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EFF Call For Pre-Trump Security Preparations

Lobby group The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has placed an advert calling on the technology community to secure themselves 10 days before the inauguration of Donald Trump.  

The advert, which appeared in the January 2017 issue of WIRED Magazine claimed that Trump’s campaign promises would “threaten the free web and the rights of millions of people”, and particularly impact net neutrality, digital security and support mass surveillance.

The advert read: “Today, we are calling on the technology community to unite with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in securing our networks against this threat.” In particular, it has encouraged: the use of HTTPS and end-to-end encryption for every user transaction, communication, and activity by default; scrubbing of logs so that no data can be surrendered; and if you get a government request to monitor users or censor speech, tell the world.

It added: “The future of our democracy depends on an internet that is free from censorship and government surveillance. Together we can ensure that technology created to connect and uplift people worldwide is not conscripted into a tool of oppression.”

The EFF were founded in 1990 to provide legal advice and defense, organize political action and support technology which it believes preserve personal freedoms and online civil liberties. At the time of publishing, it did not respond to a question about other relationships it had with previous Presidential administrations.

In an email to Infosecurity, Lee Munson, security researcher for Comparitech.com, said: “If we believe everything Donald Trump says – and that’s a big if, considering the amount of bluster in his presidential campaign – then the advice given by the EFF in respect of securing data is good.

“In practice, however, some of its suggestions, while easily adopted by organizations, are potentially fraught with potential legal and regulatory problems, i.e. a US company doing business in the UK would, if it revealed a government monitoring request, be breaking the law in respect of the recently passed Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

However, Munson said that fighting for user rights is noble, as long as the resulting press coverage does not have a detrimental effect on the company’s image.

“Despite the fear surrounding Trump’s comments about cybersecurity, I suspect little of his rhetoric will come to pass and, if anything, the US will be more secure as a result of his patriotic intentions.”

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