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Baker outlines email habits, touts cybersecurity as a job base

Mar. 12, 2015 | News Article

By Matt Murphy
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, MARCH 11, 2015…..Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account to conduct official business while secretary of state has raised questions about how public officials around the country balance work and personal email traffic.

Gov. Charlie Baker, who has had a state email account for over two months now, said on Wednesday that he carries two iPhones with him. Though he conducted campaign business on his personal phone for much of 2014, the governor now juggles both.

“I do email, yeah,” Baker said. “I don’t know how to define frequently. I certainly view it as an effective way to communicate just given the crazy world we live in.”

According to an aide, Baker often keeps his two phones attached to one another with Velcro.

“My goal is to get everything that’s possibly related to state stuff onto the state phone,” Baker said, adding when pressed that his habit of taking selfies may not one day end up in a collection of funny photos being stored at the state archives.

He said, “My selfies, unless someone tells me otherwise, selfies are going to be on my personal phone.”

Clinton’s use of a private email server maintained at her home in New York has drawn criticism over what it might have meant for the preservation of official government emails that are supposed to be preserved as public record.

On Tuesday, the potential Democratic presidential contender suggested she used her personal e-mail account for “convenience” because she did not want to carry two cell phones. Over half of her email – about 30,000 – was deleted after it was determined to be personal in nature. The rest of the email has been turned over to the State Department, and Clinton said they will be made public once they could be reviewed.

Under state records laws, email to and from the governor’s official account are preserved on servers operated by the Massachusetts Office of Information Technology and backed up every night. While personal email sent over state servers are allowed to be deleted, all work-related material must be preserved.

The use of a personal email account by a high-ranking government official has also prompted questions about security. Baker may not be operating his own email server out of his Swampscott home, but on Wednesday in a speech to Mass Insight’s Global Massachusetts 2024 conference the governor highlighted cyber security as a “major challenge” in the digital age.

“It’s no secret to anyone who watches “Person of Interest” on TV or has been to the movies – Hollywood by the way always does a fabulous job at being a little bit ahead of real life on a lot of this stuff – cyber security is probably one of the major challenges we face as everything become more and more digital and moves online,” Baker said.

Recalling the constant vigilance needed to protect Harvard Pilgrim Health Care systems from cyberattacks while he worked as CEO of the insurance company, Baker said cyberattacks increased by 90 percent in the United States last year and Massachusetts companies and organizations saw a 30 percent uptick in attacks and data breaches.

Baker sees the rise of needed cybersecurity as an opportunity for Massachusetts, suggesting Massachusetts has the ninth fastest growing cybersecurity sector in the country with 75 percent job growth in the industry since 2007.

“We have a lot of competition in this space. California, Maryland, Pennsylvania are among the states recognized as cybersecurity hubs, but we have in many respects that multidisciplinary collection of assets and capacities in our universities, our industry and our government to be a leader globally in cybersecurity services.”

The governor said Massachusetts needs to focus on improving the coordination of resources to build a talent pool to fill the cybersecurity jobs of the future.

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