We can answer tougher encryption
Regarding the July 9 news article “FBI chief: ISIS using encrypted communication”:
FBI Director James B. Comey raised the alarming specter of terrorist communications “rendered unreadable” by strong encryption. The real situation is not so dire, given the existence of techniques that bypass encryption instead of attacking it head-on. For instance, spyware or physical devices can be planted directly in phones and computers, allowing messages to be intercepted in clear text as they are typed into a keyboard or read from the screen display. Even without direct access, intercepting a device’s electronic noise emissions and reconstructing keystrokes and displays can achieve the same result.
Admittedly, these techniques require a significant investment of labor and equipment for each target. Thus, they are suitable only for narrowly targeted surveillance of individual suspects and are not practical for bulk surveillance. Since I’m sure that Mr. Comey is sincere about wishing to conduct only the former, I’m pleased to set his mind at ease on the non-threat of going dark.