By Aidan Dion
Whether we see hackers as mysterious freedom fighters on the Internet or as some guy in his mother’s basement covered in Cheeto dust, one cannot argue the value of what is brought to light by their endeavors. Without them, we may never have known how much Hillary Clinton lied, how the DNC rigged an election, or how Donald Trump avoided paying income taxes for years. These hackers are not inherently good or evil but are simply tools used to expose what really happens behind the curtain.
Hackers have undoubtedly taken on a larger role in politics than ever before. These shady unknowns have uncovered stories more ground-breaking than journalists have, changing the course of the election. WikiLeaks and some mysterious Russians have shown us that Hillary Clinton is not nearly as trustworthy as once thought, and leaked Trump documents revealed loop holes he used to avoid paying income taxes. Hackers don’t create the scandals perpetrated by our leaders; they only reveal them to the public.
Yes, hacking in many cases can be illegal and harmful. The FBI also has strong reason to believe that at least five foreign hackers had at one point “broken into” Clinton’s personal email and taken classified material. The significance of the information on these emails is yet to be disclosed, however, history has shown that “mishandling” of classified material can lead to a loss of life or failure in U.S. defense. There is a fine line between hacking to expose wrongdoing and hacking to cause harm.
Much has been uncovered from each candidate since these hackers came into play. Regardless of political affiliation, nobody can deny that this information should be given to the people to make the most well-educated vote they can. Exposing truth is nothing biased, but a goal every liberal and conservative must strive for. The most ironic claims came when Clinton supporters accused Russia of rigging the election in favor of Trump. In actuality, Russian hackers exposed the DNC of rigging the nomination in favor of Hillary Clinton. When WikiLeaks released more than 8,000 DNC emails on November 6, their servers suffered a DoS attack. The timing of the attack after the email release and closeness to the election causes speculation on whether the DNC is behind the attack.
Many called Trump a “sore loser” because he claimed he would lose due to a rigged election. The last few weeks and months have shown that maybe he was on to something. It is unlikely that the evidence found in hacked emails will reveal a significant change in election results, but it exposes a dark subject nonetheless.
When the goal of hacking is to harm, steal, or cover up the truth, then it is clearly detrimental to our democracy. When the goal of hacking is to reveal wrongdoing and exposing the truth, voters can make a better educated decision when going to the polls. Even if Putin is behind some of the hacking experienced recently in the election, revealing that one or both of the candidates’ lying or cheating only strengthens the American public.