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Where Each Candidate Stands: Digital Privacy

The president doesn’t want us to be encryption absolutists. Congress only seems worried when it’s the one being spied upon. And, well, from 45-year-old Ted Cruz to 74-year-old Bernie Sanders, every presidential candidate for 2016 has trouble understanding what they don’t understand about digital privacy. Is it their age? Their belief that the internet can easily be shut down if you just call Bill Gates? Hard to say.

What we do know is that none of them is entirely ready to defend personal privacy in the encrypted smartphone age. Here’s how they rank on digital privacy on a scale of one to five Edward Snowdens, with one Snowden representing “Privacy? LOL, what privacy?” and five Snowdens representing, “You can pry my digital privacy out of my cold, dead hands.”

WHERE EACH CANDIDATE STANDS

DIGITAL PRIVACY

ENCRYPTION

WhereTheCadidatesStand Trump

Donald
Trump

Before the FBI found another way into the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone Trump was outraged over Apple’s valid concern that helping the feds would endanger the privacy of millions of customers. Said Trump, “Who do they think they are?”

WhereTheCadidatesStand Clinton

Hillary
Clinton

When asked about encryption and mandated backdoors she remains carefully neutral. We should share intelligence with allies. We should think about both privacy and security. We may or may not have to force companies like Apple to comply. She is too risk-averse to take a definite side.

WhereTheCadidatesStand Cruz

Ted
Cruz

Sen. Cruz doesn’t get encryption, either. He also wants a middle path, without going into detail about what that would mean. On the matter of the San Bernardino phone vs. Apple, Cruz paid lip service to Apple’s argument but said it should yield to the court order.

WhereTheCadidatesStand Bernie

Bernie
Sanders

Sen. Sanders is supposed to be the radicals’ candidate of choice, but he wants to follow the mythic path between privacy and safety when it comes to tech companies providing backdoors to law enforcement. Sanders has yet to clarify how that would work, and it’s hard not to wonder if that is at least in part because he’s 74 damn years old.

WhereTheCadidatesStand Kasich

John
Kasich

The Ohio governor would prefer nobody ask about encryption. Experts in their expert rooms will handle these questions! Though he doesn’t seem wild about forcing compliance, encryption is “a big problem,” even though the internet depends on it to process secure transactions. He also does not understand that encryption tends to hide content, not who is communicating or on what device.

SURVEILLANCE

WhereTheCadidatesStand Trump

Donald
Trump

Trump has voiced support for restoring the PATRIOT Act and wants to “err on the side of security” when it comes to some of its allowances for phone spying. Back in 2013 Trump called whistleblower Edward Snowden a traitor and suggested executing him, or at least bringing him in. More recently Trump accused Snowden of being a Russian spy.

WhereTheCadidatesStand Clinton

Hillary
Clinton

Clinton voted for the PATRIOT Act as a senator. Unlike her Iraq vote, she hasn’t backpedaled, blaming PATRIOT’s bad ripple effects on the Bush administration. She thinks whistleblower Edward Snowden should face prosecution. When the issue is raised, Clinton has been known to mention that she disapproves of warrantless wiretapping.

WhereTheCadidatesStand Cruz

Ted
Cruz

Though his campaign website is all about fightin’ ISIS and securin’ borders, Cruz could previously be found dwelling between Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul (remember them?) when it comes to federal eyeballs undressing Americans en masse. Cruz was for the semi-reform USA Freedom Act, offering an opening for Rubio and even hawkier hawks to attack Cruz earlier in the campaign. Cruz’s defense was that the USA Freedom Act gives feds more records to look at, but still, it’s the thought that counts.

WhereTheCadidatesStand Bernie

Bernie
Sanders

Sanders voted against the PATRIOT Act and against all of its revamping in subsequent years. He was opposed to the compromise USA Freedom bill, which became law last year. Sanders also voted against the 2008 FISA Act. He has spoken out against warrantless NSA spying and said he would end it if elected. He says Snowden broke the law but has praised the whistleblower for revealing the extent of the government’s spy program

WhereTheCadidatesStand Kasich

John
Kasich

We can have privacy! And safety! But it’s lip service coming from dadhawk Kasich who dubbed Edward Snowden a traitor. Not surprisingly: Kasich has been endorsed by former CIA director Michael Hayden.

BUT AT LEAST…

WhereTheCadidatesStand Trump

Donald
Trump

Trump called his assumption that his phone calls are probably being recorded “sad.”

WhereTheCadidatesStand Clinton

Hillary
Clinton

Her campaign website says law enforcement and companies should stop the fussin’ and feudin’ and work together, which is not a mandate. Yet. Give her bonus points for voting against the FISA bill in 2008, which gave retroactive immunity to companies that helped the government spy.

WhereTheCadidatesStand Cruz

Ted
Cruz

For all the mainstream Republican assimilation that Cruz has been doing on the campaign trail, he could be worse on privacy.

WhereTheCadidatesStand Bernie

Bernie
Sanders

Sanders may not be prioritizing cutting edge privacy concerns today, but he voted against the PATRIOT Act.

WhereTheCadidatesStand Kasich

John
Kasich

Kasich is capable of flailing towards an understanding of the dangers of a mandated law enforcement backdoor when he wants to, noting in a December speech that such a security hole can be a boon to criminals.

SNOWDENS

WhereTheCadidatesStand Trump

Donald
Trump

Cadidates Trump Bullets
WhereTheCadidatesStand Clinton

Hillary
Clinton

Cadidates Hillary Bullets
WhereTheCadidatesStand Cruz

Ted
Cruz

Cadidates Kasich Bullets
WhereTheCadidatesStand Bernie

Bernie
Sanders

Cadidates Sanders Bullets
WhereTheCadidatesStand Kasich

John
Kasich

Cadidates Kasich Bullets

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