San Bernardino victims deserve justice

February 22, 2016

fbiOPINION by Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Jim Comey

The San Bernardino litigation isn’t about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message. It is about the victims and justice.

Fourteen people were slaughtered and many more had their lives and bodies ruined. We owe them a thorough and professional investigation under law. That’s what this is. The American people should expect nothing less from the FBI.

The particular legal issue is actually quite narrow. The relief we seek is limited and its value increasingly obsolete because the technology continues to evolve. We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist’s passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly. That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land. I hope thoughtful people will take the time to understand that.

[ad1] Maybe the phone holds the clue to finding more terrorists. Maybe it doesn’t. But we can’t look the survivors in the eye, or ourselves in the mirror, if we don’t follow this lead.

Reflecting the context of this heart-breaking case, I hope folks will take a deep breath and stop saying the world is ending, but instead use that breath to talk to each other. Although this case is about the innocents attacked in San Bernardino, it does highlight that we have awesome new technology that creates a serious tension between two values we all treasure – privacy and safety. That tension should not be resolved by corporations that sell stuff for a living.

It also should not be resolved by the FBI, which investigates for a living. It should be resolved by the American people deciding how we want to govern ourselves in a world we have never seen before. We shouldn’t drift to a place – or be pushed to a place by the loudest voices – because finding the right place, the right balance, will matter to every American for a very long time.

So I hope folks will remember what terrorists did to innocent Americans at a San Bernardino office gathering and why the FBI simply must do all we can under the law to investigate that. And in that sober spirit, I also hope all Americans will participate in the long conversation we must have about how to both embrace the technology we love and get the safety we need.

 


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Ben Daho

What if Eric Snowden had worked at apple and left with YOUR information? So, they make a secure phone no longer secure and you get arrested for any petty crime. Your phone is now in the hands of complete strangers. We know that as soon as humans become involved ANYTHING can happen.


Stop being pussies. If you give up your freedom for security, you deserve neither.


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joseywales

you forgot to mention you have a higher chance of being killed by your own government than a terrorist….


Ted Slanders

I am not a “Techie,” but isn’t it possible for the FBI to give the phone to Apple, and let their gurus try and get the needed information from this phone, put it on a separate file, and personally give it to Jim Comey without telling the FBI how they did it?


TaxMeAgain

Yes, Ted, this is possible and I don’t think anyone would object if Apple helped with this (including Apple).


The problem is that the FBI wants access to ALL data and ALL phones, not just that criminal’s phone.


Rich in MB

of course they do….so they can SNOOP without a warrant!


laftch

The issue is, “Can the state force an individual of corporation to assist it in the execution of it’s powers”? Can the state come to your door and force you to build a structure on your property that will give it access to your neighbors?


Rich in MB

The Answer is YES.

If the Government can Mandate that you buy Obamacare (which will then gain the Government access to all of your deepest, darkest health care secretes) then of course they can mandate that you do whatever they ask. Dance a jig, convert to Islam, or take a scan number on your right hand to buy bread.


[[Sometimes you have to be outrageous to make the point]]


laftch

I appreciate your comments Rich. The point of my questions was, if we are willing to accept that the state can force us to do such things as I proposed then we can expect to result to be what you suggest.


r0y

No, that is NOT the issue. The issue is, essentially, two-fold: 1) Does one’s right to privacy end with their death or allegations of crimes (in this case, terrorism); and 2) Does *MY* (or OUR) right to privacy end with another person’s allegation of crimes and/or death?


The FBI does not simply want to crack open this one phone, they are pursuing a method by which to crack open ANY phone (by Apple, for now) anytime in the future, pursuant (one hopes) to a warrant.


Use more than 4-digits – that will REALLY screw them up… and if you have an Android, look to encrypting your entire phone (file system) as well.


Put it this way: the FBI would never, EVER want the ability they are seeking to be in anyone else’s hands. That should tell you something.


Jorge Estrada

It is a fact that technology has rooted into your inner thoughts and activities (your mind). What has happened, regardless of how criminal, doesn’t justify any agency to have access to your mind. Yes this may afford keeping other criminal activities from happening but to what extent will this be used? Will the public be allowed to know exactly who and what our politicians are discussing before election time? Will the public be allowed to have their neighbors vetted or will it be used primarily for controlling the public?


Pelican1

One bad apple DOES spoil the barrel,


joseywales

the government is full of those apples.


Rich in MB

We have seen the problem….it’s name is Big Government!


TaxMeAgain

I think it is Un-American of our FBI to request access to everything we do, say and write. Thank you Apple for not unlocking all phones and giving away the keys to all liberty.


Bert

How would this help in fighting crime or crime prevention? It a posteriori, after the fact. The FBI couldn’t stop this, believeable, but now they need to look like they can stop another one. Apple has no obligation to create a program for them. There is no imminent danger. The FBI is all about power.


mej

I think it is Un-American of Apple to refuse to help law enforcement. Helping law enforcement fight crime is our civic duty. Rotten Apple.


r0y

What is more civic, assisting law enforcement, or upholding the founding laws of this nation?


If our founding fathers heard someone say it is un-american to stand up to a government wishing to expand it’s reach and to intrude on its citizen’s privacy, they’d be spinning in their graves!


Rich in MB

How many more Freedoms and Compromises must we make to keep us safe?

At this rate, let’s just let the FBI and NSA track and spy on everyone if it will protect us from the evildoers!


The Government can not be trusted, the Snoden revelations proves that.


I fear the US Government more than the terrorists and so would/did the Founding Fathers, of course these days you can’t say Founding Fathers without a trigger warning!