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Should Journalists Publish Hacked Data?
Journalists should not publish any information that was obtained by hacking.
Hacked information is often not obtained or released by neutral or objective sources, but is often tactically released to journalists in order to mislead or manipulate the public.
'Data dumps' often contain overwhelming amounts of information that make publishing them incredibly risky.
To employ information obtained via hacking is to condone and even encourage an illegal and generally harmful action.
Hacking is often used to obtain highly-protected and highly-confidential information. This information is often hugely damaging when made fully public in a way that does not serve the public interest.
Journalists can use their judgement in choosing what information to report on and exercising such discretion is a standard part of journalistic ethics.
Existing 'whistleblower' laws and protections are not sufficient to serve the public interest. Sometimes breaking the law via hacking can be for the greater good.
The absolute transparency of published hacks is important in principle because it is crucial that journalists occasionally exercise their right to free speech in controversial ways. Without such tests we cannot ensure that free speech will continue to be a well-defended norm for all in society.
Hacking levels the playing field between individuals and powerful government or corporate entities. It is thus necessary to combat and expose their wrong doing.
If the source was willing to break the law to publicise this information it is more likely to be important information and serve the public interest.
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