Hillary Clinton Continues To Say Ridiculous Things About Encryption… Without Ever Taking A Real Position

from the because-politics dept

Hillary Clinton certainly has a reputation as a true “politician” — able to say things without actually saying things. And it appears that’s absolutely true when it comes to questions about encryption and backdoors. Back in November, she made comments that pretty clearly suggested that she supported undermining encryption, even as her tech advisers flipped out in arguing she said no such thing. Of course, it was all political tap dancing, signalling things to both sides without actually being pinned down on anything. The key was after saying that encryption was “a particularly tough problem” she said:


So we need Silicon Valley not to view government as its adversary. We need to challenge our best minds in the private sector to work with our best minds in the public sector to develop solutions that will both keep us safe and protect our privacy.

But, of course, that’s the exact same language that FBI Director James Comey had used previously in arguing for a backdoor — that if only Silicon Valley would “work with” the FBI and put its “brightest minds” to the task, there must be some way to create a backdoor. But, again, that ignores the real problem that technologists have raised over and over again. The problem is not in creating a backdoor. Anyone can create a backdoor. The problem is creating a backdoor that only the “good guys” can use. You automatically undermine the safety and security of encryption for everyone when you create a backdoor. That’s the problem.

But Clinton is trying to work both sides here. She says stuff that’s a dog whistle to law enforcement types about backdooring encryption, without ever actually admitting she supports backdooring encryption. She later doubled down on these dog whistle statements in a TV interview on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

And then, the issue came up again at this past weekend’s Democratic Presidential debate, where Clinton again made bizarre comments that didn’t really say anything directly, but sure suggested some strange beliefs. From coverage at DailyDot:


Clinton first said that she was “very pleased” to see Obama administration officials meet with tech executives to discuss ways to counter violent extremism online—a meeting at which the more contentious encryption debate was also raised. Debate moderator Andrea Mitchell then pointed out that the tech companies had rebuffed the administration’s demands at that meeting. In response, Clinton said, “That is not what I’ve heard. Let me leave it at that.”

That’s an interesting claim. There was plenty of discussion about the meeting, and in particular, the fact that the encryption issue was only raised because Comey refused to participate if that wasn’t on the agenda. And multiple parties have revealed that the “discussion” on encryption appeared to focus on Apple CEO Tim Cook berating the White House officials for not taking a clear public stance on supporting strong encryption.

Given that, Clinton’s “that’s not what I heard” statement sounds like complete bullshit. Dailydot asked the Clinton campaign for more details, and in typical political fashion, the campaign continued tapdancing:


Asked which meeting topic she was referring to, a Clinton campaign spokesman said in an email, “As you can see from the transcript, she was referring to general intelligence cooperation, not specifically about encryption.” But public reporting suggests that the tech companies did rebuff the administration, and the spokesman declined to say where Secretary Clinton was getting her information to the contrary. He also declined to say whether Secretary Clinton supported backdoors.

Of course, none of the other candidates on the stage with Clinton were any good on the issue either. Martin “who’s that third guy on the stage?” O’Malley made it clear he didn’t even know what the debate was about with his comment:


I believe whether it’s a back door or a front door that the American principle of law should still hold that our federal government should have to get a warrant, whether they want to come through the back door or your front door.

And I also agree, Lester, with Benjamin Franklin, who said, no people should ever give up their privacy or their freedoms in a promise for security.

So we’re a collaborative people. We need collaborative leadership here with Silicon Valley and other bright people in my own state of Maryland and around the NSA that can actually figure this out.

But there are certain immutable principles that will not become antique things in our country so long as we defend our country and its values and its freedoms. And one of those things is our right to be secure in our homes, and our right to expect that our federal government should have to get a warrant.

I also want to the say that while we’ve made some progress on the Patriot Act, I do believe that we need an adversarial court system there. We need a public advocate. We need to develop jurisprudence so that we can develop a body of law that protects the privacy of Americans in the information and digital age.

Everyone’s focused on that first sentence. Except that no one’s debating the warrant question. It’s about whether or not the backdoors should exist. And O’Malley doesn’t even touch that, though he does add in another “Silicon Valley” and “bright people” can work with the NSA to “figure this out.” Again, that totally misses the point.

And then there was Bernie Sanders, who tried to make it about the big bad internet companies and then, again, suggested that if only Silicon Valley worked on the problem, it could all be figured out:


SANDERS: OK. I just wanted to add, in the previous question, 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 would all be amazed, or maybe not, about the amount of information private companies and the government has in terms of the Web sites that you access, the products that you buy, where you are this very moment.

And it is very clear to me that public policy has not caught up with the explosion of technology. So yes, we have to work with Silicon Valley to make sure that we do not allow ISIS to transmit information…

HOLT: But in terms of lone wolves, the threat, how would you do it?

SANDERS: Right. What we have got to do there is, among other things, as I was just saying, have Silicon Valley help us to make sure that information being transmitted through the Internet or in other ways by ISIS is, in fact, discovered.

But I do believe we can do that without violating the constitutional and privacy rights of the American people.

Again, that’s got nothing to do with the debate at hand. Also, if the question was about “lone wolves” then those are people who are not actually communicating with ISIS.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a single presidential candidate who actually understood this particular issue?

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Comments on “Hillary Clinton Continues To Say Ridiculous Things About Encryption… Without Ever Taking A Real Position”

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66 Comments
Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: In regards to the title...

well… the two that matter the most at this time.

The entire purpose of a Political Party is to usurp the will of the people so that elected persons can be cowed and threatened when necessary to keep them in line and towing the party line.

Two good examples of this are Trump and Cruz and how they have shaken up the Republican Party. Hated by the establishment because they cannot be controlled. It does not matter if the political person is honest or a liar, regardless of any personal agenda, all the need to be is electable and controllable to be of use to the power brokers that want you to believe they are anything but.

Another good example might be Hillary. She is becoming uncontrollable which is why the party has been distancing itself from her. Shit that used to slide off seems to be sticking a bit more now, and it is certainly not because the Democratic Party or the voters have somehow recently become disdained with corruption. Like the Republicans… they absolutely love their corruption… so long as that corruption gets them what they want politically.

The Citizens have sown corruption in the government through their adoration of one party over another, and we are truly reaping this today.

The citizens often get the government they ‘work’ for despite it possibly not being the one they thought they wanted.

Strawbsays:

Misunderstanding Benjamin Franklin

And I also agree, Lester, with Benjamin Franklin, who said, no people should ever give up their privacy or their freedoms in a promise for security.

It’s getting slightly annoying that people keep using this quote when they’re talking about civil liberties in relation to security, because it’s taking the quote completely out of context. Ben Franklin was talking about taxes and the ability to raise money for the defense against French and Indian attacks, not giving up liberties for the idea of security.

JonCsays:

Clinton said, ?That is not what I’ve heard. Let me leave it at that.?

Hmm… Clinton shouldn’t have heard anything other than what the public heard. She doesn’t currently hold a public office that would give her a reason to have heard anything you or I can’t. Sounds like someone may be leaking information. Obama should force her to give up her source so he can persecute, I mean prosecute, the leaker.

AnonJrsays:

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a single presidential candidate who actually understood this particular issue?

Hell, I’d settle for someone willing to admit that they don’t understand… even better would be one that recognized that they don’t understand, are getting some bad advice, and hired a more competent adviser.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

I think what we’ve actually got here is three candidates who understand the issue well enough to know that if they directly answer the question, they’ll likely lose votes.

So they have three unique ways of not answering the question, but answering a related question which they feel will cememt votes instead of dividing their potential supporters.

From the responses, I’d say:
Clinton supports back-room talks
O’Malley supports stronger judicial oversight
Sanders supports stronger industry regulation

Ryunosukesays:

Actually Mike, There is a fundamental base problem that no one is talking about.

There is a fundamental base problem that absolutely no one is talking about when the backdoor discussion comes up. It is one of trust. The citizens shouldn’t trust the govt, and for good reason. But… alternatively, the Govt doesn’t trust the citizens either.

First the Govt side, they don’t trust us is apparent with San Bernadino, Charleston, etc. They cannot trust us to not do something terrible.

Alternatively, We are stating that backdoors Cannot work because of two reasons, 1) some teenage highschool hacker can (and will) find it and use it, which will lead to more of the former statement. But more importantly, and less discussed, is 2) How can we trust our Govt to be “The Good Guys”? As evident with the LOVEINT debacle. And ANY calls for transparency will be met with deaf ears, when FOIA’s will be 10 years late, and 90% redacted.

Just my two cents.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: A thousand points of lies

several decades of election results make it clear…

‘The People’ love being fooled… in fact if you look at the average citizen being more corrupt than the politicians they vote for, you can being to see how we got in this situation to begin with.

Politicians knowingly fool others, but often never themselves. The People usually fool others by first… fooling themselves. There is just no cure for a person who has purchased their own foolishness.

If you liked Bush but hated Obama or liked Obama but hated Bush. Then you are THAT PERSON!

OldMugwumpsays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: A thousand points of lies

It certainly fits with my experience of Americans.

70% or so want goodies from government, and for somebody else to pay for them.

This applies equally to both major parties (and many of the minor ones).

Somehow there’s a moral elision going on…if government does the stealing, then it’s legal. And if it’s legal, it must be moral. So, please – go steal on my behalf.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A thousand points of lies

“70% or so want goodies from government, and for somebody else to pay for them.”

Ok, let’s pretend this 70% number is based upon real data.
1) US population ~ 322 million (all ages included as it was not specified)
2) 70% ~ 225 million

How many of these 225 million want tax breaks for their businesses?
vs
How many of these 225 million simply need something to eat?

Approx 40 million live below the poverty level. Of those, approx 9 million hold down full time jobs. Many employers do not pay employees enough to live. If a business can not survive without taxpayer subsidy then perhaps they should just go bankrupt. I am sick and tired of subsidizing the likes of the Waltons and other leaches.

I have read elsewhere that approx 50% of Americans receive some form of assistance or another. This number is too low. Since I drove my vehicle on a government built highway this morning in order to get to work, I must be one of those evil Takerz. So anyway – let’s use 161 million.

225 – 161 = 64. So who are these greedy basturds that make up the 64 million and why do they think they deserve a handout?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A thousand points of lies

Goodies from the government? That’s what a government does: provides services for its citizens, who pool a portion of their money via taxes to pay for that government and those services.

Calling government services ‘goodies’ is like saying that insurance companies give policy-holders ‘prize money’ with which to pay doctors.

As far as the ‘stealing’ goes, when you notice your government is stealing from you and you realize that there’s no short-term way to stop it, you try to balance the scales just a tad by grifting a little bit back. Problem? It’s easier to steal money ‘back’ the more money you already have.

Then corporate capture and regulatory capture crash into each other, fuse together, and when the smoke clears you find Congress filled with Comcast customer support personnel… actually, I guess nothing changes. Never mind.

OldMugwumpsays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A thousand points of lies

I’m not calling services “goodies”.

I’m talking about the sort of thing we talk about Techdirt every day – copyright law, patent law, restrictions on competition, make-work bureaucracy, etc. etc.

Every one of these things are driven by some kind of special interest or other – people who think their industry, their job, their profession – are somehow more important than everyone else’s and so deserve special rules that make life easier for them.

At the expense of everyone else.

And who can deliver these special rules?

Government. Because if anyone else what they’re asking, it would be considered a crime.

When government doesn’t it, nobody goes to jail, because no laws are broken. But it’s still a crime.

And yes, I think about 70% of the population supports it.

tqksays:

Re: Re:

Hillary Clinton continues to say ridiculous things about (insert pretty much any topic here).

While HRC is certainly among the worst of them, you could’ve used a variable in there and covered the whole field: $presidential_candidate continues …”

These people are running for the top political job in the USA, the biggest gorilla in the room! Not one of them should be considered for the job, except as a spoiler to keep the others from getting it. That is very sad! Anyone who’d do the job as it should be done wouldn’t even consider running because the game is such a rigged mess in favor of vacuous puppets who’ll do what the puppeteers want done. Lawrence Lessig, who’s ten times as knowledgeable as all of them combined, was pretty much laughed off the stage leaving it to these idiots. He’s not a career politician so he’s got a reasonable excuse.

Watching US politics is like wondering why that plugged up toilet down the hall is still plugged up, and it’s been two weeks now, damnit! It’s stinking to high heaven and I wish someone would do something to fix the damned thing. The US’ education system is certainly earning every lousy thing anyone’s ever said about it.

tqksays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Q.E.D.

Blaming the education system for political corruption? – Wow.

You believe political corruption exists in a vacuum? Wow. Who “educates” the voters? The whole world laughs at the US’ education system. “The US teaches its youth world geography by invading it.” Yuk, yuk, yuk. 😛

And why stop at US politics? Rest of the world must be doing a-ok.

The rest of the world isn’t the biggest gorilla in the room, idiot!

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well, that proves it.

Oh – and name calling really does add credence to your rant.

So, there you have it. Do not go to school kids, because all you will learn there is how to be a corrupt politician. Oh, and you will also learn that business is completely devoid of any and all corruption.

Have a nice day 🙂

tqksays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Q.E.D.

Well, that proves it.

That’s funny. 🙂 You do know what “quod erat demonstrandum” means, I hope?

Oh – and name calling really does add credence to your rant.

You’re the one who doesn’t appear to be able to read. Wear it with pride.

Oh, and you will also learn that business is completely devoid of any and all corruption.

How did that manage to get dragged in here, and what’s that got to do with what I wrote? I am no fan of modern corporate capitalism. I’d be first in line to vote for nuking both Wall St. and the Federal Reserve, but they’re not tasked with arming the population with knowledge as to how democracy works or fails.

Schools should limit themselves to teaching the “Three Rs.” Anyone can do much better on their own for the rest, especially nowadays. Modern mainstream education systems fail miserably at it, and in fact cause far more damage than enlightenment.

Anonymoussays:

the encryption issue was only raised because Comey refused to participate if that wasn’t on the agenda. And multiple parties have revealed that the “discussion” on encryption appeared to focus on Apple CEO Tim Cook berating the White House officials for not taking a clear public stance on supporting strong encryption.

Wait a minute… there’s something else going on here.

If my boss sends me an email telling me to be at a meeting with the public discussing something I’m involved with, I don’t get to refuse to go unless they specifically discuss it.

If an officer in the military tells an underling to go do something, they don’t get to say “only on these conditions.”

So where does Comey get off refusing direct instructions from Obama? Doesn’t Comey report directly to him?

Anonymoussays:

Could we all stop wetting our pants over ISIS?

Anybody who’s afraid of ISIS is a pussy. And a moron. ISIS is a disorganized incompetent rabble with very little effective military power, limited sphere of influence, and almost no ability to pose a serious threat to anybody not in their backyard.

Yet there is apparently this perception that they’re an existential threat to the United States (and various European countries). This comes from two sources: (1) ISIS itself, which of course is deploying propaganda intended to inflate its reputation in order to make it more attractive to potential recruits (2) grandstanding western politicians who are using it as the threat du jour in order to provide cover for pro-surveillance, anti-encryption, pro-militarization, anti-immgration, etc., policies.

In reality, ISIS could be taken out by the Chicago PD — that is, if they could stop eating donuts and torturing people in clandestine sites long enough to pay attention.

They’re a pimple on the ass of the Middle East, no more. And if the US wanted them gone, then they could obliterate them in a day.

But then of course there wouldn’t be a bogeyman, and well, that’s politically inconvenient. So it won’t happen.

But in the meantime, please, any time a politician or reporter or anyone else claims that ISIS poses a threat: silence them. A right cross to the jaw might be the best method.

Ninjasays:

Re: Re: Could we all stop wetting our pants over ISIS?

slow clap

Agreed. 100%. And I’d add more here: they are so bad they can’t target high profile people. You know, the ones really responsible for whatever they think it’s wrong. They just target no named, innocent citizens in some easily accessed area. I can do that anytime, nobody would notice. You have plenty ways of building a sizable bomb without raising much suspicion (gardening materials excluded).

ISIS is already bending over them weight of their own size and craziness. We should take measures to tackle them? Absolutely. But spreading FUD, working based on fear does not work, censoring speech does not work. Stop doing what created them is a good start. Dealing with the issue objectively instead of all emotionally is another good step.

tqksays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Could we all stop wetting our pants over ISIS?

But spreading FUD, working based on fear does not work, censoring speech does not work.

It does work, if you’re a politician relying on fear mongering to enlarge your influence.

The depressing bit is how ridiculously easy it is to undercut these attempts. All it takes is educating and informing the ignorant as to the facts of reality. It’d be nice if we could still expect that sort of thing from journalism these days, but it seems most prefer to rely on sensationalism instead to pay the bills.

This isn’t a complex problem, just a large sized one. Why aren’t there more outfits like The Intercept out there? If I were a journalist, I’d sure prefer to be working for the likes of them, instead of all the rest serving up mainstream pablum.

Anonymoussays:

The irrelevancy of the current presidential candidates

Why have you Americani got so caught up in the current crop of irrelevant presidential candidates?

None of them matter as your current President will be entering his third Presidential term at the conclusion of his second term. It will only take one of his presidential orders to suspend the elections and he gets his third term without anybody having to vote. It only requires a specific set of events to bring this about and he is currently working on this with his cabinet and security forces.

He has already been talking about his third term publicly so why all this focus on the smokescreen candidates?

You should be more concerned about what he is actually doing and not with what the next crop is saying or raving about.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: The irrelevancy of the current presidential candidates

Who is Alex Jones when he is out of the office? I take it he is some right wing americano?

All you have to do is look for the video clips of your presidenta making these statements. He is one sly and crooked right wing fanatic (irrespective of his public left wing leanings).

You americani have a strange system where no matter what party they purport to belong to, the last few presidente have all been men of the same club. Your current set of candidates have no chance.

You might be better having your second war of independence, but we know the sheep in wolves clothing ain’t gonna do anything about getting rid of the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

naschsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The irrelevancy of the current presidential candidates

All you have to do is look for the video clips of your presidenta making these statements.

You didn’t fall for this satire did you?

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/may/23/chain-email/rumors-third-barack-obama-term-are-satire-passed-t/

Or if you’re still going to stick by your claim, could you please provide some links to these videos?

Personanongratasays:

The Queen of Duplicity Believes in Unicorns

Hillary Clinton Continues To Say Ridiculous Things About Encryption… Without Ever Taking A Real Position

The junior carpet bagging senator from NY is quite adept at speaking from both sides of her mouth and her buttocks.

In a just world the giggling murderer and war criminal aka. the 67th US Secretary of State Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton would be hauled into court to answer for her crimes against the US Constitution and humanity (eg her rubberstamp AUMF 2003 in Iraq and the humanitarian bombing campaign in Libya in 2011).

?We came; we saw; he died,? was her sickening fraction of a human being mantra.

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/10/22/hillary-clintons-failed-libya-doctrine-2/

MrTroysays:

Just had a thought while reading an article here about the MPAA… Hollywood seems to have a voice in the whitehouse, why not get them to help in the “war on encryption”?

Forget about insecure banking, nobody really understands that stuff anyway, or what the ramifications really mean. Way too vague. Try telling Hollywood that it’s going to become illegal to use encryption to stop people from copying movies and TV shows, and we’ll see how quickly the politicians get educated!

Wendy Cockcroftsays:

Damn it, Bernie, learn how the internet works!

Oh, Bernie! Please take the time out to learn how the internet works and stop copying Hillary. We like you because you’re not her!

So yes, we have to work with Silicon Valley to make sure that we do not allow ISIS to transmit information?

…have Silicon Valley help us to make sure that information being transmitted through the Internet or in other ways by ISIS is, in fact, discovered.

But I do believe we can do that without violating the constitutional and privacy rights of the American people.

Please explain how you could achieve this without resorting to mass surveillance. Take your time.

Please can you also explain how ISIS can be monitored if they are prevented from transmitting information?

Finally, do you really believe that individuals and groups can be radicalised merely by watching videos and reading social media status updates? Don’t be silly. The reason people join such groups is primarily to act on romatic fantasies of adventure in faraway places or religious fantasies of achieving personal and spiritual perfection via self-immolation as part of what we Westerners would call a Crusade. Address that.

Counter-speech to challenge the consensus is the way to go. Mass propaganda campaigns pointing out the cruelty and tyranny the subjugated populations of the areas ISIS countrols would go a long way towards sending potential converts in the opposite direction. Addressing the loneliness and frustrated ambitions that drive young people into their arms might also stem the flow of would-be jihadis.

But please, for the love of God, don’t say the same thing other politicians say in the hope of getting elected. I’d really, truly like to think that you’re not an authoritarian wolf in a social democratic sheep’s clothing.

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