels being pre-dug (= "backdoors").

        You know how in Switzerland every house has a mandatory under-ground shelter ?

        What he wants is every single house in the USA having a mandatory underground tunnel that leads to a nearby police station. A *secret* tunnel that you're forbidden to know about when you buy your house.
        That's what an encryption backdoor is the equivalent of : a mandatory secret back-door built in every house in the USA.

        And with the automation and international connection that is available on the internet, the real-world situation is even worse than this putative mandatory tunnel.
        (Now the metaphor is getting a bit harder...)

        It would be as if the police station had an nearly infinite amount of low-ranking police personal that could devote their entire time to travel the tunnel each day, sneak into your house every single day, and take a picture of you naked in your shower. And not only you personnally, but though every tunnel, available in every single home built on US soil under US building code. Each fucking day.

        But said local police station lacks trained and experienced detective to do anything useful out of the photos/objects/proofs brought back from by the agents.

        And meanwhile, all the people living outside of the USA are completely immune to it because their local building code either don't mandate the tunnel (and thus, the US police agents can't even use this tunnel network to peak into the homes of ISIS terrorists, although that was the main selling point of the tunnel network when it was voted in)
        Or mandate an entirely different type of tunnel that the US police has never heard off (and leaves some part of the US population at risk, because they buy and install a port-a-potty from China, and never realise that these come with tunnels leading directly into their chinese secret police).

        All the while the Russia mafia has trained an incredibly huge army of burglars to roam the US (and Chinese) networks of secret tunnels, stealing as much as possible from every house they happen to reach. And even sometimes using your own house as a base of operation to commit crimes while you're away for work. (botnets).

        At the end of the operation, maybe 1 single terrorist happens to get caught due to random chance. And maybe due to the fact that he was bragging that he is a terrorist the whole day in the middle of the street ( = wasn't even using encryption at all. Just plain text SMS.)
        At the same time there will be millions of damage due to stolen property through the tunnels network.
        ( = just have a look at the massive data leaks that you have *today* when hacker still go through the long round about route of actually hacking into servers. Now think how much more damage would be done when the hack don't actually even bother to hack, but just leverage the backdoors that are mandated by the various governments)

      • I'm glad that we have people on our side that are smarter than him.

        You realize you're implicitly siding with criminals here, right? They also want to keep the FBI out of their data.

        Oh, I agree with your conclusions. Banning encryption, or requiring backdoors, is a simply unacceptable level of intrusion in a democratic society. Its potential for abuse is too extreme to risk.

        BUT... law-abiding citizens do also have an interest in seeing that lawbreakers are caught. Assuming we vote in people who pass appropriate laws and criminalize things that seriously and negatively

        • But I think it's important to admit that there is a real subject of debate here.

          No. There isn't.

          Problem is that encryption is more than just sending messages to your co-conspirators. There's banking. Paying bills. All that other good stuff that we do without thinking about the encryption. Back door on encryption means that that's all gone. Can't afford to do online banking with broken encryption. Can't afford a lot of the conveniences of modern living (haven't had to actually write a check in years.

    • "With good reason, the people of the United States -- through judges and law enforcement -- can invade our private spaces,"

      So, get a warrant and shut up!
      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        "With good reason, the people of the United States -- through judges and law enforcement -- can invade our private spaces," So, get a warrant and shut up!

        And what good will a search warrant do, when the only person capable of unlocking the device will plead the fifth? What can a wiretap warrant do against end-to-end encryption? Let's try not to be intellectually dishonest here, to use a familiar analogy here if DRM prevents you from exercising fair use it's as if that right doesn't exist. A warrant that can't be exercised is nothing, pretending that we don't understand that doesn't lead to a honest discussion.

        This isn't technically new, common folks have had

    • Re:FBI Word games (Score:4, Insightful)

      by chaosmind ( 31621 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:06PM (#52799427)

      "With good reason, the people of the United States -- through judges and law enforcement -- can invade our private spaces," and those private spaces include houses and cars?

      I think your notion of specific limited instances & warrants is a little naive. Consider all the cases the #BlackLivesMatter movement want us to consider: citizens obeying the law and still getting gunned down by officers of the law with neither warrant nor true probable cause. This is a larger issue of our ability to trust not a nanny state, but a police state.

      How can we have an "adult conversation" with a fascist system wearing a Dudley Do-Right mask?

    • Comey is a bureaucrat. He is following orders. His replacement will follow the same orders, or he will be sacked.

    • Re:FBI Word games (Score:5, Insightful)

      by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @06:16PM (#52799819) Homepage Journal

      > "With good reason, the people of the United States -- through judges and law enforcement -- can invade our private spaces," Comey said, adding that that "bargain" has been at the center of the country since its inception.

      Yes, but for specific limited instances and after obtaining warrants for each case. What Comey/The FBI are actually demanding is our freedom to use encryption be completely removed so that they can perform warrantless mass monitoring on a national scale.

      To be fair, encryption does change the situation a bit. It creates a world where warrants do not work, not unless you can also be compelled to provide decryption keys/passwords... and even then, if the penalty for the crime you're alleged to have committed is worse than the penalty for refusing to divulge your password, you'll keep your mouth shut. Also, penalizing refusal to provide information runs into another problem (besides 5th amendment constraints): what if you legitimately can't provide the information, but can't convince the judge that you can't? How many innocent but forgetful people will we jail?

      So, this really is a new world for law enforcement. On the one hand, if encryption is banned or backdoored, it gives them unprecedentedly broad and deep surveillance, potentially routine global surveillance. On the other, if encryption is legal and routine, they find themselves simply unable to get information that in decades and centuries past they could have gotten with a warrant and a search of your home/office.

      There is an imperfect historical analogue: Very high security safes. In the past, people might keep possibly-incriminating evidence in a safe. If the safe was really, really good this occasionally created a situation where police could not get in because they lacked the tools and skills. Courts ruled they could not demand the combination. But the situation with encryption is different for a few reasons.

      First, it's different because high-quality safes are expensive and rare. making the problem correspondingly rare. Encryption is cheap and easy.

      Second, it's different because it's a pain to remember to keep all of your potentially-incriminating documents in a safe. Encryption can be automated so it's applied to everything. No need to think about it. Indeed, security advocates (like me) encourage encryption of absolutely everything, all the time.

      Third, it's different because while a safe can always be cracked given enough time and effort, proper encryption is effectively invulnerable. Barring bugs in implementation, or defects in key management processes (e.g. weak passwords), we have no reason to believe anyone can break current-generation cryptographic algorithms.

      So there is a real question that needs to be debated openly, in public. We need to understand the consequences of ubiquitous strong encryption on law enforcement, and we need to weigh that against privacy.

      And then we need to tell the cops "Sorry, privacy wins. And even if it didn't, the sort of police state we'd need to put in place to effectively restrict secure encryption is simply unacceptable". But we should have the data, and the open, honest public debate so that everyone can come to understand what is blindingly obvious to those who already understand encryption.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        > and even then, if the penalty for the crime you're alleged to have committed is worse than the penalty for refusing to divulge your password, you'll keep your mouth shut.

        Yeah. Thats called your 5th amendment rights.

        > First, it's different because high-quality safes are expensive and rare.

        So in practice it was a freedom limited to the rich/priviledged then. I think we've already seen far too much of that sort of thing in the US already.

        > the sort of police state we'd need to put in place to effect

  • Thanks for the submission.
  • by Hotawa Hawk-eye ( 976755 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:44PM (#52799279)
    Yes, Director, the room you're charged with exploring is dark. It's dark not just for you but for everyone. This include people who want to steal our identities or the contents of our bank accounts, who want to take personal pictures or conversations and broadcast them to the world without our consent, who want to perform corporate espionage, who want to see us to prey upon us and our children. Turning on the light may let you see, but you're outnumbered by the criminals in the darkness who are begging you to flip that switch so they too can see.

    If you're willing to step it up and protect us from all those monsters in the dark, then tell us exactly how you plan to protect us and MAYBE we'll let you flip that switch. But somehow I don't think you want to commit the massive amount of resources that will be needed to protect us. If you don't, we want the light to stay off.
    • This needs a 6. By all means, the best analogy I've read.

      Yes, Director, the room you're charged with exploring is dark. It's dark not just for you but for everyone. This include people who want to steal our identities or the contents of our bank accounts, who want to take personal pictures or conversations and broadcast them to the world without our consent, who want to perform corporate espionage, who want to see us to prey upon us and our children. Turning on the light may let you see, but you're outnumbered by the criminals in the darkness who are begging you to flip that switch so they too can see. If you're willing to step it up and protect us from all those monsters in the dark, then tell us exactly how you plan to protect us and MAYBE we'll let you flip that switch. But somehow I don't think you want to commit the massive amount of resources that will be needed to protect us. If you don't, we want the light to stay off.

    • by Ken D ( 100098 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:58PM (#52799741)

      Yes, stop letting them frame the debate as personal "privacy" versus national "security"

      This is about personal SECURITY versus national security.

      Every day people get hacked, corporations get hacked, the government gets hacked. We need more personal security not less.

    • by hmckee ( 10407 )

      Totally agree with this post.

      Also, if you really want to have an "adult conversation", present us with a technically sound solution. Stop using "dark room" and "shadow is spreading" analogies to paint an evil image of the current situation. Being "dark" is not bad, we *like* it that way because it's safer for the end user.

  • And so here we are. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:45PM (#52799285)
    A few months ago I gave a copy of 1984 to a pretty smart friend of mine who I know otherwise seriously lacks in literacy and thinks he at least some what understands the implications of something like what this stories summary is offering but really doesn't. When I offered it I tried to explain that it is very timely and why. He cut me off while thumbing through it to say "That's a lot of words". He never read it and used it as kindling a couple of months later.

    This is part of the problem. Extrapolate at will.
  • by Ziest ( 143204 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:45PM (#52799289) Homepage

    The 4th amendment says

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

    That means if the FBI wants me decrypt any of my documents they can show my lawyer a search warrant otherwise they can FUCK OFF. If you want to fight these fuckers you, yes you, can start by teaching other people how to use strong encryption and why they should use it all the time. Yea,the NSA has monster facilities to break encryption but the cost of that is not zero. There are more of us then there are of them.

    • by cogeek ( 2425448 )
      Psshhh, the Constitution is a "living document." It means whatever the current politicians in power say it means. After all, there was no encryption back at the start of the country, so surely the founding fathers didn't mean to include it did they?

      Sarcasm aside, the Constitution was written with vague terminology specifically because they knew times changed and didn't want it misinterpreted. The intent was clear though, the purpose was to severely hamstring the federal government to keep them from infri
      • by Ziest ( 143204 )

        It means whatever the current politicians in power say it means

        Only because The People allow them to get away with this. If we were to start having mass layoffs in Congress they would change their tune.

        After all, there was no encryption back at the start of the country, so surely the founding fathers didn't mean to include it did they?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

    • by JesseMcDonald ( 536341 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @11:17PM (#52801005) Homepage

      That means if the FBI wants me decrypt any of my documents they can show my lawyer a search warrant otherwise they can FUCK OFF.

      Even with a warrant, it has never been the case that a person could be compelled to translate the content of a document (a journal, for example) written in a private code. If you possess some form of codebook then they can force you to produce it with a subpoena, but that's pretty much as far as it goes.

      A search warrant means they get to search your property, with or without your permission. You have no obligation to help them find what they're looking for, much less help them make sense of it once it's been found.

      In any case this is less about individual warrants and more about preventing the manufacturers of popular electronics and software from making truly secure storage of personal data easy and ubiquitous. Encryption by default represents significant security benefits for the population at large, whereas its absence will have little or no impact on actual criminals beyond a bit of inconvenience. I can only conclude that the FBI is, perhaps unwittingly, taking the criminal's side on this issue—criminals stand to benefit more than anyone else from insecure systems.

  • He said it's not the role of the FBI or tech companies to tell the American people how to live and govern themselves

    Finally, Comey says something I can agree with. Now take your own advise Comey and go shut the fuck up.

  • Done and done (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:54PM (#52799347)

    ""Because what we want to do is collect information this year so that next year we can have an adult conversation in this country."

    But we are already having that conversation:

    We as adults, don't want you to spy on us and we'll do everything we'll have to reach that goal, even if we have to import our gadgets from one of the other 194 countries, where they don't give a fuck about your reasons.

    You, OTOH are throwing a tantrum like a brat that has to do the bed himself for the first time in his life.

  • Not their role. (Score:4, Informative)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @04:58PM (#52799373) Journal

    He said it's not the role of the FBI or tech companies to tell the American people how to live and govern themselves

    Exactly. If I and millions of other people want to use encryption, it's not up to the FBI to tell me not to do so.

    This guy will never admit it, but the fault lies with the past and continuing attitudes towards data gathering in the NSA and FBI. Massive overreach (as documented by Snowden) led to an accelerated implementation of encryption.

    Comey: grow a pair and admit that it is your own fault.

  • by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:00PM (#52799379)

    So his views are the 'adult' views and anyone with critical views of that is a child?

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      He is a true believer. The very worst and most dangerous class of fundamentalist fanatic.

  • Chronic hacking victim doesn't see what the big deal is.

  • That's the point.

  • You can still follow the "bad guys", plant bugs with court authorization, use GPS trackers with court authorization, all the old school techniques are available to you. You just can't use our own devices against us. Why is that so hard to understand? Stop acting like a petulant child.

  • I bet he also thinks it really hurts his efficiency that he can't simply open letters as he pleases or simply storm suspects' homes and take away whatever he considers to be evidence.

    Pesky thing those "liberties" and "rights". Things are so much easier for police in a police state, I tell ya.

  • the Chinese, Russian, governments; by other corporations; by .... Maybe someone ought to tell James Comey that encryption is also used to frustrate many others, not just the FBI.

  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by God of Lemmings ( 455435 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:15PM (#52799483)
    Comey seems to think he's the adult in the conversation.
  • by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:23PM (#52799535)

    I understand what he's saying and agree that encryption makes it hard for the FBI. The problem is that every time the FBI gets a new power, they have a long and storied history of abusing that power. The FBI (and government in general) abusing the constitutional rights of citizens is the main reason I support strong encryption for everyone. Criminals and terrorists don't scare me, the FBI does.

  • by trb ( 8509 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:25PM (#52799547)

    So the FBI wants people to cooperate with them, to use weak encryption so they can unlock data when they need to. OK. Who is going to do that? Let's say law-abiding people will cooperate. What compels criminals to cooperate? What compels non-Americans to cooperate? What prevents people from use their own additional encryption, like putting a 2nd lock on your door? What prevents people from obfuscating their data? Here's the key, see, it's a Rick Astley video.

    • by ravnous ( 301936 )

      When encryption is criminal, only criminals will have encryption?

      Screw the federal government. They had their chance when things were unencrypted. They took advantage and spied on people without warrants. Now he says that when warrants are issued, they need to be able to get into encrypted devices? Screw you. You should have played fair when you had the opportunity. Now nobody trusts you, and we'll do everything we can to keep you from our devices, because you've already proven that when given the opportuni

  • This is WHY there is so much wide spread encryption. The FBI/CIA/etc proved beyond reasonable doubt (again) that they can not be trusted. They are many times when privacy should be invaded and proper channels were built for this. But it was these organizations that ignored and bypassed them.

    They lost the public's trust and encryption is the response. Their job was never meant to be easy. They just made it far harder on their own by trying to cheat the public.

    The FBI has no one but themselves to blame and it

  • Adult Conversation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:42PM (#52799645)

    We, the people, have already had an adult conversation.

    You were not invited, Mr. Comey, as you did not meet the criteria.

    In that conversation, we decided it best to encrypt our communications.

    Maybe if you behave yourself, you will be invited to the next adult conversation.

  • Strong crypto is widely available, and given a .js library can be done in a browser. There was a golden age of information spying, when info was carried by wires or waves, without strong crypto. Before, you had to capture the courier, now you have to attack either side of the maths. Deal with it. Rolling back strong crypto will just give a false sense of security.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @06:20PM (#52799837) Homepage Journal

    Doors with locks.
    Envelopes that aren't resealable.
    The Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

    All those things "hurt" government's ability to watch its citizens.

  • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @06:22PM (#52799845)

    Even if I trusted the FBI to only use the information for the public good and in accordance with the law, I don't trust their ability to secure the information. Whatever mechanism is provided to the FBI to access secured data risks being transferred to some non-trusted party.

    One the most important lessons from Snowdon was that even the NSA cannot protect its own secrets. How can I possibly be convinced that the FBI will be able to do so? Will Llooyds insure them for say $1T against a data breech? Or how about in the event of a breech, the directory and the top 1000 managers are executed (regardless of their personal guilt)? Are they *that* sure? If they aren't that sure, then I'm not sure enough to trust them. Imagine the damage that could be done by a person or government with access to virtually all information in the US .

  • We are under no duty whatsoever to make life easier for Hoover's little nut cult.

    -jcr

  • Comey wants to spy on us, but he refused to recommend prosecution against Hillary running top secret info on her home-brew email server? How about he treat the average American citizen with the same kid gloves Hillary got? Here's your adult conversation Comey: do your JOB with Hillary, THEN we can have an adult conversation about you spying on us.

  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @07:51PM (#52800311)

    is so full of shit, it's coming out of their ears.

    Their constant whining about crypto is merely a distraction. They don't need to break the crypto when they can just install the malware to steal your keys.

    They don't need it when they can just jail you indefinitely for failing to provide the keys on demand.

    They want everyone to THINK they can't get into it, when reality is quite different.

    It's akin to putting a high security vault door on your house. Seems pretty safe until you notice the windows. Then the door becomes irrelevant.

    The NSA has shown us that NOTHING that is network connected can be trusted. Period.

    If they're not sitting on a trove of zero-days, then someone else IS. The attack surface is just too big to effectively secure. Too many ways in.

    You want to keep something a secret you would be better off going back to old school methods. With their fingers in everything, I just don't trust the tech enough to utilize it for anything I want to keep secure.

  • by Facekhan ( 445017 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @07:52PM (#52800315)

    I promise I'll give up my password when I get a warrant and verify it with my lawyer.

    The only reasons for backdoors are to violate the 4th amendment with mass surveillance or for ephemeral keys that get destroyed like an encrypted chat or phone call but they should not have been recorded without a warrant in the first place.

  • by cas2000 ( 148703 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @08:57PM (#52800553)

    and stop using corporate-vendor encryption - it's too good and we can't spy on it.

      -- FBI Agent Brer Rabbit

Mathematicians practice absolute freedom. -- Henry Adams

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