Congress to the FBI: There's 'Zero Chance' We'll Force Apple to Decrypt Phones
The FBI's director wants Congress to force force Apple and Google to do away with default smartphone encryption. Congress, however, doesn’t look to be with him.
Last week, FBI director James Comey suggested that encryption "threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place" and suggested that if Apple and Google don't remove default encryption from iOS and Android then "Congress might have to force this on companies."
But years of National Security Administration surveillance and other privacy oversteps and surveillance creep by the federal government has lawmakers skittish to do anything that'll be seen as expanding the surveillance state, even if Congress still isn't ready to roll back the laws it already has on the books.
"To FBI Director Comey and the Admin on criticisms of legitimate businesses using encryption: you reap what you sow," California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa tweeted. "The FBI and Justice Department must be more accountable—tough sell for them to now ask the American people for more surveillance power."
Issa holds considerable power on such matters, and The Hill reported that other lawmakers have echoed his sentiments. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (a California democrat who has been staunchly anti surveillance for some years now) said that Comey's proposal would have "zero chance" of passing; Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told the publication that he doubts more than "a handful" of lawmakers would support such a bill.
Americans have watched their government mislead the public about data collection and resist necessary oversight.
Comey repeatedly suggested that "bad guys" use encryption to evade law enforcement, and that it's time to have "conversation as a country about where we are, where we want to be, with respect to the authority of law enforcement."
To FBI Director Comey and the Admin on criticisms of legitimate businesses using encryption: you reap what you sow. http://t.co/qz7yUTJWln