Post Snowden disclosures, making the “snoopgate” situation murkier, the FBI Director James Comey has dropped hints towards new regulations and laws looking for compliance from tech companies to grant the US government more access into their devices.
In the wake of tech giants like Google and Apple along with a string of other brands, coming up with vaulted and encrypted devices to keep eavesdroppers at bay, the Director in a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, on Thursday spoke at length about the intentions of the agency to ask congress to “force companies to provide what amounts to a “back door” to law enforcement to obtain password-protected data on targeted personal mobile devices,” reports Fox News.
However, such regulations might be hard to establish, as experts foresee “more than the usual resistance on Capitol Hill”, from more quarters than expected. After Edward Snowden’s leaks a White House advisory panel had recommended that laws should “not in any way subvert, undermine, weaken or make vulnerable generally available commercial software.”
“I don’t think any legislative response is warranted until Congress passes the USA Freedom Act and other [National Security Agency] reforms,” noted Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., chairman of the Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Oversight Subcommittee. “This problem has been caused by the administration overreaching in terms of grabbing all the data from people’s smart phones and computers – that’s what the NSA has been doing for years now, and Apple and Google are responding to it,” Sensenbrenner told FoxNews.
Although authorities could still seize and search public devices – they will be unable to force Apple and Google provide information as in the past. Law enforcement will also have access to phone conversations and call logs which is available with the telecom provider, experts point out.
On the flip side such encryption will help shield miscreants within the society like gangsters, terrorists and pedophiles warns Ron Hosko, the former head of the FBI’s criminal division, now the president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund. “This sort of encryption creates a virtual sanctuary for criminals who are very determined and smart,” he said.
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(Image credit: Ministerio del Interior)