What Comey said about Apple

“Of course the Silicon Valley types don’t see the darkness—they live where it’s sunny all the time and everybody is rich and smart.”

From Fast Company, quoting James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty:

When Apple and Google announced in 2014 that they would be moving their mobile devices to default encryption, by emphasizing that making them immune to judicial orders was good for society, “it drove me crazy,” he writes. He goes on to lament the lack of “true listening” between tech and law enforcement, saying that “the leaders of the tech companies don’t see the darkness the FBI sees,” such as terrorism and organized crime.

I found it appalling that the tech types couldn’t see this. I would frequently joke with the FBI “Going Dark” team assigned to seek solutions, “Of course the Silicon Valley types don’t see the darkness—they live where it’s sunny all the time and everybody is rich and smart.”

But Comey understood it was an unbelievably difficult issue and that public safety had to be balanced with privacy concerns. Toward the end of the Obama era, the administration developed a technical plan to show it was possible to build secure mobile devices and still allow access to law enforcement in certain cases. During one Situation Room discussion on the issue, Obama acknowledged, “You know, this is really hard.” Comey’s first reaction was “No kidding,” but he also appreciated the former president’s humility.

My take: Comey has always been better at putting himself in the middle of really hard situations than he has been at doing the right thing.

See also:

7 Comments

  1. David Emery said:

    Nothing Mr Comey has done since the ‘iPhone hacking’ case has caused me to change my opinion of him.

    0
    April 16, 2018
  2. John Kirk said:

    It doesn’t surprise me that the people in law enforcement think that everyone is blind to the proper solution to privacy — except for themselves.

    You can’t ask a dog to guard your food. And you can’t ask the FBI to guard your privacy.

    5
    April 16, 2018
    • David Emery said:

      The most insightful thing I learned about police came from a friend who was a cop I served with in the National Guard. We were talking about why we did the ‘weekend soldier’ business, and I said, “Must be hard scheduling this with your police obligations.” He replied, “This is important, it gets me out of the police station. When you’re a cop, all day you deal with 2 groups of people, cops and crooks. It’s too easy to fall into thinking, ‘If you’re not a cop, you must be a crook.’ “

      3
      April 16, 2018
  3. Ken Cheng said:

    A self-righteous fool blind to his own bias, talking about darkness and light when the reality is multiple shades of gray.

    A book at this time is always going to be self-serving. I’m sure he’ll throw his hat in the ring and run for President since he seems to have higher aspirations.

    1
    April 16, 2018
  4. Fred Stein said:

    In the ABC show, Comey mentioned how a childhood home invasion created a life long empathy for the victims of crime and hence his career choices. This created a bias or blindness in his thinking.

    Comey had said, “Just one iPhone”. But he knew he had more cases using the same legal argument. He’s a lawyer by training. Did he lie? or was just blinded? Does he really not understand that criminals and rouge regimes can hack phones (or smart cars, utility girds, etc.) for evil purposes?

    0
    April 16, 2018
    • David Emery said:

      More importantly! He asserted about the FBI’s request,, “We’re not trying to set a precedent.” But taking an existing law and getting a court to substantially reinterpret it in a new way would exactly “set a precedent.” At that point, I asked (rhetorically) “Do you want us to believe you [Comey] are sufficiently incompetent as a lawyer to NOT understand that you will set a significant precedent? Or do you want us to believe you KNOW this will set a precedent, and you’re misleading us, or worse, about your intent?”

      1
      April 16, 2018
  5. Tommo_UK said:

    “they live where it’s sunny all the time and everybody is rich and smart.”

    … so says the man with a $2 million advance … talk about “talking up your own book” so to speak. Bloody hypocrite. The further the FBI is from Apple, the better.

    1
    April 16, 2018

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