WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Data encryption has become a major obstacle for investigations conducted by local law enforcement agencies, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey stated during a hearing at the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
"It [encryption] has an impact on our national security work, but overwhelmingly this is a problem that local law enforcement sees," Comey stated on Tuesday.
He noted that criminals "going dark," when they use encryption to lock devices and cover communications as they move over fiber optics cables, represents a particular problem for law enforcement.
Comey explained that going dark prevents police, prosecutors and detectives from closing murder and kidnapping cases, as well as drug cases and car accidents.
"San Bernardino, a very important investigation to us, we still have one of those killers phones that we have not been able to open," Comey explained. "It is over two months now, we are still working on it."
Some US officials have proposed to ban the sale of encryption tools and applications, arguing they effectively block law enforcement and intelligence agencies from accessing or retrieving data.
However, different IT market analysts have estimated the global consumer base for encryption tools could grow to between $2 and $4 billion by 2020. Companies like Apple already provide end-to-end encryption for all new models of the iPhone.