James Comey: Universal Strong Encryption Opens Debate on Privacy vs. Public Safety

James Comey
James Comey

FBI Director James Comey believes that the future of encryption technology brings both benefits and challenges as the U.S. seeks to balance concerns over data privacy and public safety.

Comey wrote in an opinion piece published Monday on Lawfare that using encryption to protect personal information comes with a trade-off on government monitoring of communications to ensure public safety.

He explained that universal strong encryption will help users control access to data but also enable threat actors such as the Islamic State group to communicate with sympathizers away from view.

Comey noted that further discussion is needed to determine if the benefits of universal strong encryption outweigh the potential challenges.

“Those are decisions Americans should make, but I think part of my job is make sure the debate is informed by a reasonable understanding of the costs,” he said.

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