FBI Director James Comey has, unsurprisingly, come out and slammed Apple, Google and other tech companies for offering encryption on devices such as smartphones. Comey said he was "very concerned" about strengthened encryption in mobile OSes, saying it could work against his organization in the event of a terror attack.
In his statement, Comey took issue with the marketing of smartphone OSes from major tech companies. By saying that their smartphone products could be encrypted without access by agencies like the FBI, Comey said it was like the companies were saying "buy our phone and law-enforcement, even with legal process, can never get access to it".
Comey's words come after the launch of iOS 8, which for the first time offers device and data encryption that Apple cannot decrypt, even if ordered to do so by a warrant. Google also has plans to implement similar encryption methods into Android L, keeping the power of access firmly in the hands of users. No longer will there be a simple backdoor that can be accessed by an FBI agent in possession of a warrant.
The new encryption methods could hurt the FBI and leave them powerless in investigations into serious crimes. While privacy is still important, Cowey believes the FBI should have access in dire circumstances.
"I like and believe very much that we should have to obtain a warrant from an independent judge to be able to take the content of anyone's closet or their smart phone. The notion that someone would market a closet that could never be opened -- even if it involves a case involving a child kidnapper and a court order -- to me does not make any sense."
However in the wake of widespread government surveillance and increasingly serious privacy breaches by people with malicious intent, it looks like tech companies will continue to close down ways to access private data, even if that means shutting off access from law enforcement agencies.