When is 7,775 actually only 1,200? When the FBI is talking about encrypted phones that the bureau couldn\u2019t unlock. Come to find out all that talk about the "Going Dark" problem is more like a counting problem blamed on poor programming and multiple databases.As reported by the Washington Post, the FBI grossly overstated the encryption threat figures. FBI Director Christopher Wray repeatedly trotted out 7,775 \u2014 usually rounded up to 7,800 \u2014 as the number of encrypted mobile devices the FBI was unable to hack into during 2017. It was used again and again by the FBI to pound home its need for backdoors into encryption.Wray said that to Congress, to the public, and even during a speech at a cybersecurity conference in January 2018. After claiming the bureau does support \u201cinformation security measures, including strong encryption,\u201d Wray added that those \u201csecurity programs need to be thoughtfully designed so they don\u2019t undermine the lawful tools we need to keep this country safe.\u201dWhile the FBI and law enforcement happen to be on the front lines of this problem, this is an urgent public safety issue for all of us. Because as horrifying as 7,800* in one year sounds, it\u2019s going to be a lot worse in just a couple of years if we don\u2019t find a responsible solution.The asterisk was just recently added, as was the notation: \u201c* Due to an error in methodology, this number is incorrect. A review is ongoing to determine an updated number.\u201dThe Washington Post reported that the real number of locked phones is closer to 1,200, according to an internal estimate conducted last week.\u201cThe FBI\u2019s initial assessment is that programming errors resulted in significant over-counting of mobile devices reported,\u2019\u2019 the FBI said in a statement Tuesday. The bureau said the problem stemmed from the use of three distinct databases that led to repeated counting of phones. Tests of the methodology conducted in April 2016 failed to detect the flaw, according to people familiar with the work.If the 1,200 is even correct, then the FBI managed to count each locked phone over 6.479 times to reach the 7,775 number. The FBI has been aware of the \u201cmiscount\u201d for about a month; the actual number of locked devices in 2017 will eventually be determined after the FBI completes an audit.Still, the bureau maintains, \u201cGoing Dark remains a serious problem for the FBI, as well as other federal, state, local and international law enforcement partners. ... The FBI will continue pursuing a solution that ensures law enforcement can access evidence of criminal activity with appropriate legal authority.\u201dElectronic Frontier Foundation responds to FBI's 'programming errors'Commenting upon the newly revealed FBI \u201cprogramming errors\u201d and the bureau\u2019s inflated number of unhackable phones, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Staff Attorney Andrew Crocker wrote, \u201cFrankly, we\u2019re not surprised. FBI Director Christopher Wray and others argue that law enforcement needs some sort of backdoor \u2018exceptional access\u2019 in order to deal with the increased adoption of encryption, particularly on mobile devices.\u201dScoffing at the scope of the FBI\u2019s \u2018Going Dark\u2019 problem, the EFF wonders \u201chow and why the FBI finds itself thwarted by so many locked phones\u201d when third-party solutions from vendors such as Cellebrite and Grayshift \u201ccan reportedly bypass encryption on even the newest phones.\u201dTo that end, the EFF submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request \u201cto the FBI and other Department of Justice agencies to get some straight answers about approximately 7,800 supposedly unhackable cellphones.\u201dKevin Bankston, director of New America\u2019s Open Technology Institute, added:For years, the FBI has been pushing for backdoors into encrypted mobile devices based on broad claims that law enforcement is \u2018going dark\u2019, even as practically every expert outside of law enforcement has made clear that doing so would seriously undermine our cybersecurity, our digital privacy, and our tech economy. Now, it turns out that the FBI\u2019s claims were based on bad math and the problem is only a small fraction of what we were originally told \u2014 making it all the more clear that Congress should refuse the FBI\u2019s call for legislation that would undermine the security of our smartphones.What is still unclear, however, is just how the FBI could have made such a massive mistake on such an important issue, and repeatedly given false information in sworn testimony to Congress. We call on the Justice Department's Inspector General to open a new investigation to find the answer to that question, and on the FBI to finally drop its misguided crusade to undermine encryption.