Tech Giants Push Back After FBI Suggests Less Encryption

FBI Director James Comey's stance on encryption technology isn't receiving much support from the tech community.

Tech Giants Push Back After FBI Suggests Less Encryption
Getty Images / Mark Wilson

During a speech Thursday, FBI Director James Comey hinted at the idea of tech companies going too far with it's encryption and privacy practices. 

COMEY VIA BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: "I suggest that it's time, that the post-Snowden pendulum be seen has having swung too far in one direction."

Comey also hinted at the idea of lawmakers passing legislation that would force tech companies to potentially create a "front door" that law enforcement could use to access cell phone data and the like. 

And in the days since Comey's speech the tech world and opinions writers alike have responded in not so uncertain terms. 

Of course, it's not just national security at issue. The country has seen multiple high-profile security breaches recently.

"From Jennifer Lawrence to Kate Upton it is what could be the largest breach of private racy celebrity photos in history."

The most recent being the leaks of celebrity nude photos. 

In response to major breaches like this and public outcry, Apple's new operating system offers disk encryption which makes it impossible for even Apple to get to password protected information and Google plans to follow suit. (Video via Apple)

And while Comey believes making cellphone data and the like encrypted by default shows an unnecessary level of government mistrust, one LA Times writer says mistrust is exactly what the tech world had been missing. 

"The updates planned by Apple and Google would effectively change the underlying assumption about the world, adding a badly needed element of suspicion and self-defense."

One of the big questions that Comey was not able to answer during his speech Thursday is how to keep hackers from taking advantage of the same "front door" law enforcement wants to use. 

"I don't think I'm smart enough to give you a highly reliable answer there."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation says Comey doesn't have an answer because there isn't one. "The FBI is trying to convince the world that some fantasy version of security is possible—where "good guys" can have a back door or extra key to your home but bad guys could never use it ... that's just not true."

Big companies have yet to directly address Comey's comments but all signs point to the tech giants moving forward with encryption technology. 

The New York Times quotes the general counsel of Facebook as saying, “I’d be fundamentally surprised if anybody takes the foot off the pedal of building encryption into their products."