James B. Comey, Jr., the seventh director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, doesn’t believe that Americans have a right ro privacy. Speaking about encryption, Comey recently said in an Oct. 16, 2014, speech at the Brookings Institution, an influential Washington, D.C., think tank, “The law hasn’t kept pace with technology, and this disconnect has created a significant public safety problem.” He called the problem “going dark.”
As more and more criminals and non-criminals alike presumably “go dark” by encrypting their phones and email accounts, federal agents are finding it increasingly difficult to intercept their communications. The spread of easy-to-use encryption software and the eagerness with which tech companies promote it have deeply troubled the FBI. But on that unusually warm October day, Comey also wanted to vent about another frustration: He felt that the bureau’s proposed solution was being distorted.
A technological backdoor is a secret portal giving someone access to a secure product, be it a smartphone app, a computer program, or a Web connection. Pure software backdoors let the government directly access systems like Gmail, Facebook, or WhatsApp, and read unencrypted communications. A more complex form of backdoor access involves the government using special keys to decipher encrypted data that it gathered through conventional interception.
Details may be found in an article by Eric Geller in The Daily Dot at http://www.dailydot.com/politics/encryption-crypto-war-james-comey-fbi-privacy/.