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FBI Director: 'Post-Snowden Mistrust' in Feds Has Gone Too Far

James Comey thinks Americans' mistrust of government and law enforcement's use of data is extreme.

FBI Director James Comey said that it’s time to rein in some of the mistrust of government in the aftermath of the Snowden surveillance revelations, and strike a new balance between privacy and security priorities. "Perhaps it’s time to suggest that the post-Snowden pendulum has swung too far in one direction -- in a direction of fear and mistrust," Comey said at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. The programs detailed in documents leaked by Edward Snowden have made Americans believe in "misconceptions" about government collection and use of data, he said. Comey's comments come amid debate over whether companies should need to build in systems that could allow law enforcement access to electronic communications. In March, Google announced that it had improved encryption on its email service, citing “last summer’s revelations.” Comey argued for a “front door” to major communications tech, such as Google email or popular chat apps, that would allow officials authorized by the courts to intercept and read messages –- but said that the technical details would have to be worked out by “smarter people.”

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