[hackerspaces] What's wrong with the kids these days? On the moral decay of the Dutch hacker scene

Alexander Dahl alex at netz39.de
Wed Mar 27 17:04:05 CET 2013

Hei hei, 

this made the round on the web yesterday. Does anyone asked the crew
why Fox-IT was accepted/chosen as sponsor and what was the reply?


Am 2013-03-26 17:23, schrieb webmind:
> http://www.puscii.nl/blog/content/whats-wrong-kids-these-days
> What's wrong with the kids these days?
> On the moral decay of the Dutch hacker scene
> A lot has changed since the days when the people around Hacktic set up
> and defined the Dutch hacker scene. The Hang Out made way for a variety
> of hackerspaces; Hacktic itself is long dead (who needs dead trees to
> communicate nowadays anyway?) and the crew organizing OHM2013 is a
> completely different one from the oldies that had set up the Galactic
> Hacker Party and HIP. In short, we're looking at a complete new
> generation of Dutch hackers.
> Of course, nothing is more normal and healthy than for kids to rebel
> against their parents, but our parents have given us a difficult task
> there. For how in hell does one rebel against oldies who self-identified
> as "techno-anarchists" and were all too pleased with their image as
> online rebels? Some of the kids found a way: join the police! Well,
> technically, create a company that does the online dirty work for the
> police, but in this day and age of neo-liberalism and privatisation the
> difference is marginal...
> Now, the notion of hackers voluntarily joining the police probably
> sounds completely absurd to an outsider, but that's pretty much what
> happened. The Dutch High Tech Crime Unit is called Fox-IT. In case the
> name doesn't ring a bell, they're the main sponsor of OHM2013, employer
> of half of the organising core team, and you may find their logo painted
> on the wall of a Dutch hackerspace - not as a fuck-the-police-type
> graffiti, but as a thank-you for their kind sponsorship.
> Let's have a closer look at this company. Founded in '99 by two TU Delft
> alumni who had previously worked for the NFI (forensics institute) and
> the BVD (secret service), Fox-IT started as a relatively normal security
> company. Such was the hip thing to do for a hacker who wanted to legally
> cash in on their skills at the height of the IT bubble. Things start to
> get saucy around 2006 when they developed FoxReplay, a tool for
> wiretapping, and started selling on the international market. Not caring
> much for their customers regard for human rights, Fox-IT has promoted
> their services to countries like Iran and the United Arabic Emirates,
> and sales to Egypt have also been confirmed. On September 27th 2011,
> Fox-IT sold their tapping-branch to the US company Netscout,
> conveniently just one day before a change in EU regulations was to place
> restrictions on the export of wiretap equipment.
> But things also get a lot closer to home for the Dutch hackers, as
> Fox-IT has assisted the Dutch police in the apprehension of 4 members of
> AntiSec NL, a Dutch group closely linked to Anonymous.
> To add to the sauce, Fox-IT has been experimenting with 'hacking back',
> as they call it. In an operation that was meant to take down the
> Bredolab botnet, Fox-IT used the seized 'command and control' servers to
> inject code on infected machines worldwide to display a message from the
> Dutch police. A clever hack, if you will, but also a controversial and
> illegal one. Lately, Fox-IT has been publicly lobbying to create legal
> rights for law enforcement to actively crack target systems.
> Fox-IT now has customers worldwide and around 150 employees. They are
> the prototype of a privatised blend of law enforcement and defense,
> unhindered by any ethics and stretching its praxis to the shady borders
> of legality.
> That's the kind of company considered hip amongst contemporary Dutch
> hackers, who seem all too happy associating with and working for them.
> Fox-IT is actively recruiting within the scene, and many a hacker who
> used to share his tools and knowledge now works for them. Now, where did
> that come from? Sure, the scene has always had a bit of a flirtatious
> relationship with the secret service, but the old Hacktic crew simply
> giggled at the silly men with sunglasses and trenchcoats who attended
> their meetings. Moreover, they were exposing the wiretapping and other
> sniffing methods that were in use then, giving the general public means
> to detect, if not avoid, or play around with them.
> Those early days of the hacker scene were marked by a shared sense of
> ethics: a hands-on attitude, for freedom of information and a healthy
> distrust of any authority. Luckily, on a global scale, many of these
> values have persevered. For example, one look at the CCC website is
> enough to see a strong outspokenness on the political issues surrounding
> hacking, actively monitoring and criticizing state surveillance. In
> fact, hackers worldwide are working on tools to subvert (state)
> surveillance and censorship. Furthermore, with the rise of Anonymous and
> related groups, we have seen an incredible increase in politically
> motivated hacks and cracks, all based on those same basic values of
> personal freedom and distrust towards authority.
> How are we to interpret the bizarre contrast between upholding these
> values and happily accepting a company like Fox-IT in our midst? Are OHM
> and a number of hackerspaces drifting away from the hacker scene towards
> the security industry? Or do people simply not think or care about these
> issues because they distract from playing with LEDs and arduinos? Maybe
> the money is simply too good? Either way, the Dutch hacker scene is
> suffering from a severe case of schizophrenia where, on the one hand, it
> identifies itself with a global scene struggling against surveillance
> and, on the other hand, it condones, receives money from, advertises or
> even concretely works on the buildup of exactly that surveillance state.
> The usual approach to such mental illness that is seen all too often
> within the hacker scene is to simply ignore it and bury it deep down in
> our subconciousness. Indeed, sometimes simply ignoring the peculiar
> conflicts that arise within our brain may lead us to perfectly happy
> (though perhaps somewhat socially awkward) lives. Not in this case,
> though. As the world around us is transforming, the importance of
> resolving this inner conflict is becoming ever more urgent. Like it or
> not, the hacker scene is a key player in a much larger political game
> that will determine the face of future online communication. If we are
> to sell away our skills to unscrupulous companies working for
> power-hungry governments, that future could be very grim.
> It is for these reasons that the current generation of hackers needs to
> take a step back and reconsider the wise lessons our parents gave us.
> One cannot simply take the cool image of being a hacker yet act in ways
> that are complete opposite. It's not cool to assist in the creation of
> an Orwellian dystopia. It's also definitely not cool to assist in the
> apprehension of your fellow hackers (imagine how they might feel about
> attending the largest European hackercamp this year). That is not to say
> it's all black and white, or that we should form some sort of unified
> front, but maintaining a praxis that is the direct opposite of what you
> are preaching is both unhealthy for yourselves and dangerous towards
> others. So please, work out who you really are and where you stand. Read
> the old philes and the new. Rethink what's going on in the world around
> you. Discuss the role we play in it. Define your identity. And, in the
> end, if you still wish to call yourself a hacker, leave the fox
>  out.
> sources:
> http://www.hacktic.nl/magazine/index.html
> http://wikileaks.org/spyfiles/list/company-name/foxit.html
> http://webwereld.nl/nieuws/108047/fox-it-stoot-afluisterdivisie-af.html
> http://www.techzine.nl/nieuws/27475/eu-legt-export-afluisterapparatuur-a...
> http://webwereld.nl/analyse/108759/fox-it--is-er-dan-wat-aan-de-hand-in-...
> http://www.vn.nl/Standaard-Media-Pagina/De-geheimen-van-een-supertapper.htm
> http://www.computable.nl/artikel/nieuws/security/4049661/1276896/foxit-h...
> http://www.bredolab.nl/
> http://www2.fiu.edu/~mizrachs/hackethic.html
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