Poisonous political divisions have spawned an encryption arms race across the Trump administration, as both the president’s advisers and career civil servants scramble to cover their digital tracks in a capital nervous about leaks. The surge in the use of scrambled-communication technology — enabled by free smartphone apps such as WhatsApp and Signal — could skirt or violate laws that require government records to be preserved and the public’s business to be conducted in official channels, several ethics experts say. It may even cloud future generations’ knowledge of the full history of Donald Trump’s presidency. The wide availability of encrypted messaging makes secrecy easier than ever. “It’s certainly easier to circumvent public records laws in a written format now than it ever has been,” said Mark Rumold, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group that pushes for government transparency.

Monday, February 27, 2017