During the Democrat debate on Saturday Hillary Clinton suggested a concerted government effort to defeat private electronic communications.

“I would hope that, given the extraordinary capacities that the tech community has and the legitimate needs and questions from law enforcement, that there could be a Manhattan-like project, something that would bring the government and the tech communities together to see they’re not adversaries, they’ve got to be partners,” Clinton said. “It doesn’t do anybody any good if terrorists can move toward encrypted communication that no law enforcement agency can break into before or after. There must be some way. I don’t know enough about the technology, Martha, to be able to say what it is, but I have a lot of confidence in our tech experts.”

Clinton does not only not know about technology, she also does not know the tech community is opposed to sharing encryption keys with the government or designing a backdoor allowing access to private communication by law enforcement.

“On your smartphone today, on your iPhone, there’s likely health information, there’s financial information,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told Charlie Rose. “There are intimate conversations with your family, or your co-workers. There’s probably business secrets and you should have the ability to protect it. And the only way we know how to do that, is to encrypt it. Why is that? It’s because if there’s a way to get in, then somebody will find the way in. There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.”

It is interesting Clinton compared her proposed effort to the Manhattan project. It was one of the most complex intelligence and security operations during the Second World War.

Addendum

Hillary Clinton has worked to prevent targeted countries from using similar surveillance techniques.

In 2011 AFP reported Clinton’s State Department sponsored “efforts to help activists in Arab and other countries gain access to technology that circumvents government firewalls, secures telephone text and voice messages, and prevents attacks on websites.”

Michael Posner, the assistant Secretary of State for human rights and labor, told reporters the United States would “basically provide both technology, training, and diplomatic support to allow people to freely express their views.”


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