FBI Lobbying for a Backdoor into Your Devices

Recently, Apple and Google both made policy and software changes to make it more difficult for spies, government agencies, and identity thieves to get information off of your devices. Well, the FBI director, James Comey, is lobbying Congress to force technology companies to make device exceptions for law enforcement—a little backdoor just for them.

Comey urged Congress to update CALEA [ the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act] to “create a level playing field” so new tech companies would have to provide police the same access to information that telephone providers like AT&T do. Comey’s proposal is already facing resistance from the tech industry, as many industry analysts point out that any backdoor for law enforcement could be exploited by hackers. Additionally, such a mandate would make American tech companies less competitive globally. “Who in Europe is going to buy these newly compromised cell phones if Congress insists that they be made with backdoors for U.S. law enforcement?” asked Greg Nojeim, a senior counsel with the Center for Democracy and Technology. “It’s probably one of the worst job killers a member of Congress could propose.”

Ummm. Isn’t anyone mentioning the obvious, though? Forget hackers. Forget job growth internationally. What about the fact that a backdoor is an intrusion into my privacy? No one cares about that anymore? Have we really sunk to this level?

I can’t understand why this is difficult to understand, but apparently people have just grown that accustomed to the surveillance nanny state. We just assume we’re being monitored. So when the FBI asks for a backdoor into our devices to get our information without our consent and without a warrant—what would amount to an unconstitutional search in most cases—no one is crying anymore about the complete erosion of fourth amendment rights. We’re just complaining about hackers and job growth. Wow. Wake up.