James Comey, FBI director and encryption skeptic, hates that you can communicate privately and securely.
Yesterday, Comey bemoaned WhatApp’s technical triumph of automatically encrypting the text messages and phone calls of its users, Politico reports. Now, thanks to WhatsApp, a billion people can communicate without fear that a hacker might compromise their private and intimate communications. Additionally, users don’t have to worry that a massive government surveillance dragnet is sweeping up the private details of their lives to be stored in a secret database until the end of time.
“WhatsApp has over a billion customers, overwhelmingly good people, but in that billion customers are terrorists and criminals, so that now-ubiquitous feature of all WhatsApp products will affect both sides of the house,” Comey said yesterday. “Inevitably, it will be an impediment to criminal wiretap orders in criminal cases and national security orders in national security cases. Whether there will be litigation about it down the road, I don’t know. But that collision is happening just the way it’s happening in data at rest.”
Comey seems to forget that terrorists will always abuse whatever tools they have at their disposal, and that isn’t a reason to deny innocent people the right to protect their data.