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Donald Trump emerges as unlikely champion of bike couriers

President-elect says hacking means sensitive information is best sent by hand - but ex-White House cybercrime adviser disagrees

Could Donald Trump’s impending presidency spell good news for America’s bike couriers?

That’s what you could be forgiven for thinking following comments made at the weekend about cyber security by the President-elect of the United States.

Responding to a question from a reporter about intelligence reports regarding Russian hacking during the election campaign, he said: "No computer is safe.”

He added: “It's very important, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier."

Fox 5 News spoke with Kevin Bolger, a New York City bicycle courier who rides an average of 50 miles a day for courier business Cyclehawk delivering packages for clients including banks, fashion agencies and architects.

While he declined to share his thoughts about the President-elect’s politics – pay in the sector may be low, employment insecure, and business has dropped due to new technology, but we doubt your average courier is a Trump voter – he told the network that he agreed with his general point.

“You want to work with people you trust to move things that are important to you,” he said.

Not all are convinced that having important documents delivered by courier would be any safer than by sending them electronically, however.

In a column in the Chicago Tribune, Rex Huppke responded to Trump’s assertion that “Hacking is a very hard thing to prove,” with the words, “It’s also a very easy thing to avoid.”

Huppke added: “Just write your most private thoughts on paper and hand that paper to a young, underpaid person with a messenger bag and hope a foreign power hasn't offered that person money or a six-pack of craft beer in exchange for your aforementioned most private thoughts.”

That’s assuming, of course, you’re not being chased by a corrupt cop eager to retrieve the document you have on you – the plot of the 2012 movie, Premium Rush, in which Danny MacAskill was a stunt double.

While Trump’s scepticism about the value of the intelligence services is well-documented – not least in tweets to his 18 million-plus followers on Twitter – a former cybersecurity adviser to the National Security Council told the Washington Post that electronic communications are here to stay.

Ari Schwartz said: "We're not going back to the world of couriers and letter-writing; we're going to continue to do things online.

“There are ways to do it where you can manage risk, and that's really what the goal should be here — to get to the point where we can have the efficiencies and the benefits and still be secure."

Cyber-hacking apart, should the doom-mongers over the incoming president foreign policies be proved right, it could turn out that bicycles could become the transport of choice for anyone left alive post-Armageddon.

 

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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