FBI Director James Comey discussed cybersecurity issues at a Boston College cybersecurity conference this week, highlighting that Americans should let go of their expectations of “absolute privacy.”
“There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America; there is no place outside of judicial reach,” Comey made clear to the crowd.
“Even our communications with our spouses, with our clergy members, with our attorneys are not absolutely private in America,” Comey said. “In appropriate circumstances, a judge can compel any one of us to testify in court about those very private communications.”
While he did not address the recent news of WikiLeaks releasing documentation on alleged surveillance methods used by the CIA involving smart devices, he did speak on the rise in encryption as a result of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealing U.S. spy practices back in 2013, CNN reported.
“If Comey thinks that encryption is increasingly blinding his agency’s investigative capability, I will point out that he’s trying to peer into the digital footprint of citizens more than ever before,” Jacob Ginsberg, senior director at Echoworx, told PYMNTS after the speech.
“The amount of information contained on our smartphones and other devices is unprecedented, and creating cryptographic backdoors diminishes trust and weakens the overall security of the technology being used. I agree with him that we need to engage in a hard conversation, and I certainly hope he invites industry experts, legal scholars and security specialists to the table so that they can have their voices heard,” Ginsberg said.
Comey also told conference attendees that he intends to stay in his current position and finish out his 10-year term heading the FBI.
“You’re stuck with me for about another six and half years, and so I’d love to be invited back again,” he said.