|Hacking: Terrorism or Peaceful Protest? (Newsletter)|
Subject: Hacking: Terrorism or Peaceful Protest? (Newsletter)
by TheFool on 2011/6/1 20:10:44
This week the PBS website was hacked with a funny message, a fake news story about Tu Pac being still alive, and the revelation of a bunch of usernames and passwords. Apparently this was in retaliation to PBS's wikileaks documentary, which the hackers disagreed with.
Those are the facts here. So should these hackers be caught, what is the crime? It's clearly illegal, but is the punishment closer to a federal offense (creating fake news could be a serious problem) or closer to holding an illegal protest (which is a small fine and a night in jail). No real harm was done here, no permanent damage and while revealing usernames and passwords is annoying; the PBS login info doesn't contain anything like credit card info.
I see this kind of hacking closer to graffiti and public protests than I do "real crime." It's hard to compare this to something like robbery, such as the PSN hack last month which stole thousands of credit card numbers and caused millions in damages. However, it should be noted that it's a very small leap to go from a funny news posting to, if they had left the site alone, and posted a "real" news story that caused people to actually panic. Orson Well's War of the Worlds caused that kind of panic and was redone by a group in South America - only this time the result was even more pronounced, with people committing suicide to save themselves from the alien invasion. This was followed by a major legal battle to hold the communications company liable for their deaths (Third degree murder in this case).
Where do you see the line being drawn? Was the attack on PBS a peaceful way to protest their coverage (or miscoverage, depending on who you believe) of the WikiLeaks story? Could there be a better way to draw attention to the dissenters that would have been less damaging? Who is liable for the breach of security? Should PBS be held accountable for any damages that may occur or should the hackers?
The laws around the internet are just being formed still. A lot of you who are not old enough to vote yet will be very involved with the creation of these laws: We should all pay very close attention to internet security, as it will massively be impacting our lives over the next century and likely beyond.
What are your thoughts on web based hacks? Let us know!
Words from The Fool:
I don't know if this stat is still true, but back in college it was reported that the average bank looses $50,000 USD/day to hackers. You think the days of robbing banks ended with Bonnie and Clyde? Think again! Bank robberies are not only more common than ever, they're usually unable to catch the thieves. Your passwords don't really protect you, but don't worry: Amaranth Games doesn't keep any of your credit card info. No fooling.