FBI: Fear of iPhones grossly exaggerated

From FBI repeatedly overstated encryption threat figures to Congress, public, posted Wednesday in the Washington Post:

The FBI has repeatedly provided grossly inflated statistics to Congress and the public about the extent of problems posed by encrypted cellphones, claiming investigators were locked out of nearly 7,800 devices connected to crimes last year when the correct number was much smaller, probably between 1,000 and 2,000, The Washington Post has learned.

Over a period of seven months, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray cited the inflated figure as the most compelling evidence for the need to address what the FBI calls “Going Dark” — the spread of encrypted software that can block investigators’ access to digital data even with a court order.

The FBI first became aware of the miscount about a month ago and still does not have an accurate count of how many encrypted phones they received as part of criminal investigations last year, officials said. Last week, one internal estimate put the correct number of locked phones at 1,200, though officials expect that number to change as they launch a new audit, which could take weeks to complete, according to people familiar with the work.

My take: Bogus from the word go.

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  1. Fred Stein said:
    What disturbed me most was their claim “Just this one iPhone” when they had two dozen cases using the same legal justification. More so since the privacy / encryption issues had been legally address about two decades ago.The FBI and Comey lied to get around the law. No surprise we see new falsehoods. That slippery slope where an organization thinks they are above the law.

    May 23, 2018
    • Jonathan Mackenzie said:
      What bothered me most was Comey’s contention that the desire for privacy from the government was tantamount to treason. He repeatedly demonstrated that he thinks the right to privacy either doesn’t exist or is superseded by the needs of US law enforcement.

      May 23, 2018
  2. Ken Cheng said:
    How many FBI agents does it take to count the number of locked phones?

    None, they’ll just make up an answer to suit their story.

    May 23, 2018
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    As a former police officer I am greatly disturbed by this.

    It is what I expected from other branches of government, but not the head of law enforcement.

    My trust of our government is waning guickly.

    May 23, 2018
  4. Richard Wanderman said:
    I’ll never forget when Bush pushed through the Patriot Act (which too many of my fellow Democrats sheepishly voted for) it was librarians who held the line on giving up library records on books Americans were checking out. As far as I know, to this day the federal government has never gotten that information from libraries and hopefully, they never will.

    Tim Cook is a librarian at heart it seems.

    May 24, 2018

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