Hillary Clinton Sought Apple and Google’s Blessing on Her Encryption Stance

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign sought Apple and Google’s opinion on its position on encryption.

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Hillary Clinton Sought Apple and Google’s Blessing on Her Encryption Stance

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign sought Apple and Google’s opinion on its position on encryption.

According to the leaked emails by the Clinton camp obtained by Wikileaks, campaign operatives asked Apple and Google for their thoughts on the candidate’s comments regarding encryption. The campaign apparently sought the two tech giants’ blessing in helping Secretary Clinton craft a stance that would have a full cooperation of some of the largest tech companies.

The email exchange, where Clinton operative Sara Solow reports on the results of her communications with Apple and Google, quotes a response from who appears to be Nick Ammann, Apple’s Director of Global Government Operations:

From my contact Nick at Apple. Looks good. Just heard that Google is good too.

“Hi Sara,

Thanks! Yes, it was great. I got the clip to Tim last night. Definitely struck the right tone. As an FYI, Tim is doing 60 min tonight and encryption does get mentioned. Similar language - no backdoors, can't make them for just the good guys.

Thanks again.

Nick.”

Clinton’s cautious stance on encryption still presents challenges

The decision to work closely with Apple and Google to craft a policy position on encryption reflects Clinton’s desire to strike a measured balance between keeping avenues open for the government to access encrypted data, and not falling on the pro-encryption community’s bad side. Her position so far stands against mandating the creation of backdoors on all encrypted devices and services for government use, but instead prefers to rely on hacking and the use of third party services to exploit vulnerabilities in encryption to access data on a case-by-case basis.

This position, however, presents an issue regarding the non-disclosure of security vulnerabilities. A system that relies on weaknesses in encryption has no incentive to repair that weakness, and therefore will not report its findings to the general public. This could mean a world where data integrity is intentionally left compromised and the government bets against strong encryption.

Clinton’s issues with data leaks keep piling up

While trying to craft an intelligent position on encryption as a potential future leader of the free world, Clinton has had to battle the consequences of her own issues with data security. A series of large data dumps by Wikileaks revealed thousands of emails between Clinton and various campaign staff and party officials, including embarrassing revelations about hot mic disparaging comments and plans to undermine her opponent in the primary, Bernie Sanders.

Possibly as a result of these vulnerabilities, the Clinton campaign reportedly now employs Signal encrypted messenger by Open Whisper Systems, personally recommended by Edward Snowden, for internal communications.

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