For the professional edge in your day-to-day practice, rely on the most timely, objective reporting on significant developments, trends, and emerging patterns in criminal law today—Criminal Law...
Aug. 5 — Legal resistance from lawyers is necessary in the FBI's mission to protect America because it safeguards the people's Constitutional rights in the field of emerging technology, according to FBI Director James Comey.
Comey emphasized the need for balance between public safety and individual privacy Aug. 5 at the American Bar Association's Annual Meeting in San Francisco. To explain his position, Comey referenced the FBI's struggle with Apple over the agency's request for the company to hack into one of the San Bernardino, Calif., shooters' iPhones (98 CrL 486, 2/24/16; 98 CrL 623, 3/30/16).
While Comey said he believed that increased privacy is ultimately good for people, the security of new technology has had unintended side effects.
In the first 10 months of this fiscal year, Comey said the FBI received 5,000 devices from state and local law enforcement agencies with subpoenas asking for help gaining access to them in order to try active criminal cases. The FBI could not open 650 of them, Comey said.
“This is a shadow that is falling across our work,” Comey said.
No American has ever enjoyed “absolute privacy,” Comey said. Even protected relationships with spouses, lawyers, and clergy members can be pierced under certain circumstances, he explained.
The bargain in the U.S. is that “people enjoy privacy unless—with appropriate authority—the government needs to look at it,” Comey said.
Most people assume based on television that the FBI can hack into any device, but that's not the case, he said. Even if the FBI could hack into any device, he explained the FBI lacks the funding to scale that technology in time to keep up with new, emerging encryption methods.
He stated that he believed there were “no devils” in the situation and that both technology companies and government agencies value public safety and individual privacy. But the two camps weigh those values differently, he said.
“I love encryption,” he said. “It protects people from theft and stalking. I also love public safety. I see those two values, both of which I share, colliding into each other.”
America is in need of a broader conversation about how to balance those competing interests, he said. That's why the FBI is collecting data from states' attorney's offices, he explained: To determine the impact of encryption on law enforcement agencies.
However, he said having a conversation with the American public can be difficult because the issues are multifaceted and nuanced, which can try people's attention spans.
“The challenge of anything that doesn’t fit in a tweet we don’t want to discuss,” Comey said. “In a tweet world, how do we deal with this?”
Comey also touched on his decision to publicly recommend no criminal charges against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton for storing classified e-mails on a private server when she served as secretary of state.
Even though it was an unprecedented move for the FBI director to publicly announce such a recommendation, Comey said he felt the unusual circumstances warranted an unusual response.
Transparency became important because of the immense public interest, he explained.
“I think this was the way most likely to offer transparency that would reassure the American people that this investigation was done well,” Comey said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jessica DaSilva at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: C. Reilly Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)