FBI director talks cybersecurity at Milwaukee field office - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

FBI director talks cybersecurity at Milwaukee field office

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MILWAUKEE (WKOW) -- The head of the FBI stopped in Milwaukee yesterday and expressed his opinion that the government can fight computer crime without compromising Americans' privacy rights, comparing government monitoring to a police department that stations an officer at a gang-infested park to make it safe for children and families once again.

FBI Director James Comey was in Wisconsin as part of his effort to visit all 56 of the FBI's field offices. He also met with reporters afterward, answering questions about FBI efforts to target violent crimes, stem human trafficking and enforce cybersecurity.

He was asked how the federal government balances fighting crime and respecting the liberty of Americans in cases like the Target Corp. data breach and the recent revealing of the Heartbleed bug.

Comey says he rejects the idea that liberty and security can't co-exist, saying security improves liberty by getting rid of people who would do harm, leaving more freedom for citizens who use the Internet for legitimate reasons.

The Internet is "where children play, it's where our social lives are, it's where our health care is, it's where our money is. Everything is there - and so that's where bad people come to get those things," he said. "... The Internet is a dangerous neighborhood. We need to be there to patrol it. And by being there in a responsible, lawful, carefully overseen way, we can enhance both security and liberty."

Comey declined to answer questions about the National Security Agency's massive surveillance efforts revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, saying he was only in a position to discuss his own agency's practices.

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