Analysis The American Perspective On Hackers Essay

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Analysis: The American Perspective On Hackers Essay, Research Paper The issue of public information has always been a controversy in our world. One of our country’s founding arguments was based on the necessity of free speech and free information. Many now believe that our government is being overly restrictive on information, blocking and controlling some aspects of free speech that first amendment advocates feel are necessary to maintain our American society. These advocates of free information have been using the nickname “hackers” for over twenty years, but improper use by the media has stretched the word to slanderous levels. Hackers are now stereotyped as mindless vandals and miscreants, although the word “hacker” has been used as a term for computer

programmers and technicians since the late 1970s. Modern-day hackers refer to themselves as intelligent socio-political activists who want to raise social awareness of threatening problems. Governments worldwide are trying to persecute hackers when vandals, not hackers, are most often the ones breaking laws and causing damage. The conflict between hackers and the American public is a deeply rooted standoff, caused by misinformation and sensationalism from the media and the government. To evaluate and analyze this conflict objectively, both points of view must be put into proper perspective. This was a simple task for me, because I am a very technically oriented person who does not get lost in the “computer jargon” used by both the “hackers” and the political forces. I

have worked as a security engineer for three Internet Service Providers. I am presently a security programmer at the second-largest private Internet Service Provider in Tampa. To do my job, I must to understand the thoughts and methods of the cyber-delinquents often misnamed as “hackers.” This experience has given me a strong perspective of both the intruder and victim’s side. Firstly, take the view of the American people. This includes people who do and do not have computers at home, and do not understand their core functions. This group also makes up the majority of the users on the Internet. Most of them are home users with no intentions of understanding the machine they own. They see “hackers” as being electronic vandals and information thieves, breaking computer

networks and destroying data. They fear anyone with cyber-power, because they do not understand the abilities of such individuals. This fear is primarily hatched from sensationalistic movies and articles written on “hackers.” It exists almost solely in consequence to the actions of the media. The irrationality of this fear is proven by the contrasting attitude of technically oriented society. The technically oriented part of society is made up of (at the very minimum) very advanced home users, capable of modifying parts of their computer and fixing most problems. This sect also includes network administrators and operators, most programmers, and most computer hardware specialists. Not all programmers or hardware specialists fall under this description, because many of them do

not have or need a full understanding of a computer in order to complete their job. These technically oriented people have enough knowledge about computers so as to not automatically resort to fear. Most of them understand the vast difference between a cyber-vandal and a true hacker. In fact, most of them have acted as either a cyber-vandal, hacker, or both at some time in their past. They generally see that actual hackers are not intent on damaging things. Actual hackers are content with the free spread of information and thought. The people that technically inclined individuals avoid and sometimes fear are the delinquents and vandals who find it amusing to damage and ruin data. In an attempt to make people think they are anything more than attention-starved brats with