Free «Video Summary: FBI Director on Privacy in Communication Technology» Essay Paper
This video features the FBI director explaining the interests of the FBI with respect to protecting privacy and ensuring that personal devices are not easily hacked into. There had been a lot of noise regarding the request for Apple to collaborate with the FBI in accessing personal gadgets. The main concern in this hearing was connected with the interests of the FBI regarding protecting privacy in information technology. The director started by explaining that the FBI’s interests are similar to those of the Apple Company and the American public, and that they would like to ensure that the information stored on the cloud or on private mobile devices is encrypted to prevent intrusive access by third parties. In this case, the FBI is seen trying to use Apple to access people’s devices remotely, and this is a violation of privacy that is under normal circumstances considered as unconstitutional. In the video, the FBI director mentioned a couple of issues touching on security in general. However, one thing that stood out was the role that American companies must play in promoting security as they address privacy concerns of their customers.
First, it was clarified that the American companies were mainly interested in the safety and security of the American public, and were thus always willing to cooperate with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. According to the provided law, enforcement agencies are able to follow the laws to the letter. The main argument in this case is that companies such as Apple are only able to work with the FBI in cases that involve the violation of privacy where there is sufficient backing and a warrant from the judiciary. This is meant to ensure that the law enforcement agencies do not take advantage of the violations and involve companies in their misdemeanors. For example, if the FBI was to involve Apple in the unlawful access of individual iCloud accounts the company would lose the trust of the customers. The company could end up with numerous lawsuits from customers who feel to be misguided to believe in having privacy in the iCloud accounts while they could easily be accessed by law enforcement agencies like the FBI. In this case, the main concern for the House was the part that is played by the American companies, considering that in most cases the access is required for the purposes of national safety and security.
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Another subject in the hearing is related to the criteria which the FBI uses to seek authorization for the private files and activities of the American people. The FBI director was able to explain that the Federal Bureau would necessarily seek a warrant to obtain access into private information systems if there are sufficient grounds to believe that the target of the surveillance is a threat to public safety and national security. This means that before intruding into anyone’s private space, the law enforcement agency always has to have conducted more investigation and have evidence that would enable the judicial system to authorize the violation of individual privacy. It is important to appreciate in this case that the FBI director was categorically clear in emphasizing that the FBI did not randomly choose a target to practice their surveillance projects on. Rather, they only targeted individuals who had been singled out from other investigations and considered as potential threats. The surveillance measures in this case were only seen as a move meant to establish the nature of the threat to the finest details.
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This hearing was very productive, and the tough questions mainly revolved around the fact that the FBI was violating the privacy of the American citizens. The director, however, did a good job of stating that the FBI was only interested in the safety and security of the American people along with their privacy, considering that they were even using the right channels to access private databases instead of simply hacking into them. This means that, contrary to popular belief, the FBI is not looking to undermine the privacy of the American citizens. Rather, the organization seeks the help of the companies that are supposed to protect the privacy of these citizens in cases where there is a valid justification for the impending violation. A recurring argument was with regards to the applied criteria with which individuals are targeted for the surveillance, and how cooperative American companies have been in this context.
Another major factor discussed in the video is with regards to the issue of creating loopholes that would enable the FBI to access some private databases on mobile devices. A concern was raised on the fact that creating this loophole would need more work and investment on the part of the private companies that are involved. The main agreement is that the country should consider empowering the law enforcement officers to keep up with technology. The question of the loopholes still remains the main for the companies. While this new request may not be too daunting for a large company like Apple with its technology and personnel, smaller companies are likely to suffer since they lack the work force to take on additional activities that will support the FBI’s new demands. In this hearing, the main interests were not just on the investigations of the San Bernardino incident, but rather of the whole FBI and its activities with regards to the encryptions that lock out all third parties from accessing private information.
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