FBI Director James Comey has launched a new â€ścrypto warâ€ť by asking Congress to update a two-decade old law to make sure officials can access information from peopleâ€™s cell phones and other communication devices.
The call is expected to trigger a major Capitol Hill fight about whether or not tech companies need to give the government access to their users.
â€śIt’s going to be a tough fight for sure,â€ť Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the Patriot Actâ€™s original author, told The Hill in a statement.
He argues Apple and other companies are taking the privacy of consumers into their own hands because Congress has failed to pass legislation in response to public anger over the National Security Agencyâ€™s surveillance programs.
â€śWhile Director Comey says the pendulum has swung too far toward privacy and away from law enforcement, he fails to acknowledge that Congress has yet to pass any significant privacy reforms,â€ť he added. â€śBecause of this failure, businesses have taken matters into their own hands to protect their consumers and their bottom lines.â€ť
Comey argues that trend will make it harder to solve crimes.
â€śIf this becomes the norm, I suggest to you that homicide cases could be stalled, suspects walked free, child exploitation not discovered and prosecuted,â€ť he said last week.
And since congress-critters on both sides of the aisle always put the constitutionally protected interests of citizens first… Oh wait! They never do that. Look for your “representatives” to fold like cheap cameras and grant Comey whatever he wants.
In a rare decision, the Florida Supreme Court ruled last Friday that law enforcement must get a warrant in order to track a suspectâ€™s location via his or her mobile phone.
Many legal experts applauded the decision as a step in the right direction for privacy.
While revelations from Edward Snowden about the National Security Agencyâ€™s massive database of phone records have sparked a national debate about its constitutionality, another secretive database has gone largely unnoticed and without scrutiny.
The database, which affects unknown numbers of people, contains phone records that at least five police agencies in southeast Virginia have been collecting since 2012 and sharing with one another with little oversight. Some of the data appears to have been obtained by police from telecoms using only a subpoena, rather than a court order or probable-cause warrant. Other information in the database comes from mobile phones seized from suspects during an arrest.
Remember, the government, including the police, will gladly abuse any rights you are not willing to defend.