Andrew Zimmerman-Jones seems to have skimped on historical research before pontificating about hacker ethics. His claim that "Most people use the term “hacker” to mean someone who breaks into a computer system in order to gain access to private information.." is almost vague enough to save him from blatant inaccuracy but not quite. Consider Merriam Webster which lists the following definitions "3: an expert at programming and solving problems with a computer 4: a person who illegally gains access to and sometimes tampers with information in a computer system" Anyone who took the trouble to read The Great Hacker Crackdown would see that the meaning of the term has been central to a political struggle between two groups of computer users, that is programmers versus security professionals for several decades. The book is free online at MIT: http://www.mit.edu/hacker/hacker.html so Zimmerman-Jones wouldn't have to shell out any money to acquaint himself with some of the actual history of the term before he ineptly summarises the work of others. Computer security professionals made a determined effort to redefine a term that arose as an accolade for anyone who was able to carry out McGyveresque modifications of code. United States copyright law did not initially impose copyright on software and computer "crimes" has to be invented, there were no legal prohibitions, these came later and at the behest of federal agencies anxious to find a mission for themselves. Zimmerman-Jones has fallen prey to a naturalisation fallacy, assuming that current legal provisions are natural; timeless, non-contingent and identical with morality. I'd expect more from a philosopher.
How many links does it take to get to the center of a Tera-pop?
Yes, I know we’re stretching now. And the title is all Nathan Gilmour’s fault.
- Eight decidedly rotten sermon introductions
- Yet another insightful lecture on political philosophy from Patrick Deneen
- Chris Gehrz gets his props from James K.A. Smith (and here’s why)
- A disturbingly enthusiastic encomium for Google chat
- The sage Michael Austin (his Reading the World: Ideas That Matter is an excellent Comp I reader in the “big ideas” tradition, if you’re in the market for such a thing) discusses why the opposite of Intelligent Design is not Evolution.
- Is there honor among hackers?