Is it right to hack?

When you hear the word hack or hacking what do you think of? For some it is the act of ‘hacking’ into their friends Facebook account (or more the case of finding it logged on and unsupervised) but for me the movie War Games comes to mind, this scene in particular;

Look how easy that was! He hacked the hell out of the US defence system by pretty much just sitting back and letting his 1980’s computer do all the hard stuff like actually hacking. If hacking is this easy then why isn’t everyone doing it? Well first of all it is really really hard and I blame War Games for giving this illusion of ease, secondly it is pretty darn illegal. Hacking is actually gaining unauthorized access to data in a system or computer and for obvious privacy reasons this is illegal.

We are constantly reminded of how illegal hacking is in the case of WikiLeaks where the organisation obtains classified information (which they have discovered through hacking) and posts it online for everyone to see. However, this case in itself raises another question, why should we not be allowed this information?  To put it simply the government was keeping secrets from us, WikiLeaks told everyone what we arguably had the right to know, and to many people Julian Assange (the founder of WikiLeaks) became a hero.

Another organisation known for hacking is the group known as “Anonymous” who describe themselves as “a very loose and decentralized command structure that operates on ideas rather than directives”. Anonymous are best known for defacing Scientology websites  and the infamous Habbo Hotel raids.

For many the access of information is very important and I personally think that we should be allowed access to information as long as it does not cause harm to others. For example, if a list of people within the witness protection program are released this could endanger their lives, however it becomes very difficult to determine what information to release and this is one of the many reasons why privacy and hacking laws stay in place.

Brainin, T. 2010. Just what does Julian Assange want?. The Guardian, (online) 05/12/2010. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/dec/05/wikileaks-julian-assange (accessed: 29/09/2013)

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