A small open source firm behind the erasure of Hillary Clinton's personal email server is enjoying a lot of free publicity thanks to the investigation into the server's contents. BleachBit, an open source system erasure tool, has been around for a few years and won some accolades, and now it's the center of attention on the Clinton email scandal.
It started with Trey Gowdy, the Republican congressman from South Carolina leading the investigation into the private email server. He mentioned BleachBit in an interview, saying Clinton's 33,000 deleted emails have been "deleted where even God can't read them."
Gowdy told Fox News last week, "You don't use BleachBit for yoga emails or for bridesmaids emails. When you are using BleachBit, it is something you really do not want the world to see."
Gowdy made it out to be something of a nefarious tool, but as PCWorld noted in its 2013 review of the tool, BleachBit is just a secure erase tool, one of many, and it does a good job of it.
"BleachBit feels like a solid, no-nonsense utility for users who know what they're doing. Being free, open-source, and cross-platform are great advantages, especially in an enterprise environment," the reviewer said at the time.
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Andrew Ziem, the developer behind BleachBit, wrote in a blog post that that BleachBit's web traffic "spiked" after Gowdy's comments, and a second, larger wave came after the story went viral. His servers have handled the traffic load. Not too surprisingly, his comments section has exploded into political arguments.
Ziem is in the center of a political firestorm, but he seems to be making the most of it.
"Perhaps Clinton's team used an open-source application [like BleachBit] because, unlike proprietary applications, it can be audited, like for backdoors," he noted in his post.
"BleachBit is free of charge to use in any environment whether it is personal, commercial, educational, and government, and the cleaning process is not reversible," Ziem said.
He added that the company "has not been served a warrant or subpoena in relation to the investigation."
I'm not sure why it should be subpoenaed. It's just the tool. The question should be for the presidential candidate who felt the need to use such a tool to erase emails about yoga and bridesmaid dresses.