FBI director James Comey has suggested that an international agreement between governments could ease fears about IT products with government-mandated backdoors, but privacy advocates are doubtful.Speaking on Thursday, Comey suggested that\u00a0the U.S. might work with other countries on a \u201cframework\u201d for creating legal access to encrypted tech devices.\u201cI could imagine a community of nations committed to the rule of law developing a set of norms, a framework, for when government access is appropriate,\u201d he said on Thursday.Comey made his comments at the University of Texas at Austin, when trying to address a key concern facing U.S. tech firms in the encryption debate: the fear that providing government access to their products might dampen their business abroad.Critics have said this government access amounts to a \u201cbackdoor\u201d into tech products that essentially weakens a device\u2019s security, putting consumers at risk.But another worry is the business impact. Customers might prefer non-U.S. products that don't have law enforcement access.On Thursday, Comey said: \u201cI don\u2019t want to be any part of chasing the innovation from this great country to other places.\u201dHowever, he said that other nations such as France, Germany and the U.K. are also trying to solve the problem faced by law enforcement access to encrypted data. That might result in \u201cinconsistent standards\u201d that hurt the U.S. companies, when it comes to their international business.\u201cThere\u2019s a danger that we, the mother and father of all this innovation, will be the last to solve it (the encryption problem),\u201d he said.Comey didn\u2019t elaborate further on his idea, but privacy experts are calling it unrealistic.\u201cI don\u2019t think it makes sense,\u201d said Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California Berkeley.Comey\u2019s idea means that all countries will essentially agree to weaken the security in their vendors\u2019 tech products, Weaver said. However, other countries will balk, fearing that the U.S. might exploit the cooperation for spying purposes.\u201cWould you still use a U.S. product, even if you know the NSA (National Security Agency) could have the rights to it?\u201d he said.Others think any mandated government access to tech devices risks cyberespionage from U.S. rivals. \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u201cOnce you build that backdoor good luck trying to keep the Russians and Chinese out,\u201d said Nate Cardozo, an attorney with the privacy advocate the Electronic Frontier Foundation.Nevertheless, the FBI director has been more vocal in recent weeks about reigniting the encryption debate.On Thursday, he said the FBI had been trying to unlock 2,800 electronic devices, collected from federal agents and local police in criminal investigations. However, the FBI has failed to open 43 percent of them, even with classified techniques.Although private companies are generating today\u2019s technology, Comey said: \u201ctheir job is not to decide how the American people should live. The American people should decide how they live.\u201dLast year, the FBI publicly feuded with Apple over gaining access to a locked iPhone from the San Bernardino shooter. But\u00a0on Thursday, Comey said the tech industry can find an approach that creates government access, while keeping malicious actors out.\u201cI reject the, \u2018it\u2019s impossible\u2019 response,\u201d he said. \u201cI just think we haven\u2019t actually tried it.\u201dCardozo said he doesn\u2019t think Comey\u2019s comments did much to convince anyone in Silicon Valley.\u201cIt\u2019s childish to stomp your foot, and say, \u2018nerds you have to try harder,\u2019\u201d Cardozo said.Weaver said that both the tech industry and FBI have valid arguments in the encryption debate, but both sides are \u201ctalking past each other.\u201dHowever, unlike Comey, he doesn't see any middle ground in the encryption debate. "They (the FBI) are asking for something that cannot be done, without significantly weakening the systems," he said.\u00a0Float your comments to our Facebook page.