FBI Director James Comey is asking Congress to force smartphone developers into building “backdoors” into all devices for law enforcement surveillance– a response to new customer data encryption standards adopted by Apple and Google.
“The FBI has a sworn duty to keep every American safe from crime and terrorism, and technology has become the tool of choice for some very dangerous people,” Comey said while speaking at the Brookings Institution last Thursday, Homeland Security News Wire reports. “Unfortunately, the law hasn’t kept pace with technology, and this disconnect has created a significant public-safety problem.”
Law enforcement heads at all levels across the country, including Attorney General Eric Holder, have criticized Google and Apple since the companies announced new encryption standards for smartphone users, which law enforcement reps argue will make it easier for criminals — especially pedophiles trading in child pornography — to evade arrest. (RELATED: Eric Holder: It’s ‘Worrisome’ That Apple And Google Are ‘Thwarting’ Law Enforcement By Encrypting User Data)
Now Comey is asking Congress to update the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) — which mandates that telephone companies build wiretap access into their traditional networks — to include digital and Internet communications, and provide direct access to authorities.
“[W]e have to find a way to help these companies understand what we need, why we need it, and how they can help, while still protecting privacy rights and providing network security and innovation,” Comey said last week. “We need our private-sector partners to take a step back, to pause, and to consider changing course.”