Although I sympathize with the needs of law enforcement, I fear that my libertarian soul sides with the bad guys on this one.
By “bad guys,” I mean us -- people -- individuals -- who are
not happy at the thought of governments snooping around our private
lives. When the head of the FBI says to the tech companies, “Please help
us,” he is in effect saying to ordinary users, “Please trust us.” And that’s where the problem lies.
Little in recent history -- or, for that
matter, not-so-recent history -- offers any particular reason to believe
that government officials, once granted a power, will use it sparingly.
It's not just that they can't be trusted to use it sparingly; they can't be trusted to only use it for legitimate purposes, to keep information secret... hell, they can't be trusted. Period.
High-ranking officials lie to Congress, and submit false documents; when was the last time one of them paid any real price? Comey violated ethics(at the least), and it took how long for someone to kick his ass out? Intelligence services turn out to have been violating the law on a regular basis: any one punished for that? The damned IRS violated both federal law and its own regulations; anybody fired for it? Prosecuted?
The damned BATFE violated a bloody INTERNATIONAL BORDER, and only God knows how many bodies have been piled up in connection with their crap, and NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THE BASTARDS INVOLVED WAS PROSECUTED. Or even fired.
And we're supposed to trust ANY of these bastards?