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James Comey Talks Dangers of Disappearing Data, Takes Jabs at Trump

James Comey at OpenText Enfuse 2018

(Pictured above: Mark Barrenechea (left), OpenText’s vice chair, CEO and CTO, and former FBI director James Comey on stage at OpenText Enfuse, May 23.)

OPENTEXT ENFUSE — Increasingly large swaths of American life are becoming off limits to jurisdiction via encryption, while the private sector has more access to and control over Americans’ personal information than the federal government.

That’s what James Comey, former director of the FBI, told attendees during his keynote at OpenText’s Enfuse 2018 conference in Las Vegas. Comey, who was abruptly fired by President Trump last year, continues to criticize the president.

Without addressing Trump by name, he made sly jabs, such as pointing out that the presidency is an extremely busy job and “one would hope so busy [he] can’t watch TV all day.” Comey also said as a longtime Republican, he was “worried about nuts” taking over the party. Attendees gave him a standing ovation.

In terms of security, Comey said the biggest collector of Americans’ data is outside the federal government. The private sector is free to do what it wants with that information with no regulation. And with encryption, a lot of vital information needed for law enforcement is disappearing, he said. There used to be a tradeoff in that your information was private until the government needed to see it, he said.

“If I can’t find that photo … I can’t lock up that pedophile,” he said.

Mark Barrenechea, OpenText’s vice chair, CEO and CTO, said in the aftermath of the Facebook data harvesting scandal, his company shut down its use of the social-media site as a corporate tool.

“We knew data was being used, but not to what extent, and it was being turned over to third parties and could be weaponized,” he said. “So we thought that broke trust with customers who [interacted with OpenText on Facebook]. It was a hard decision. We generate pipeline; we communicate this way, etc.”

Once trust is restored, “we’re happy to return to that platform,” Barrenechea said.

Also Wednesday, Gary Weiss, OpenText’s senior vice president and general manager of security, discovery and analytics, spoke with Channel Partners about his company’s increasing security capabilities through acquisitions, such as its purchase last fall of Guidance Software.

“My job has evolved as we’ve acquired more companies, and as we continue to acquire more companies, we continue to add businesses into my portfolio,” he said. “Security is a really big focus for us.”

E-discovery has been a focus for OpenText since its acquisition of Recommind, and when OpenText acquired EndCase eDiscovery from Guidance, “we also acquired one of the leading discovery type of technologies based on the EndCase agent,” Weiss said.

“One of the great opportunities for channel partners is …

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