Comey's "A Higher Loyalty" mentions his distaste for encryption; cites Apple, 'Silicon Valley types'

We've all seen the headlines and know that former FBI Director James Comey's book, "A Higher Loyalty," is full of salacious tales about President Donald J. Trump. But putting aside subject matter like "golden showers" for a moment, Comey's book tears into more than just the president. You might recall that Comey himself was in the middle of Apple's little brouhaha with the Justice Department over the G-Men's attempt to crack the San Bernardino shooter's Apple iPhone 5c. As a result, the ex-FBI director discusses Apple, Silicon Valley and encryption in his tome.

The Justice Department won a court order in February 2016 forcing Apple to unlock the phone of Sayed Farook, the San Bernardino shooter. However, the government mishandled the device, leaving Apple unable to crack it without building a special version of iOS that was quickly dubbed Govt.OS. Apple CEO Tim Cook feared that if the software was developed by Apple, illegal copies of it would be disseminated leaving no iPhone owner's information safe from hackers.

Comey's book discusses his feelings about encryption on consumer devices. We already knew that he wasn't pleased with the prospect of having to deal with encrypted smartphone messages and locked handsets. Back in 2014, Comey said before a gathering at the Brookings Institute that encryption "threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place." That language conveys the same sentiment found in "A Higher Loyalty." Writing about Apple and other Silicon Valley firms, Comey said, "The leaders of the tech companies don't see the darkness the FBI sees."

After the FBI unlocked the Apple iPhone 5c belonging to Sayed Farook for $1.4 million (and found nothing, by the way), Comey tried to hand an olive branch to Apple. In April 2016, Comey said, "Apple is not a demon; I hope people don't perceive the FBI as a demon." Yet, a month later he had a new target. When WhatsApp moved to add end-to-end encryption to the messaging app, Comey noted that "WhatsApp has over a billion customers, overwhelmingly good people, but in that billion customers are terrorists and criminals, so that now-ubiquitous feature of all WhatsApp products will affect both sides of the house."

"A Higher Loyalty" gets released tomorrow. Already, 200,000 copies have been pre-ordered.

source: Lifehacker



3. lyndon420

Posts: 6839; Member since: Jul 11, 2012 about double standards eh?? Everyone is up-in-arms about fb and how your privacy isn't safe...and at the same time encryption hampers the FBI's ability to spy on us. Maybe the FBI actually stands for Face Book Investigations...they even went as far to say that FB is basically their goto source for everything. The government 'cares' about your privacy only if they're still able to snoop when they want to. Who's the real enemy of the people here???!

5. Rigbaby

Posts: 98; Member since: Nov 06, 2014

I honesty don't see what's wrong with decrypting a phone belonging to a terrorist if it would help save human lives. I understand people want privacy but I generally feel it should take a back seat if it means human lives may be endangered. I understand where he is coming from when he speaks about WhatsApp encryption and the problems it presents, so it makes sense why he speaks out against it. I'm not from America so no political affiliation or anything, but wouldn't it be ideal for the FBI to work effectively with information, since they can hardly help without it?

7. kiko007

Posts: 7518; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"I honesty don't see what's wrong with decrypting a phone belonging to a terrorist if it would help save human lives." Because it wouldn't? How will taking pictures off of a dead guy's phone save anyone? Do you honestly believe terrorist organizations communicate openly via text?

8. Rigbaby

Posts: 98; Member since: Nov 06, 2014

I know they do in fact (in some cases) use Telegram and even Twitter so it's at least safe to assume they could be using their phone. Besides that, if it was such a hassle to decrypt the phone then why wouldn't they communicate openly via text? Nevertheless, it's not right to assume things as an investigator of any kind that, "there wouldn't be any information to use so it's not necessary to bother checking." The FBI are essentially an intelligence agency, without any information then they're useless. Also, the pictures weren't the only thing they would be after. When I said the information would help save people, I meant it would be used to prevent other attacks before they happen.

9. MarmiteTheDog

Posts: 192; Member since: Jul 31, 2017

Hitler didn't like Apple's encryption either...

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.