10:30 am EDT - 11:30 am EDT

Past Event

Going Dark: Are Technology, Privacy, and Public Safety on a Collision Course?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

10:30 am - 11:30 am EDT

Brookings Falk Auditorium
Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC

Issues of privacy and security are at the forefront of public debate, particularly in light of recent national security disclosures and increasingly pernicious cyber attacks that target our personal information, our ideas, our money, and our secrets. But are privacy rights trumping public safety interests?  And if so, at what cost?  Has the post-Snowden pendulum swung too far in one direction? 

On October 16, Governance Studies at Brookings hosted FBI Director James Comey for a discussion of the impact of technology on the work of law enforcement. Law enforcement officials worry that the explosion in the volume and the means by which we all communicate threatens its access to the evidence it needs to investigate and prosecute crime and to prevent acts of terrorism.

In particular, officials worry that the emergence of default encryption settings and encrypted devices and networks – designed to increase security and privacy – may leave law enforcement in the dark. Director Comey will talk about the need for better cooperation between the private sector and law enforcement agencies. He will also discuss potential solutions to the challenge of “going dark,” as well as the FBI’s dedication to protecting public safety while safeguarding privacy and promoting network security and innovation.   

Following these remarks, Brookings Senior Fellow Benjamin Wittes moderated a discussion with Director Comey and took audience questions.

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