FBI Quietly Removes Recommendation To Encrypt Your Phone... As FBI Director Warns How Encryption Will Lead To Tears

from the keeping-you-safe...-or-keeping-you-vulnerable dept

Back in October, we highlighted the contradiction of FBI Director James Comey raging against encryption and demanding backdoors, while at the very same time the FBI's own website was suggesting mobile encryption as a way to stay safe. Sometime after that post went online, all of the information on that page about staying safe magically disappeared, though thankfully I screenshotted it at the time:
If you really want, you can still see that information over at the Internet Archive or in a separate press release the FBI apparently didn't track down and memory hole yet. Still, it's no surprise that the FBI quietly deleted that original page recommending that you encrypt your phones "to protect the user's personal data," because the big boss man is going around spreading a bunch of scare stories about how we're all going to be dead or crying if people actually encrypted their phones:
Calling the use of encrypted phones and computers a “huge problem” and an affront to the “rule of law,” Comey, painted an apocalyptic picture of the world if the communications technology isn’t banned.

“We’re drifting to a place where a whole lot of people are going to look at us with tears in their eyes,” he told the House Appropriations Committee, describing a hypothetical in which a kidnapped young girl’s phone is discovered but can’t be unlocked.
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.”
Except we know exactly what that looks like -- because that's the world we've basically always lived with. And yet, law enforcement folks like the FBI and various police departments were able to use basic detective work to track down criminals.

If you want to understand just how ridiculous Comey's arguments are, simply replace his desire for unencrypted devices with video cameras in every corner of your home that stream directly into the FBI. Same thing. Would that make it easier for the FBI to solve some crimes? Undoubtedly. Would it be a massive violation of privacy and put many more people at risk? Absolutely.

It's as if Comey has absolutely no concept of a cost-benefit analysis. All "bad people" must be stopped, even if it means destroying all of our freedoms, based on what he has to say. That's insane -- and raises serious questions about his competence to lead a government agency charged with protecting the Constitution.

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  1. icon
    Iwp (profile), 29 Mar 2015 @ 2:27am

    You dummy! You shouldn't have told the FBI about

    the ternetInay chiveAray! Now they'll start censoring it, too!
    Another tip: the FBI's job isn't now (nor has it ever been) "to keep Americans safe". The FBI is the political police of the US capitalist class who own and run this country; the FBI's primary purpose is to disrupt and destroy every attempt of the US working class to unite across racial lines and to fight for workers' rights. The FBI is the US' version of the Nazis' SS.
    As soon as we read your comment that the FBI had disappeared the pro-encryption article from their website we went to the "you-know-what" to look for it and we laughed our collective ass off when we saw, quite predictably, that it was there. The FBI is as incompetent as they are vicious and ready to trash the US Constitution and Bill of Rights at every opportunity in defense of the "inalienable rights" of the 1%. The only people who are unsure as to which side of the encryption question the FBI's brain trust will finally set up their prosecutorial abbatoir upon are those who know nothing of the FBI's long and sordid - and consistent - history of wiping their asses with the Bill of Rights.

    Independent Workers Party of Chicago

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