As the US Presidential election looms ever closer, the nation is firmly divided on the issue of the candidates. Not the candidates’ issues, mind you, but on the people themselves, the ones who are running for the highest office in the country. And whether we like it or not, the fate of the country may rest firmly on a piece of open-source software.
BleachBit, a free application used by IT professionals and tech savvy users around the world, was used to delete the famous 30,000 emails from Hillary Clinton’s personal email server. Those emails have been planted firmly in the minds of the public as some kind of missing proof of her controversy and wrongdoing, and they’re resurrected each time her opponent makes the news. The emails are comment-fodder on any article pertaining to the election, and they spur heated debates and mud slinging across the internet.
The subject of the emails–or the fact that many current and former heads of state and government officials have engaged in the same practice of deleting unwanted emails from their personal servers–isn’t the issue now though. It’s one candidate’s erroneous claim that the software used, BleachBit, is expensive and that its use on Clinton’s server was tantamount to fraud against the American taxpayers.
According to the company’s website, “BleachBit achieves two related goals. First, BleachBit removes junk files to make more room. Second, BleachBit removes private information like a virtual shredder.
“BleachBit specializes in a ‘surgical’ approach that preserved wanted information. While it does not delete software such as the operating system or web browsers, it deletes specific information produced by software. Contrasted with physical destruction of the storage device or whole-disk erasure, this method is more convenient because that other software can be used immediately without needing to be reinstalled.
“BleachBit is neither a chemical nor a physical device. BleachBit is an anti-forensics software application. The wiping process is permanent and not reversible.”
The site bills BleachBit as “more of a project” than a product, indicating that a team approach is used in developing updates and that volunteers contribute to the project. It has been translated into 61 languages and has had countless millions of downloads, an untrackable number due to the third-party sites that are welcome to distribute it.