Jan 9, 2018

FBI head: Ability to break encryption is “urgent public safety issue”

FBI Director Christopher Wray. Photo: Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call

FBI Director Christopher Wray says law enforcement's difficulty in accessing data from a criminal suspect's devices is an “urgent public safety issue,” Reuters reports. In the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, law enforcement failed to access approximately 7,800 devices’ data despite having legal authority to do so.

Why it matters: This pits law enforcement against privacy and security advocates in a debate that has come up time and time again, including in the aftermath of violent attacks like the Texas church shooting. The Justice Department and Apple have battled over this issue before.

Big picture, per Reuters:

  • Technology companies and security experts claim that simply providing a method to open a criminal suspect’s phone would leave users more vulnerable to hackers.
  • Wray admits the solution to the competing interests isn’t obvious, but says “I just do not buy the claim that it is impossible.”

Go deeper

Updated 44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 6,772,361 — Total deaths: 395,703 — Total recoveries — 2,772,730Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 1,898,401 — Total deaths: 109,137 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci: "Very concerned" about spread of coronavirus amid George Floyd protests — Cities offer free coronavirus testing amid protests
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.

Trump's week of viral quicksand

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Stories about President Trump's photo op at St. John's church after peaceful protesters were forcefully cleared from the area averaged the most online attention of any issue about the president this week.

Why it matters: Trump's force-over-compassion approach to the demonstrators protesting the murder of George Floyd had Republican allies backpedaling to keep a distance — and led to a wave of condemnations that got plenty of online traction on their own.

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.