As crypto wars begin, FBI silently removes sensible advice to encrypt your devices


The FBI used to publish excellent advice about encrypting your devices to keep your data secure when your stuff is lost or stolen; this advice has been silently dropped now that FBI Director James Comey is trying to stop manufacturers from using crypto by default.

The FBI has joined with others, like UK Prime Minister David Cameron in calls to end the use of effective cryptography because it makes it harder to spy on people.

So, until recently, the FBI was actively recommending you encrypt your data to protect your safety -- and yet, today it's "an affront to the rule of law." Is this guy serious?

More directly, this should raise serious questions about what Comey thinks his role is at the FBI (or the FBI's role is for the country)? Is it to keep Americans safe -- or is it to undermine their privacy and security just so it can spy on everyone?

Not surprisingly, Comey pulls out the trifecta of FUD in trying to explain why it needs to spy on everyone: pedophiles, kidnappers and drug dealers:

“Tech execs say privacy should be the paramount virtue,” Comey continued, “When I hear that I close my eyes and say try to image what the world looks like where pedophiles can’t be seen, kidnapper can’t be seen, drug dealers can’t be seen.”

FBI Quietly Removes Recommendation To Encrypt Your Phone... As FBI Director Warns How Encryption Will Lead To Tears [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]

Notable Replies

  1. I don't suppose it's occurred to any of these law enforcement types that just thirty years ago, there wouldn't have been any way to track all this data anyhow? It would all have been stuffed in file folders at the perp's place of residence, and none would have been the wiser.

    It's so hypocritical that they'll come down like a tonne of bricks on on-line piracy, but want all that and more for themselves.

  2. Eventually ... in order to stop all of the problems with no-knock warrants the ATF & DEA will have outlawed front door locks.

  3. Far earlier than that, my friend. As early as the turn of the 70's, I was passing encoded notes to my chum in grade four, when teacher demanded to know what the note said and proscribed any further communiques in that format. We didn't yield.

    Our official secrets pact expired a decade ago, so I can tell you now that it said "If we're still doing cursive letters today, I swear, I'm eating my notebook at lunch". Rest assured, though, that the content of that message has remained concealed until the very revelation I make to you today.

  4. “Tech execs say privacy should be the paramount virtue,” Comey continued, “When I hear that I close my eyes and say try to image what the world looks like where pedophiles can’t be seen, kidnapper can’t be seen, drug dealers can’t be seen.”

    ...blacks can't be seen, women can't be seen, gender-queer people can't be seen, dissidents can't be seen, poor people can't be seen...

  5. It occurred to me that it might look like I'm grouping blacks, women, etc. in with pedophiles, kidnappers, etc. My intention was that in his vision of forcing pedophiles into the light by removing encryption (not that that's remotely possible), it makes everyone else, especially vulnerable groups, that much easier to make "disappear".

Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

20 more replies

Participants