FBI Director James Comey says to cover webcams

Posted: 1:01 PM, Sep 16, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-16 13:01:23-04

FBI Director James Comey wants to protect people's privacy — except when it makes his job harder.

Comey said on Wednesday that laptop owners should put tape over their webcams to prevent internet lurkers from watching them.

He  reportedly said  covering a camera should be as second-nature as locking a door. 

"I hope people lock their cars," he said. "Lock your doors at night. If you have an alarm system, you should use it."

Comey has been an advocate of personal privacy  and encryption  for a while now — except when it makes the FBI's job more difficult.

Earlier this year, Comey spearheaded a very public battle with Apple. The director wanted to force the tech giant to unlock a San Bernardino shooter's iPhone.

Apple fought it in court, and the case eventually fizzled when the FBI  withdrew its request  for assistance. The FBI reportedly paid around  $1.3 million  to break into the phone — without Apple's cooperation.

But in a television interview on "60 Minutes" in 2014, Comey said he believes people  should be skeptical  of government power. So what gives?

It's a debate about personal privacy versus public safety. Comey advocates for security against terrorism. He thinks law enforcement should be able to  access encrypted files  in cases that warrant it.

But the problem is that private companies and law enforcement differ on what those cases are, and there's really not a whole lot anyone can do about it other than battle it out in court.

Comey  reportedly plans  to bring the issue of encryption privacy to Congress next year.

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