New York [U.S.], Mar. 9 : Warning that there is no such thing as absolute privacy in the United States, FBI Director James Comey has asserted that there is no place for the agency out of judicial reach.
Speaking at a Boston College conference on Cybersecurity, Comey made the statement while he discussed the rise of encryption since 2013 disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed sensitive US spy practices, reports CNN.
"Even our communications with our spouses, with our clergy members, with our attorneys are not absolutely private in America.
In appropriate circumstances, a judge can compel any one of us to testify in court about those very private communications," he said.
However, he admitted that Americans have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes, cars and in their devices.
"It is a vital part of being an American. The government cannot invade our privacy without good reason, reviewable in court," Comey continued. In the last four months of 2016, the FBI lawfully gained access to 2,800 devices recovered in criminal, terrorism and counterintelligence investigations and the FBI was unable to open 43% of those devices, Comey said.
"We all value privacy. We all value security. We should never have to sacrifice one for the other. Our founders struck a bargain that is at the center of this amazing country of ours and has been for over two centuries," he added.
Comey's term in FBI has been marked by controversy following the agency probing into Hillary Clinton's email controversy and President Donald Trump's accusations that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of phones at Trump Tower.