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Does Trump’s victory mean I need stronger encryption?

The Verge’s Russell Brandom explains on Too Embarrassed to Ask.

President-Elect Trump And Vice President-Elect Pence Meet With House Speaker Paul Ryan On Capitol Hill Zach Gibson / Getty Images

Donald Trump is the president-elect of the United States. What happens now?

For some critics of Trump’s proposals — which have included the forced registration of millions of Muslim-Americans and “punishment” for women who receive abortions — the answer is to preemptively find ways to protect their digital lives. As Recode’s April Glaser explained yesterday, the 70-year-old reality TV star doesn’t like encryption and favors surveillance and hacking.

On the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, The Verge’s Russell Brandom explained what different types of encryption mean and how concerned consumers might protect themselves.

“If you’re just texting someone regularly, that’s not encrypted,” Brandom said. “The phone company can see what the actual content of your text is. But generally, if it’s a Hangout, if it’s Gmail, whatever program you’re using, it’s probably encrypted so that people 'in the tubes' — your service provider and stuff — all they see are numbers.”

The strongest form of encryption, offered by a handful of apps such as Facebook’s WhatsApp, Apple’s iMessage and Signal, is “end-to-end encryption,” meaning there are only two parties who can possibly see the decrypted message.

“If my phone gets hacked, they can still see everything because they got to one of the ends,” Brandom said. “But it’s sort of the best you can do, if you’re making a chat program and you want to make the messages as secure as possible.”

Later in the show, Recode’s Kara Swisher and Ina Fried debriefed on some of the other tech-related fallout of the election with The Verge’s Lauren Goode. Topics on the table included whether technology and tech culture created echo chambers for Hillary Clinton supporters, and if social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have a responsibility to police the factual accuracy of posts.

Have questions about encryption or the election that we didn’t get to in this episode? Or have another tech topic on your mind? You can tweet any questions, comments and complaints to @Recode with the hashtag #TooEmbarrassed. You can also email your questions to, in case Twitter isn’t your thing.

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