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Comey: FBI wants ‘adult conversation’ on device encryption

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(AP) FBI Director James Comey warned again Tuesday about the bureau’s inability to access digital devices because of encryption and said investigators were collecting information about the challenge in preparation for an “adult conversation” next year.

Widespread encryption built into smartphones is “making more and more of the room that we are charged to investigate dark,” Comey said in a cybersecurity symposium.

The remarks reiterated points that Comey has made repeatedly in the last two years, before Congress and in other settings, about the growing collision between electronic privacy and national security.

The Justice Department decided within the last year to not seek a legislative resolution, and some of the public debate surrounding the FBI’s legal fight with Apple Inc. has subsided in the last few months since federal authorities were able to access a locked phone in a terror case without the help of the technology giant.

The FBI this year sought a court order to force Apple to help it hack into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters, a demand the tech giant said would dramatically weaken security of its products.The FBI ultimately got into the phone with the help of an unidentified third party, concluding the court case but leaving unresolved the underpinning legal questions.

Comey made clear Tuesday he expects that dialogue to continue.

“The conversation we’ve been trying to have about this has dipped below public consciousness now, and that’s fine,” Comey said at a symposium organized by Symantec, a technology company. “Because what we want to do is collect information this year so that next year we can have an adult conversation in this country.”

The American people, he said, have a reasonable expectation of privacy in private spaces including houses, cars and electronic devices. But that right is not absolute when law enforcement has probable cause to believe that there’s evidence of a crime in one of those places, including a laptop or smartphone.

“With good reason, the people of the United States through judges and law enforcement can invade our private spaces,” Comey said, adding that that “bargain” has been at the center of the country since its inception.

He said it’s not the role of the FBI or tech companies to tell the American people how to live and govern themselves.

“We need to understand in the FBI, how is this exactly affecting our work, and then share that with folks,” Comey said, conceding the American people might ultimately decide that its privacy was more important than “that portion of the room being dark” to the FBI.

He also stood by the Justice Department’s decision to bring indictments against Chinese and Iranian officials in major cyberattack cases in the last two years, rejecting criticism from those who call criminal charges meaningless gestures unlikely to result in convictions.

“We want to lock some people up, so that we send a message that it’s not a freebie to kick in the door, metaphorically, of an American company or private citizen and steal what matters to them,” Comey said. “And if we can’t lock people up, we want to call (them) out. We want to name and shame through indictments, or sanctions, or public relation campaigns who is doing this and exactly what they’re doing.”

Those actions can make a foreign defendant think twice before traveling overseas, and can deter governments. He maintained that there’s been progress with the Chinese government since 2014 indictments that accused five Chinese military officials of siphoning secrets from American corporations.

“We are working hard to make people at keyboards feel our breath on their necks and try to change that behavior,” he said. “We’ve got to get to a point where we can reach them as easily as they can reach us and change behavior by that reach-out.”

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Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

Bay News 9 – business

August 31, 2016 |

Lakeland resident wants name of Lake Horney changed

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Some Lakeland residents are embarrassed by the name of a lake and they would like to see it changed. The name of the lake is Lake Horney.

  • Lake Horney is embarrassing to some residents
  • Up to federal agency whether to change the name

Resident Barry Zimmerman has asked the U.S. Board of Geographic Names to change the name.

Resident MaryJo Williams actually had the front of her house changed to face another direction when she had it remodeled years ago. That way it would face another street and she could change her address. “Because it’s very embarrassing,” she said. “You turn red.”

Kim Combs moved into a home along Lake Horney several months ago. People raise an eyebrow when she tells them the lake’s name.

“They chuckle and sometimes do not so polite names back," she said.

City commissioners have decided to look into the issue by checking with residents near the lake.  

“I don’t live in the neighborhood and if it bothers people it’s only fair we take a look at it,” said Commissioner Don Selvage.

The name of the lake has nothing to do with sex. It’s named after former prominent resident Julius T. Horney.

 MaryJo Williams has gotten over the name of the lake. She now jokes about it with friends. However, she’s not taking a position on the name change issue.

Resident Rachel Blackstone gets a kick out of the name and doesn’t want it changed. 

“Oh come on,” she said. “It’s the name of a lake. Ha, ha, ha."

It will be up to the federal agency whether to change the name.

Bay News 9 – local-news

June 11, 2016 |

Businessman wants to turn Bradenton motel into afforable housing

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Families looking for affordable housing options may soon be in luck in Manatee County.

  • Businessman wants to buy Knights Inn and turn it into affordable housing
  • Manatee County commissioners vote Thursday, 4-3, to re-zone the property
  • The plan includes turning the hotel into furnished apartments with water, electricity and cable

Local businessman, Harvey Vengroff, wants to buy the Knights Inn, located near the intersection of US 301 and US 41, in Bradenton, and turn it into affordable housing.

On Thursday morning, county commissioners voted to re-zone the property, 4 to 3, giving the current property owner 31 days to challenge it.

“We have someone coming in and willing to invest and take a chance to do something that I believe is very great for that area,” said Charles Smith, Manatee County Commissioner.

If there are no problems with the zoning change and everything moves forward, the buyer plans to purchase the property for $ 4.4 million in July and spend another $ 1 million in renovations.

The plans include turning the 220-rooms at the Knights Inn into furnished apartments with water, electricity and cable for only about $ 600 a month. The buyer also wants to add two bedroom apartments onto the property.

“I think the complex is going to bring up the area and bring more jobs here, said Ella Powell, who owns Doolittle Infant Care Center, right across the street from the motel.

While most have shown support for the change, some nearby residents said they are not so sure it will be a good thing for the area.

“We would just like to have something to better the neighborhood and not bring it down,” said Edith West, who has owned a home near the motel with her husband for 51-years.

West said she thinks adding more people to the area could lower their home values.

But, with a lack of affordable housing available in Manatee, those who support the change hope it will bring relief.

Bay News 9 – local-news

June 5, 2016 |
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