Did email bring down Hillary Clinton? Technology played a big part in the recent U.S. election but did bad tech advice change the result?
That email server
I don’t believe Hillary Clinton and her team were really trying to hide email with their setup. She wanted to use her Blackberry for emails. I get that she wanted to use her favourite phone. The security setup when she was Secretary of State did not allow for Blackberry use for security reasons and for freedom of access legislation. She valued her tech comfort over security and the law. And her advisors did not tell her no.
Sometimes you have to say no in technology. If your business gets personal information that falls under PIPEDA (the federal privacy law) or PIPA (the British Columbia law), you have to store your digital assets in Canada. I’m amazed at business owners who insist they can use Google email and Google documents despite falling under the privacy law. One business owner actually told me no one cares security and privacy anyway. People do care and it’s the law. Clinton found that out the hard way.
But did she lose over the email server fiasco?
No. Even she hadn’t been silly about the email server, her opponents would have found or invented something else to castigate her with. As we saw during Obama’s 2008 campaign and thereafter, Obama was accused of not being born in the United States. Totally untrue but the legend lives on in the web.
And Election2016 was rife with misinformation on the Internet. I gave up on directing people to www.snopes.com to fact check before they posted. Twitterbots were used by both sides to flood social media.
I’m amazed the Trump campaign didn’t revive the Hillary Clinton headband debate from the 90s.
Both candidates were/are extremely weak in the technology policies of their platforms. One tech website accused them of being Luddites. And it’s scary given how important technology is for business, the our politicians (Canadian ones are just as bad) are not making this a priority and not getting the best advisors.
If Trump actually goes through with some of his promises, I expect we shall see the big U.S. tech companies move more resources to Canada and other countries. Microsoft has already expanded their Vancouver operations because it’s easier for them to bring in skilled foreign workers to Canada than it is to the United States. Trump will make it more difficult for U.S. companies to bring in skilled foreign workers. And he will force a showdown with Apple about creating a backdoor for law enforcement into their products.