Since Donald Trump's inauguration on January 20, 2017, some members of the tech community have rejoiced. But if some reports are to be believed, his team's grasp of tech leaves much to be desired.
For example: Recent reports allege the Trump team leans on an encrypted messaging service called Confide. The problem, according to security experts: It's not clear whether Confide is actually encrypted at all ...
POTUS doesn't trust computers. He has stated that "no computer is safe," and that he would prefer that military secrets be communicated through handwritten notes deliver by human couriers.
The Associated Press has pointed out that the United States found Osama Bin Laden by tracking his courier.
On January 25, 2017, Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted a string of letters that many suspected to be a password...or maybe just a butt dial. Either way, he quickly deleted the post.
Whatever the mistake, Spicer apparently didn't learn from it. The next morning, Spicer tweeted a very similar string of letters and numbers, prompting a fresh round of ridicule from the Twitterverse.
As for what exactly the letters and numbers were, we'll never know: Spicer never commented.
Cybersecurity chief Corey Louie, an Obama appointee, was escorted from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building by Secret Service on Thursday, February 2, 2017. That wasn't the troubling part, however ...
The office of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is responsible for making sure POTUS doesn't get hacked. As of mid-February, however, the White House had yet to name a replacement and has declined several of our requests for comment via email and telephone on the matter.
Reporters with access to the White House say Donald Trump still uses a 2012 Samsung Galaxy S3 Android. Because of the connected apps (like Twitter) and enabled capabilities of this smartphone (like location tracking), the phone reportedly poses a serious security risk.
Phones that are not secured are vulnerable to attacks through phishing attempts and malware. One wrong click from an enemy tweet, and the president could be exposing himself and government secrets to hackers.
During a February, 2017 visit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, Trump fielded a report that North Korea had launched a missile toward Japan.
Subsequent photos showed aides using cell phone flashlights on classified documents. Cell phone flashlights are notoriously vulnerable to hacking attempts.
After more than a year of lambasting Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server, Trump found himself on the receiving end of similar criticism on January 26, 2017. Watchdogs found that the official presidential Twitter account had been registered to an insecure, cloud-based Gmail address.
Less than three hours after the story of this potential security threat broke on Twitter, the POTUS account was linked to an official White House email address.
On January 25, 2017, Trump advisers Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner were found to have active email addresses on a private RNC email server -- the same server the Bush administration was accused of using to evade transparency rules in 2009.
These email addresses have since been deleted.
According to the New York Times, Trump doubts that online ads are ever effective. However, Trump's own digital director, Brad Parscale, has noted that Facebook advertising helped generate the bulk of $250 million in online fundraising for Trump's own campaign.
One of the more interesting proposals Trump floated on the campaign trail was that Bill Gates would help him "close that internet up" as a method for combatting ISIS.
"Somebody will say, 'Oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech,'" Trump elaborated. "These are foolish people."
Gates never commented on the proposal.
Besides the obvious conflicts with the First Amendment, Gates never worked on networks or web access during his time at Microsoft.
Between his executive order blocking entry of immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries and his threats to the H-1B visa program, Trump isn't forging a reputation for supporting the tech industry right now. Apple's Tim Cook and GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving have both expressed serious misgivings about Trump's policies regarding immigrants.
Either Sean Spicer didn't quite understand the purpose of the satirical site The Onion when he retweeted a video about his mission to provide the American public with "misinformation," or he is in on the joke that his job involves a certain amount of spin.
Trump has given himself a public pat on the back for the construction of an Intel chip factory in Arizona. Media outlets were quick to clarify that Intel began construction on the factory during the Obama administration but paused because of budgetary issues.
Trump's team could use some IoT in the White House. Staffers reportedly could not find the light switches in the cabinet room well into February, a claim that Trump denied via tweet.
Not only did POTUS tweet a British woman instead of his own daughter, the British Ivanka also responded with a quippy suggestion for Mr. Trump. She wrote, "May I suggest more care on Twitter and more time learning about #climatechange."
In his press conference on February 16, 2017, POTUS attempted to explain uranium and nuclear physics thusly: "Do you know what uranium is? It's a little thing called nuclear weapons and other things. Lots of things are done with uranium including some bad things."