Phil Zimmermann joins Startpage.com

Phil Zimmermann

Phil Zimmermann, the creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), has joined Startpage.com “to spearhead its product innovation and crypto-development.”

In 2013, an article on Zimmermann’s Law quoted Phil Zimmermann as saying The natural flow of technology tends to move in the direction of making surveillance easier, and the ability of computers to track us doubles every eighteen months. You can read more about Phil Zimmermann on Wikipedia.

Startpage.com CEO Robert Beens revealed that Zimmermann will advise the company on its search product but that Zimmermann’s main focus will be the “development of the company’s next-generation PGP-encrypted email service”.

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Michael Cohen had 16 Cell Phones Seized by the FBI

I’m jealous! Security experts often advise politicians, business executives, movie stars, professional athletes, and others to always have a second cell phone in addition to their primary phone. The second phone, sometimes called “a burner phone,” should receive little use. The owner is advised to use it only when he or she might want to hide something from law enforcement personnel or Border Patrol or perhaps is in danger of having news reporters or business competitors snooping through the person’s affairs. In fact, another good use might be to hide something from a curious spouse!

If the owner’s primary phone is later examined by someone else, the text messages, installed apps, and recent phone call information contained within the burner phone will not be found. Hiding a second phone that is used only for highly-sensitive purposes can be a big help when it comes to keeping secrets.

However, we may have a new record in burner phones! Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, reportedly had as many as 16 cell phones when the FBI raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel room!

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Entire Trump Family Reportedly Switches to Encrypted Tutanota Emails

After the recent scandal revealing that Trump campaign aides have had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence in 2016, the entire Trump family apparently turned towards encryption to protect their private communications amongst themselves and possibly with others. Several encrypted Tutanota mailboxes were registered yesterday alone with distinct names of Trump family members.

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Now the Trump family seems to have learned from those early mistakes during the presidential electoral campaign. They have learned that everything that happens online will be copied by the NSA and can be read and analyzed at a later stage.

The Secret Service or perhaps some other US agency captured the email messages and telephone calls between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russians, as reported the New York Times. Then the FBI asked the NSA to collect as much information as possible on this, and analyze troves of previously intercepted communications. We can assume that the captured information includes some email messages made by or received by Donald Trump or members of his family. Now the new President and his family reportedly are switching to encrypted email messages.

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Pompeo Confirmed as Head of the CIA Head, Raising Surveillance and Privacy Concerns

The new head of the CIA believes the agency should even expand its present capabilities to monitor the online and offline activities all US and foreign citizens.

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Mike Pompeo will lead the Central Intelligence Agency, after the US Senate confirmed his nomination Monday evening in a vote of 66 to 32. Pompeo has supported rolling back reforms on US surveillance practices that were put in place after Edward Snowden’s leaked NSA documents revealed spy programs that caught up US residents. At his confirmation hearing, Pompeo also said he wanted to track information from social media accounts.

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Thought for the Day

“Unlike what much of today’s political rhetoric says, strong cryptography is essential for our information security. It’s how we protect our information and our networks from hackers, criminals, foreign governments, and terrorists. Security vulnerabilities, whether deliberate backdoor access mechanisms or accidental flaws, make us all less secure. Getting security right is harder than it looks, and our best chance is to make the cryptography as simple and public as possible.”

–  Bruce Schneier, internationally renowned American cryptographer, computer security and privacy specialist, and writer, called a “security guru” by The Economist.