The optics aside, (those of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton forming a de facto separate central office of a government agency in her Chappaqua, NY home or elsewhere), how private email operates has come to the forefront of the nation’s awareness, especially as most of us use a form of personal email. Most private email operates through a hosting service (e.g., GoDaddy, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc.) on host servers. Many buisnesses, however, or those requiring an extra layer of security and discretion, purchase and disseminate email via their own servers. As is the case with Hillary Clinton and clintonemail.com as it relates to official Department of State (and other governmental agencies with which she emailed), she owns her server and it is physically located… where exactly? Initial AP reports on March 4, 2015, stated that the Clinton server was located in her private home in Chappaqua, NY, but – and the MSM seriously dropped the ball here – there has been no independent confirmation of such. The possibilities are very limited but they are:
- It was, in fact, located in the Clinton home in Chappaqua, though no evidence has been provided that it was.
- It was located in a private office somewhere near Chappaqua, although again there is no evidence to that extent.
- It was hosted by an external hosting firm — based on network records, first at ThePlanet.com and then at Confluence Networks. There are strong indications that the actual hardware would be in Texas.
By way of explaining how private email (Part I/II) and servers (Part II) work, we will deconstruct the recent/current Hillary Clinton use of private email from her own server for official electronic communications brouhaha.
Hillary Clinton (or someone presumably on her behalf and direction) purchased a private domain, clintonemail.com, from GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain registrar. All domain purchases come with at least one email address. (Most often, that one initial email address is the owner’s identification@ that domain, e.g., email@example.com or a general email, info@jimsdesserts.) The domain buyer can also purchase bulk email@that domain. The registration is then either maintained publicly or privately (a fee based add-on). The registration is viewed through WHOis. From the WHOis site:
What’s in the WHOIS?The WHOIS database is a searchable list of every single domain currently registered in the world. To find out who owns a particular domain name, all you have to do is type it into the box above.The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires accredited registrars like GoDaddy.com to publish the registrant’s contact information, domain creation and expiration dates and other information in the WHOIS listing as soon as a domain is registered.So everyone can see my information?The short answer is, yes. The name, address and phone number you submit when you register your domain is publicly accessible by anyone at any time. This may be good news if you have a domain name you’d like to sell. Or it may be bad news if your name and contact info is collected by a spammer, hacker or other cyber-criminal.How can I protect my privacy?To keep your personal data from falling into the wrong hands, GoDaddy.com offers Private Registration through our partner, Domains By Proxy®. Instead of displaying your personal information in the WHOIS database for all to see, Domains By Proxy® will replace it with their own. The domain will still belong to you – except now, you and Domains By Proxy® will be the only ones who know it.
Registry Domain ID: 1537310173_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.networksolutions.com
Registrar URL: http://networksolutions.com
Updated Date: 2015-01-29T00:44:01Z
Creation Date: 2009-01-13T20:37:32Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2017-01-13T05:00:00Z
Registrar: NETWORK SOLUTIONS, LLC.
Registrar IANA ID: 2
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.8003337680
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: PERFECT PRIVACY, LLC
Registrant Street: 12808 Gran Bay Parkway West
Registrant City: Jacksonville
Registrant State/Province: FL
Registrant Postal Code: 32258
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.5707088780
Registrant Email: email@example.com
Registry Admin ID:
Admin Name: PERFECT PRIVACY, LLC
Admin Street: 12808 Gran Bay Parkway West
Admin City: Jacksonville
Admin State/Province: FL
Admin Postal Code: 32258
Admin Country: US
Admin Phone: +1.5707088780
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax Ext:
Admin Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgRegistrar: NETWORK SOLUTIONS, LLC.
Whois Server: whois.networksolutions.com
Creation Date: 13-JAN-2009
Updated Date: 04-MAR-2015
Expiration Date: 13-JAN-2017
(Interesting note in the Clintonemail.com registration transfer after the matter became public, is that the domain is now registered privately with Network Solutions, LLC. We believe this is an entirely cosmetic change as the association to GoDaddy is viewed as a less secure domain registrar when, in fact, GD domains are as secure as Network Solutions’ and so are the respective privacy settings.)
While some partisan-leaning people may try to state that HRC’s unusual private protocol is “no big deal”, well, yes it really is as we’ve seen how easily our Pentagon – and private-sector business, SONY – emails have been very successful hacked.