The FBI wants Congress to pass a law requiring social media companies to build in backdoors that would allow the FBI to access member content. Michael B. Steinbach, assistant director in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, argued that the FBI needs a mechanism to bypass encryption.
“Privacy, above all other things, including safety and freedom from terrorism, is not where we want to go,” Steinbach said.
That has to be one of the most terrifying statements I have ever heard from a U.S. government official. It’s a direct attack on privacy and pushes the facility that privacy is not compatible with security or safety from terrorism.
Steinbach states that the FBI does nor, nor would it, engage in nefarious activities. It would only use these backdoors after following judicial process. Setting aside the FBI’s history of overstepping it’s authority, recent Snowden leaks show that the FBI is querying NSA data- data obtained without a warrant. Also, the FBI has wide latitude to issue national security letters requiring access to confidential customer data.
The FBI keeps raising the issue that criminals and enemies of the state are “going dark”. It seems to me that the NSA has not had any problem gathering information on anyone it wishes.
And let’s not forget that the U.S. government had the necessary information to connect the dots to prevent the 9/11 attacks. It failed to do so. We need to focus on better analyzing the data that we have.