Email service: White House staffer was a ‘password idiot’

Greg Nash

Encrypted email service ProtonMail is mocking a White House staffer who reportedly left his account login information at a bus stop in Washington, D.C., calling him “a password idiot.” 

Ryan McAvoy left his ProtonMail passwords and email address on a piece of White House stationery at a bus stop near 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., The Intercept reported Saturday. 

ProtonMail released a statement on Sunday encouraging good password practices. 

“First of all, just to get it out of the way, don’t be a password idiot,” founder Andy Yen said, linking to the photo of the White House stationery. “Do not write your password down on a piece of paper and then lose that piece of paper … In other words, don’t be this guy.”

{mosads}The service said it would not confirm or deny the existence of McAvoy’s account, but it added that encrypted government emails are still subject to government records and subpoenas.  

“As it pertains to the Trump administration’s use of ProtonMail, the actual issue is whether or not nongovernmental accounts are being used for government work. This is an entirely separate issue that has nothing to do with encryption, and it is a mistake to confuse the two,” Yen said. 

The White House did not return The Intercept’s requests for comments. 

House Intelligence Committee Democrats said Wednesday they are interested in filing a subpoena over Trump campaign officials’ use of WhatsApp, a messaging service. 

Democrats said they want to see how senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and other campaign employees are using the messaging app, as well as others such as iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Signal, Slack, Instagram and Snapchat. 

The committee may consider adding ProtonMail to that list, The Intercept reported. 

Tags Encryption Internet privacy Jared Kushner Password Software trump white house WhatsApp

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