Trump vs. Clinton: Who's Better on Cybersecurity?


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Trump vs. Clinton: Who's Better on Cybersecurity?

A Motherboard report card.

Editor's Note: In anticipation of the presidential debates, Motherboard has graded Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the depth of their insight, and the viability of their policies, regarding the subjects near and dear to us: cybersecurity, health, energy, space, environment, telecom and, of course, marijuana. Spoiler: It's not always pretty.

Comparing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on cybersecurity is probably one of the toughest challenges for a journalist writing about the presidential race. Or, perhaps, it's one of the easiest. Donald Trump has no mention whatsoever of cybersecurity in his official platform. In fact, he doesn't even mention the word "internet" once, although he has mentioned the word cyber.

Clinton, on the other hand, has a whole section of her platform dedicated to innovation and technology. To be fair, she doesn't have detailed proposals regarding cybersecurity, but at least she mentions it, saying she intends to promote it "at home and abroad," and will protect "online privacy and security." Clinton also specifically says she intends to safeguard "free flow of information between borders," and update procedures that regulate the sharing of people's data across borders—a key internet privacy issue.

Other than on the official platform, Clinton has publicly talked about the importance of data security, and has publicly called out big players in the hacking world as Russia and China. On the other hand, she has argued about the need for a "Manhattan project" to create solutions to defeat encryption and help law enforcement—something that security experts equal to making the internet less secure for everyone. Also, of course, she didn't show a lot of cybersecurity savvy when she set up her controversial home email server.

Trump, for his part, has shown a remarkable ignorance toward cybersecurity even throughout the campaign. In a recent interview with Vocativ, he said "the cyber is so big," and explained the word cyber didn't even exist until recently—showing how out of touch he is from anything that involves computers. He also called out Apple for fighting the FBI in the famous San Bernardino case and said he was going to boycott the tech company, and joked about the DNC hack, calling Russia to hack Clinton's emails.