Whatever you think of the Clintons, you probably agree that the pair is very smart and exceptionally deliberate about everything they do. If a mistake is made by a Clinton, it's typically not from oversite or lack of forethought. The power-duo is individually and collectively renowned for the level of intellect brought to bear on any decision of depth and they act only after deep analysis, assessment, and a clear understanding of the potential for upside and downside in the aftermath of the matter.
This is a blog about digital security, and we are reporting on Hillary's email "scandal" for the introspect we can gain intellectually, not politically. When it comes to Hillary's private email account, it's clear to us she knew precisely what she was doing and why she was doing it. She was well informed, knows the law and how it's enforced, and implemented a private email system for very sound reasons. In contrast to other presidential candidates that are known to have used "free" email accounts like Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, or AOL to conduct state and personal business, Hillary looks savvy and smart while the others appear naive, apathetic, or both.
To see Mitt Romney's Hotmail messages, just go here;
Why'd She Do It?
We have to presume that at least a couple of very intelligent, highly strategic and uber-powerful people that also happen to be experts in global privacy laws and enforcement applications, made a deliberate decision to privatize Hillary's email. So why'd they do it?
From a Clintonesque-perspective, we'll list three answers. First, we'll assume that like Hillary you know that "free" email services copy, analyze and indefinitely store all of your emails. It's the exchange you agree to by signing up. In the U.S., when you use a "free" email service every message you send includes an "envelope" of metadata, much of it information that has nothing to do with the actual email itself.
Enough information is in email metadata that its monitoring is considered "surveillance" by law enforcement. Vital information on your location, operating environment, habits, lifestyle, who you are with and who you talk to, all can be gleaned from an email message. It's this rich information that is used by email providers to bank your trade, selling it to a plethora of third parties for profit. Of course, none of this is lost on the Clinton's, but they "get it" on a more profound level. Sure, no one wants to be monitored, and everyone knows the monitoring isn't just done by corporations but also by governments, criminals, and creeps. But for Hillary it's much more than that.
3 Smart Reasons to Privatize Your Email
1) Information is valuable, especially your own.
Wealth and power have been by-products of information since the dawn of man, but there is a nuance with personal information that is important to understand. Your own information is never more valuable to anyone else than it is to you. The value of personal information is asymmetrical because as individuals much of our information is irreplaceable; we can't get it back. For third parties, our information is not just replaceable, it's disposable, and this fundamental lack of understanding has created an arbitrage that fueled the greatest fortunes of the last 10 years.
2) Controlling your information is vital.
Today, everything we do is on our personal computing devices. Our most intimate, tender and sensitive communications, personally or professionally, all reside in our inbox. Signing control of this information, and the metadata it's wrapped in, over to a third party with no control or accountability, is abdicating all power and influence over one of your most important assets today.
Hillary understands: Information is valuable, controlling it creates power, and if you are to be smart and strategic today, you need to position yourself to control the information around you. To haphazardly hand over any information, much less private information to a third party, is not anything a Clinton is likely to do.
3) It's only the beginning.
Our deep, personal engagement with technology began in 2007 when Steve Jobs said "This changes everything." He was introducing the iPhone but he was talking about mobile computing and he could not have been more accurate. Smartphones are the fastest-spreading technology in humanity's history and have paved the way for cloud-enabled computing giving us, and everyone else, ubiquitous access to our personal information. With exponential progression, this access to information is spreading and becoming embedded in almost everything we do in the course of a normal day. Being apathetic or naive is longer a viable alternative and the best way to start taking back control is with your personal email account.
Conclusion: Your personal information is valuable, especially your own. Controlling it creates value and power. Take control of your personal information, and defend it to the end.
From "Nothing to hide", to "Everything to lose."
While many readers of this blog are highly intelligent, and some are fully engaged in the IT security industry, the vast majority of them still have de minimus control over their personal information. I suspect this is primarily born of apathy, procrastination and the fact that good, simple and affordable answers have been notoriously hard to find.
Maybe Hillary Clinton's email scandal will provide enough coverage and analysis concerning internet technology privatization, that the moment foreshadows "free" email in the U.S. "jumping the shark". How much longer can we be serious, or be taken seriously using "free" email before it becomes clear it isn't just acceptable anymore.
We will be reporting more on the subject, including recommendations for privatizing your own email. We will look at the options you have to position yourself, your family, practice or business, for the new reality of living an engaged, and productive life in the digital age. Hillary understands information and power, and the connection they inexorably share, and how email is the ultimate host of all of our information today.
Privacy laws are a big deal on every level in a democracy and in the U.S. we are at the razor's edge of testing them. Hillary knows this too, and she kept as much control of her email communications for as long as she felt she could in the scheme of things. We will help you to do the same.
Why we domain our email servers in Zurich, Switzerland