Big Brother Works Both Ways

Big Brother Works Both Ways
5 comments, 17/09/2008, by , in Reality Check
The minute we’re born, the doctor slaps our little bottoms and the nurse enters our information into a computer database. This is something that we have to accept in this digital world. Let’s call it the Matrix. Yes, I like that, too. At any point in time, our entire lives can be opened like a book or a computer folder. Everything that we were, are, and will become exists in this folder and its subfolders on computers around the world. All it takes is for someone to compile this information to get a detailed view of who and what we are.This is the “Big Brother” that we’ve all talked about – someone is always watching and always listening. This is the very purpose of Bush’s unwarranted wiretapping on American citizens. Every step we take is tracked – cellphone, email, computer, internet, credit cards, etc etc etc. Every letter I type in this very blog post is dynamically screened to weed out for specific words – bomb, kill, anthrax, suicide, allah, islam, bush, and so on. In fact, I may have just set off some red flags in Dick Cheney’s basement.

But, today, I read something that gives me some comfort.

Sarah Palin had her email accounts hacked. Politically, this didn’t reveal much so far. It seems these were just personal email accounts that she may have used for government business. Of course, this leads to other potential implications of wrongdoing. Pastebin, Wikileaks and Gawker all have something related to Sarah Palin’s email being hacked which you can see for yourself – screenshots, pictures, emails. But, that’s not what this post is about although it’s a strong example.

See, a group, or pseudo-group, of hackers known as Anonymous did the dirty work of breaking into Sarah Palin’s email. It gives me comfort because it lets me realize that there is someone out there, a group of someones, with the ability to fight fire with fire. It’s similar to the slaughter of the Native Americans as they tried to fight gunpowder and spheres made of metal with bows and arrows made from wood.

We live in a true Matrix and we’ve got to be able to fight back digitally. We, the people, need hackers as the government has hackers and as corporations have hackers that can be, will be, and have been used against us. This hacking lets me know that not even government officials are safe from the system they’ve developed. There is always someone out there watching and listening. And, those kinds of individuals exist on both teams.

However, I do fear, as an ordinary individual, that this loose group of digitally savvy individuals has no set conscience, rules, ethics, or laws. But, that is the nature of those that live in secrecy. We have to trust that there is some good and hope that there is more good than bad.

Update: Please be sure to check out the comments to this post by “Anonymous”. The name doesn’t imply that it is a representative of the group Anonymous. The name only shows up because the person didn’t identify themselves. But, it’s important to get a better understanding of the positive value of hackers from a true hacker’s perspective.

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  • Anonymous. Thank you for your comment. I agree with you. I’ve read the same explanation elsewhere before. Unfortunately, I don’t think the general population care to understand that world. It’s like marijuana. To some people, we’re just a bunch of junkies and that’s the end of the story.

    However, my thought patterns are along the lines of simply having people around with this expertise even if it is misused by the mostly annoying unimaginative script kiddies.

    My feelings are that at some point in time, “the people” are going to need those individuals with the expertise to protect us as the potential fight will be on many fronts including digital.

    What do you think?

  • Anonymous

    Hackers are not all created equally. Black hats, White Hats all share one thing in common and that’s the lust for knowledge that drives them to learn whatever they can about any given system. The term hacker is applied by the media to anyone with a slightly above average level of competency with a computer but that term is applied so liberally and so inaccurately it’s almost lost it’s meaning.

    When speaking on the topic of Anon for instance you are dealing with a very few actual black hat hackers that have amassed a large following of script kiddies, it’s those script kiddies that do most if not all the damage.
    Real hackers are not interested in your personal emails they are interested in the system that delivers them too you and the security by which they are kept “secret”. Real hackers are not interested in your social security number they are interested in the level of difficulty involved in obtaining it (and possibly fixing the system).

    Real hackers are treated as the enemy because they expose security flaws in hopes that software companies, administrators and the government will fix them. Instead of being thanked for helping to make a system more secure for you and your family they are demonized as lumped in with the likes of Anonymous.
    Groups of Script Kiddies that do actual damage to systems and release information they know to be damaging specifically to hurt others for their own amusement. These are NOT the ideals of a real hacker, a real hacker would have found the vulnerability in Sara’s email (in this case her stupid password) and anonymously reported it too her instead of make her private emails public.

  • I always wanted to be a hacker. Never really got the concept. Good read. I know you set off some type of alarm also. Peace.