FBI director says he’s ‘very concerned’ about new privacy features in iOS 8

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The FBI is very concerned with the new privacy features Apple is touting in iOS 8, the organization’s director James Comey told The Huffington Post on Thursday. In particular, he’s concerned the company is marketing something “expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law.”

Comey’s remarks follow Apple’s move last week to be more transparent and informative about its user privacy policies. In a new webpage on the topic, the Cupertino firm said it no longer stores encryption keys for devices running iOS 8, meaning it can’t bypass pass codes—even under subpoena. 

Shortly after Apple’s announcement, Google said that it too would be encrypting user data by default in the next version of its Android operating system, which is set to be released next month. It also won’t store encryption keys off of devices, meaning they can’t be shared with law enforcement.

The shift in user privacy policies by the two tech giants comes as part of the aftermath of last year’s Edward Snowden leak, where several documents came out claiming that Apple, Google and other tech companies participated in an NSA program that gave the agency unrestricted access to user data.

Comey says he understands the need for privacy, and believes that the FBI should have to obtain a warrant to take content from anyone’s closet or smartphone. “But,” he adds, “the notion that someone would market a closet that could never be opened — even if it involves a case involving a child kidnapper and a court order — to me does not make any sense.”

[The Huffington Post]