FBI head to target Apple encryption tech in first policy speech

Saqib Shah
October 16, 2014

Following a spate of recent interviews in which he repeatedly slammed Apple for introducing encryption technology to the iPhone 6, the new FBI Director James B. Comey is set to do the same in his first official policy speech.

Comey intends to further criticise tech companies such as Apple, which manufacture so-called ‘dark’ devices that protect their user’s personal information, in a major speech due to be delivered later today.

According to Comey, the sophisticated encryption tech found in the likes of the new iPhone 6 will result in crimes going unsolved as police officers will not be able to access information from them.

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FBI Director James Comey won’t be buying an iPhone 6

Although the FBI has made no secret of its concerns regarding ‘dark’ devices in the past, it now claims that the proliferation of encryption tech is having an adverse affect on the crime solving capabilities of law enforcement officers.

Comey will elaborate on this view by stating that the new tech will hinder state and local agencies as they are the ones who tend to investigate crimes such as kidnapping and robbery, which involve obtaining information from electronic devices. In a preview of the speech released to the press, Comey adds that these same agencies do not have the resources to get around the encryption tech. He will also offer relevant examples of crimes that authorities were able to solve because they gained access to a phone.

In recent television interviews, Comey – who took over as the head of the FBI late last year – has stated that tech companies “have gone too far” in releasing devices that can place criminals “beyond the law”.

Apple released the bestselling iPhone 6 last month. The premium device is thought to be the first capable of thwarting third-parties from gaining access to it. Naturally, this has prompted a growing backlash from law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI and NSA.

James Comey’s speech entitled ‘Going dark: are technology, privacy and public safety on a collision course?’ will be delivered at the Brookings Institution in Washington today.

About the Author

Saqib Shah

Tech/gaming journalist for What Mobile magazine and website. Interests include film, digital media and foreign affairs.

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