- James Comey predicts 'plenty more' cases where FBI requests Apple's help retrieving information from iPhones
- Comey calls the issue of safety and privacy 'the hardest problem' he has ever faced
"This default encryption on devices is affecting all of us, all of our lives and all of our devices and so by definition it's going to affect the work of law enforcement in a significant way," Comey said.
But now that the FBI's litigation against Apple has been dropped, Comey hopes that there will be less emotion involved in the encryption conversation, which he said reminds him of the rhetoric often heard in the gun debate by "absolutists" and those arguing the "slippery slope"-angle on both sides.
"I'm glad the litigation is gone because I think it was creating an emotion around the issue that was not productive but I hope that with the litigation gone we don't stop talking about the issue," Comey told students in a discussion at The Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law.
And while Comey believes that Congress has an important role to play in the debate over striking the right balance between privacy and security, he believes it to be too important to just punt the issue over to politicians to decide on.
"The way it should work in a democracy is, the people of the United States should decide how do we want to resolve this collision between these two values that we all share," Comey said.
Calling the issue of collision of privacy and safety the "hardest problem" he ever faced in his career with the government, Comey said he understands when people have the impulse to both want to be absolutely safe and secure. "And I think the President feels this way," Comey said,