James Comey Claims He Wants An 'Adult Conversation' About Encryption; Apparently 'Adults' Ignore Experts
from the the-child-is-you dept
Oh, James Comey. The FBI Director seems to have staked out his reputation on being the guy who will go to his grave refusing to understand what basically every technology expert has been telling him for the past couple of years: his desire to backdoor encryption will make everyone less safe. But Comey is pot committed on his belief that encryption is bad and that Silicon Valley just needs to nerd harder and it’ll somehow come up with encryption that has a magic golden key for him. His latest is saying that it’s time for an “adult conversation” on encryption:
“The conversation we’ve been trying to have about this has dipped below public consciousness now, and that’s fine,” Comey said at a symposium organized by Symantec, a technology company. “Because what we want to do is collect information this year so that next year we can have an adult conversation in this country.”
This is not just insulting, but counterproductive. Plenty of experts have been trying their damnedest to have an “adult conversation” with Comey, explaining to him why he’s wrong about the risks of “going dark,” while others have — in fairly great detail — explained the serious dangers behind Comey’s approach.
Comey’s response to these efforts so far has been the equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears and screaming “nah, nah, nah — can’t hear you!” while repeating his “nerd harder” mantra.
An “adult conversation” has to be one where someone in Comey’s position is able to admit that maybe, just maybe, he’s wrong. It’s not one where he gets to keep demanding a new conversation until people tell him that night is day. Because that’s just silly.
This new claim about an “adult conversation” is also stupidly counterproductive. All it’s going to do is make the actual experts here — like the authors of that MIT paper on the dangers of backdoor — dig in and have absolutely no interest in dealing with Comey. How could you when he so flippantly brushes off all the work they’ve done already?
If we’re going to have an adult conversation, it needs to at least start with a recognition that maybe Comey overreacted here. Without that, it’s just Comey acting like a child, demanding that everyone do things his way over and over and over and over again.