To a business owner, encryption is a crucial component to maintain a successful reputation. It allows you to securely protect your data, such as corporate secrets and your customer’s personal information, against hackers and malware.
In the 2016 Presidential Campaign, technology is playing an important role; the candidates are adapting a tech savvy tactic by using social media and big data to run their campaigns. We need our future leader to make decisions on economics, privacy, and cybersecurity for the tech industry and also our personal lives.
National security has become a crucial concern following the attacks on Paris. The candidates have been spending an early portion of their time examining these issues and trying to figure out preventative measures.
Encryption has become a concerning topic. The candidates have spoken out about how they side when it comes to encryption and creating back doors (law enforcement being able to access your information with a warrant). Some are out against encryption and some don’t seem to be entirely sure of where they stand.
How to balance security and privacy has been a tricky one. Although the candidates have spoken out about their stance on the issues, there is not much talk of what exactly they would be willing to do to maintain everyone’s civil right to privacy.
Here is a little insight on how each candidate would govern for encryption if elected:
Hillary has demonstrated she believes in methods to decode encryption other than “back doors” being built-in. That being said, she doesn’t seem to be completely choosing in favor of protecting encryption rights either.
Encryption protects your data transmissions and privacy is your constitutional right, but what happens when the lines between those two get blurred? Hillary’s statements shows she wishes to protect the rights of Americans but she refuses to completely condemn invasive surveillance.
“Maybe the back door isn’t the right door, and I understand what Apple and others are saying about that. I just think there’s got to be a way, and I would hope that our tech companies would work with the government to figure that out.”
Hillary refers to Apple’s promise to keep user’s data encrypted, even with a warrant present. She encourages tech companies to share information with the US government, but wouldn’t this be a violation of your constitutional rights?
Bernie Sanders has always chosen a distinct anti-corporation stance. He has always been against the Patriot Act and wishes to shut down the NSA’s surveillance program altogether, his stance is a little more cut and dried then the others.
“I voted against the USA Patriot Act for many of the reasons that Governor O’Malley mentioned. But it is not only the government that we have to worry about, it is private corporations. You will be amazed, or maybe not, about the amount of information private companies and the government has in terms of the websites that you access, the products that you buy, where you are this very moment.”
Although not completely clear, we can guess that he is against back-doors when it comes to encryption and all for privacy.
It’s not so cut-and-dried in Ted Cruz’s point of view. Being a supporter of the USA Patriot and Freedom Acts, Ted also believes in strong security. Whether he is for stronger or weaker encryption though, is anyone’s guess.
“We don’t leave our constitutional rights behind when we go online. The same commitment to the principles of liberty that made the United States the greatest economic super power that the world has ever seen must prevail in the virtual world as well.” – November 2014 op-ed in the Washington Post
In the 2016 Presidential Campaign, Donald Trump hasn’t shown much knowledge towards the technology world thus far. It can be said he is in favor of “back doors” concerning encryption though; Donald has a view on completely closing certain parts of the Internet in response to terrorist activities.
“We have kids who are watching the Internet and they want to be Masterminds…We’re losing a lot of people because of the Internet and we have to do something. We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them, maybe in certain areas closing that Internet up in some way.”
The Internet is a very complicated world and although unclear what exactly he wants done, it wouldn’t be plausible to “close” certain parts. One can assume, Donald Trump is not particularly one for privacy and all for the “back doors”.
“We need the NSA to be looking in on our lives, or those lives will be in danger.”
Marco Rubio had voted against the USA Freedom Act, claiming it was not invasive enough for his liking. He has been very outspoken when it comes to breaking encryption in the name of the law, he believes:
“The US government should implore American technology companies to co-operate with authorities so we can better track terrorist activity and monitor terrorist communications as we face the increasing challenge of homegrown terrorists radicalized by little more than what they see on the internet.”
The importance of encryption is to imply the constitutional rights to privacy, to allow “back doors” would break those constitutional rights.
“You can’t venerate the warrant as the ultimate control on justice if warrants are being technologically irrelevant by encryption.”
Chris Christie seems to be in support of the NSA and encryption. In a Dec. 15 debate, he supported the use of NSA and intelligence agencies against terrorism.
“What we need to do, Wolf, is restore those tools that have been taken away by the President and others, restore those tools to the NSA and to our entire surveillance and law enforcement community. We need a president and a cabinet who understands that the first and most important priority of the president of the United States is to protect the safety and security of the Americans.”
But, last year he had signed into law a bill that requires enhanced encryption for health care records. It seems he understands the importance of strong encryption but also wants to support the means for NSA to collect data.
Ben Carson hasn’t had much to say regarding encryption, but during a Bloomberg Politics breakfast briefing, he said:
“I don’t necessarily think I want to ban encryption, but we have some pretty talented people — not only in the government but in the private sector. Encryption specialists. We need to be taking advantage of the broad swath of talent that we have in this country.”
Creating an encryption “back door” could create an opening for vicious attackers to expose important and classified information. There may be “encryption specialists” but cyber attackers are becoming increasingly professional. Encryption should be strong and without weakness.
Ben Carson seems to be rocking on both sides of the boat, unsure of which side to steady on.
John Kasich seems to be in favor of encryption “back doors”, referring to a situation when husband and wife terrorists Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik had plotted a terrorist attack:
“The people in San Bernardino were communicating with people who the FBI had been watching, but because their phone was encrypted, it was lost. We have to solve that encryption problem.”
Encryption isn’t much of a problem as it is a solution to protecting all datasets and users against hackers. The couple did not use encrypted phone calls but rather private conversations on Facebook.
It is safe to say Jeb Bush is completely against encryption,
“If you create encryption, it makes it harder for the American government to do its job – while protecting civil liberties – to make sure evildoers aren’t in our midst.”
It seems Jeb Bush thinks there should be more cooperation when it comes to cybersecurity and that Apple and Google among other tech companies should be more willing to be cooperative with their strongly encrypted private communication applications.
Doing this would break trust between the companies and its users. Encryption is something avid tech users depend greatly upon; ensuring the technology they use is strongly secured from hackers and malware.
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