By Julian Hattem - 09/25/14 03:25 PM EDT
FBI Director James Comey on Thursday said he is “very concerned” about new privacy protections that Apple and Google are placing on their phones.
According to the Huffington Post, Comey told reporters that he is "a huge believer in the rule of law, but I am also a believer that no one in this country is above the law.”
Last week, both Apple and Google announced that new iPhones and Android devices would automatically come loaded with encryption technology automatically preventing anyone without a passcode — even police holding a warrant — from accessing pictures, notes and other messages on the phone.
The move is part an increasing trend in Silicon Valley for companies to compete with one another to boost privacy, and was greeted enthusiastically by civil liberties advocates.
Some law enforcement officials and like-minded lawmakers have raised alarms, though, worrying that it could unfairly tie the hands of police trying to solve a case.
Police will likely not be totally locked out, however. They could theoretically force a phone's owner to enter their passcode, or else get information from a storage service like Apple’s iCloud, which will not be automatically encrypted.
Still, critics warn that those extra steps could make police and intelligence officials jump through hoops when trying to solve a murder or stop a terrorist.
"There will come a day — well it comes every day in this business — when it will matter a great, great deal to the lives of people of all kinds that we be able to, with judicial authorization, gain access to a kidnapper's or a terrorist or a criminal's device,” Comey said, according to the Huffington Post.
“I just want to make sure we have a good conversation in this country before that day comes,” he added.
“I'd hate to have people look at me and say, 'Well how come you can't save this kid?’ 'How come you can't do this thing?' "