What pendulum swing?

Yesterday a totalitarian want-to-be said:

FBI Director James Comey called Thursday for “a regulatory or legislative fix” for technology companies’ expanding use of encryption to protect user privacy, arguing that without such a fix, “homicide cases could be stalled, suspects could walk free, and child exploitation victims might not be identified or recovered.”

Comey said he understood the “justifiable surprise” many Americans felt after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures about mass government surveillance, but he contended that recent shifts by companies like Apple and Google to make data stored on cell phones inaccessible to law enforcement went too far.

“Perhaps it’s time to suggest that the post-Snowden pendulum has swung too far in one direction — in a direction of fear and mistrust,” said Comey, speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington in his first major policy speech since taking over the FBI 13 months ago.

What?!!! The “pendulum has swing too far” in the direction of privacy? I wasn’t aware that the government had backed off even a tiny bit from their insistence that they get access to everything. As near as I can tell Comey wants the “pendulum” welded to the totalitarian wall.

Schneier has it right.


5 thoughts on “What pendulum swing?

  1. LOL! “a regulatory or legislative fix” That’s funny.

    Do you suppose he’s talking about something like an encryption version of gun control? Or the Drug War? Because that’s been so successful.

  2. This fascist scumbag thinks that he has an inalienable right to snoop into everyone’s business, and that no one should be allowed to take preventive action. He’s very much like the criminal who advocates victim disarmament (“gun control” [sic]) as a way to ensure a safe workplace. He should be treated the same way as any other criminal. Actually, he should also be charged with perjury (for violating his oath of office) and arguably treason (for conspiring to wage war on the rights of the American people).
    And of course, this won’t work. It didn’t work back in 1991, when Phil Zimmerman first published the PGP encryption program, at a time when the rules were far more favorable to fascists. And it certainly won’t work now.
    It’s good to remember that all the specs for encryption algorithms are public. In fact, several of them are US government publications (like DES and AES). Anyone who got a passing grade in Programming 101 can convert the spec into a functioning (albeit very basic) encryption program in about a day of work. So even if you removed all existing crypto from the net, which is obviously impossible, new copies would appear by the next day. And some ciphers (like RC4) are so simple that the specification can easily be memorized (no paper needed) and they can be programmed in a matter of minutes.
    Last but not least, essentially all of the economy uses encryption. Without encryption, there can’t be electronic funds transfer, or credit card payments, or e-commerce, or secure web sites. No more “https”.

    So he’s not only a fascist, but he’s delusional.

  3. I was under the impression that our entire system of government is based on a set of “checks and balances” that were set in placed because of fear and distrust on the part of the Founding Fathers of an intrusive and malicious government. Seen from that perspective, the fear and distrust Pendulum should be anchored securely on the pro-freedom side of the Pit of government bureaucracy.

    • The “checks and balances” are indeed there in theory. They haven’t existed in practice for about a century, and a lot were being dismantled about 50 years earlier.
      Consider for example the bizarre notion of an “independent agency”. Those are, every single one of them, unconstitutional. Explaining why would make a good exercise for students in PoliSci 101, or better yet in high school social studies class.

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