Hillary Clinton Shows the Value of Hosting Your Own E-Mail

Republicans and statist libertarians have been losing their shit over the news that Hillary Clinton continued using her private e-mail address while acting as Secretary of State and hosted that e-mail address on a server in her home:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails — on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state — traced back to an Internet service registered to her family’s home in Chappaqua, New York, according to Internet records reviewed by The Associated Press.


Most Internet users rely on professional outside companies, such as Google Inc. or their own employers, for the behind-the-scenes complexities of managing their email communications. Government employees generally use servers run by federal agencies where they work.

In most cases, individuals who operate their own email servers are technical experts or users so concerned about issues of privacy and surveillance they take matters into their own hands. It was not immediately clear exactly where Clinton ran that computer system.

I highly doubt Hillary personally administered the server (although I would be impressed if she did). A person as influential and wealthy as her can afford a dedicated system administrator. However that isn’t relevant to this story. What is relevant is the reason her political opponents are losing their shit. It was a brilliant move that protected her privacy:

WASHINGTON — In 2012, congressional investigators asked the State Department for a wide range of documents related to the attack on the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The department eventually responded, furnishing House committees with thousands of documents.

But it turns out that that was not everything.

The State Department had not searched the email account of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton because she had maintained a private account, which shielded it from such searches, department officials acknowledged on Tuesday.

Everybody bitching about this needs to take a step back and understand the important lesson here. Hosting your e-mail on a server you personally control, one that is under your physical supervision, is a smart fucking move. By doing so she was able to avoid providing personal information to the State Department when it was investigating the Benghazi attack. If she could shield her personal information from a government investigation then you can as well!

The nice thing about hosting your own e-mail server is that you have complete control over it. You can delete all e-mails that are over six months old and verify that those deleted e-mails have been purged from all backups. Investigators can’t get what doesn’t exist no matter how many warrants and subpoena are issued. If your e-mail is on a third-party host you cannot verify that data has been removed from both your system and the hosting provider’s backups. Another benefit is that it’s impossible for the state to use a National Security Letter (NSL) to secretly obtain a copy of your e-mails. The only way the state can get copies of your e-mails from a self-hosted server is to either break in and copy them or order you to provide the data. Either way you stand a very good chance of knowing when the state has copied your data.

So ignore the partisan politics because they’re meaningless. If if those e-mails were obtained by investigators Hillary would have been found innocent of all wrongdoing. That’s a privilege of being a member of the oligarchy. What is meaningful is that she did something very intelligent and there’s no reason you can’t do the same (even if you don’t have the knowledge necessary to host an e-mail server you can learn).