[hackerspaces] bring back the crime - "hacker" is starting to mean "creative entrepeneur"

hellekin hellekin at dyne.org
Tue Sep 22 20:48:14 CEST 2015

On 09/22/2015 03:19 PM, Mark Rosenblitt-Janssen wrote:
>> Miss the good old association with crime - it made all these people stay
>> very far away.
> Thank [Thor|Athena] that there's someone with some spirit on the list.

I said earlier I didn't like the association with crime.  Probably you
misinterpreted it, so I want to clarify.  Before corporations invaded
the Internet, before firewalls existed, "computer crime" was probably
not a term at all.  "Computer fraud" was, with the meaning of "fraud
committed with a computer".  Fraud was the crime: not using a computer,
exploring networks, or gaining access to computers outside your premises.

When I said I didn't like the association with crime, it's because the
term "hacker" is not a made up thing like "intellectual property" that
confounds many different things into one meaningless term.  But it has
become just that, and the association with crime is part of why this
happened.  When journalists brandish "hacker", they never ever mean a
clever solution to a tricky problem, or going where nobody has gone
before (fortunately, hackers don't wear spandex uniforms).

What is considered crime is another part of the picture: it's certainly
a crime to penetrate an organization's network, extract secret document,
and blackmail the organization.  The crime is "blackmail".  Whether it
is a crime to penetrate an organization's network, extract secret
information, and blow the whistle is another case entirely; if the
secret document is revealing a crime, I think it's justice.  I see no
"crime" in hacking under the hacker ethics, yet most countries made it a
crime, and often one that makes guns and killing people more appealing
than hitting the Enter key.

The problem is not hacking, but the semantic field that's been applied
to it to blur its meaning.  Is a protest a crime?  In the last years we
can certainly wonder.  The skin of what constitutes a crime moves with
the society's breathing.  The original crime of hacking is to not remain
inside the preloaded squares of your life.  This happens to be the
original duty of any citizen in a democracy to question authority--and
I'm not only talking about government.



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