FBI Chief: There is no ‘absolute privacy’ in America
On the heels of shocking revelations about the extent of government’s power to spy on Americans via the internet of things, FBI Director James Comey reminded an audience that there’s “no such thing as absolute privacy in America.”
Comey made the remarks as he decried strong encryption for devices, which he claims “shatters” a bargain Americans must make in exchange for security.
“There has always been a corner of the room that was dark – that was where sophisticated actors like nation states operated,” he said. “But what’s happened since (Edward) Snowden is that more and more of the room is dark. It’s not just sophisticated actors. Now it’s drug dealers, pedophiles and other bad actors. That shadow is spreading.
“Last fall we received 2,800 devices that we had lawful authority to open. And there were 1,200 we couldn’t open with any technology tool. These were devices recovered in criminal, gang, terror and pedophile investigations.”
Comey contends that Americans can have “a reasonable expectation of privacy in our homes, cars and devices” so long as the “government can invade – that’s the bargain. If government has probable cause, it can can search and seize – take whatever the judge said it could. Even our memories aren’t totally private. The general principle is that there is no such thing as absolute privacy.”