“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.”
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.
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