FBI head voices concerns over WhatsApp encryption, predicts "collision" with law enforcment


Smartphone users demand their privacy – and rightfully so. And developers have been happy to equip them with powerful tools to protect that privacy, using encryption to keep messages safe from prying eyes. Almost inevitably, this seems to be leading to a showdown with law enforcement, as government interest in intercepting criminal communication clashes with the privacy rights of innocent civilians, to say nothing about its incompatibility with the mathematical systems that drive encryption algorithms. Now FBI Director James Comey is talking about the latest secure communication app to fuel the government's frustrations, as he shares a few words about WhatsApp.

As you may recall, earlier this year WhatsApp made big headway in securing its users' communications as it finished its global, cross-platform roll-out of powerful end-to-end encryption. With such a system in place, not even WhatsApp itself can read what its users are saying.

Comey acknowledges that most of those users are probably good, law-abiding folk, but there are also going to be some criminals or full-blown terrorists taking advantage of the app's security features.

What's to be done about that? Well, we've already heard that the Justice Department is keeping its eye on WhatsApp-related cases, and while Comey isn't ready to say that the government will take legal action to change how WhatsApp operates, he believes that something has to give. Just as there's a legal battle brewing over government access to encrypted devices like that San Bernardino iPhone, Comey says that a “collision is happening” when it comes to encrypted communications, too.

It's still too early to predict what the causalties from this clash might be, but we could well be looking at a future where truly secure communications are only a distant memory.

source: Politico via Gizmodo

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8 Comments

1. SuperAndroid507

Posts: 361; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

The end is near folks...

2. Unordinary unregistered

At this rate, probably. I don't see anyone else stepping up to the plate unlike Apple to defend a basic human right.

9. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

That's why Samsung created Knox. They did this before all this BS came up. RIM also worked hard to encrypt their platform BES and it associated application like BBM. Again, they did this BEFORE all this became an issue with the US Gov't. So you are wrong...AGAIN!

3. Freeza

Posts: 95; Member since: Apr 03, 2016

Switch to Telegram

4. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

And here is where all those criticising Apple's stance on security gradually start to realise what it's all about... The governments want to know everything, terrorism is a good excuse, make people scared and angry to get your way. It doesn't matter to most of us of course but the governments just hate that pesky privacy stuff.

5. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1183; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

Why should everyone adapt to the government's rules? I thought the government was working for the people, not the other way around. Find other ways to catch the bad guys, if ear dropping on their communications doesn't work, find other ways, the government just wanna do this the easy way, especially the US government. I read an article, about the police force in Norway. They don't carry a gun, and only one shot was fired by the police over there, but the place is still more safe than any city in the states, anyone getting what's going on? The US government always wants to find the easy way out, but not the way that the general public wants or needs. If Snowden was running for the election, I would vote for him first hand.

8. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

They should be more concerned about the real terrorists in office:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8__64mFVes Controlling every main-stream media and keeping them average joe Americans in the dark:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O3eaXCxRUMhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSUgRQmBod8 Speaking of WhatsApp, it appears WhatsApp is even more valuable than SanDisk:http://windowscentral.com/western-digital-finalizes-16-billion-sandisk-acquisition

12. TmoRep

Posts: 107; Member since: Apr 20, 2016

Whenever the Privacy discussion comes up and people start getting upset that the government is watching their phones and what not, I feel as though everyone around me must be a spy with vital info pertaining to national security haha. But alas, an invasion of privacy is something I'm against even if there is nothing to hide. If someone looked at my phone all they would find is diesel truck building videos and pictures of my wife and kids. But that's for me too enjoy not them. Government reminds me of killroy.

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