EFF Criticizes FBI Comments on Encryption Backdoors

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has responded to remarks made by the FBI’s director on phone encryption, calling them “bad law”.


James Comey, middle. Photo: US Federal Government

FBI Director James Comey, much like many law enforcement officials of late, had criticized Apple’s plans to encrypt phones by default. He called for a change in the law to allow backdoors for law enforcement.

Comey said that the FBI is in “favor of strong encryption, robust encryption” but not to the detriment of authorities.

“The country needs [encryption], industry needs it,” he said. “We just want to make sure we have a trap door and key under some judge’s authority where we can get there if somebody is planning a crime.”

He added: “Unfortunately, the law hasn’t kept pace with technology, and this disconnect has created a significant public safety problem.”

“The FBI should not be in the business of trying to convince companies to offer less security to their customers. It should be doing just the opposite,” said EFF, saying Comey is trying to undermine laws on privacy.

[T]he FBI is trying to convince the world that some fantasy version of security is possible—where “good guys” can have a back door or extra key to your home but bad guys could never use it.

“Instead, Comey wants everybody to have weak security, so that when the FBI decides somebody is a “bad guy,” it has no problem collecting personal data,” the organization’s statement adds.