From The Register,
April 18, 2001 5:02 PM   Subscribe

From The Register, it looks like the UK has implemented an internet police force.
posted by paladin (1 comment total)
Angela Gunn writes a Net Ethics column for Yahoo Internet Life magazine. This month's installment isn't yet available online, but in the magazine Gunn gives a good argument for the need for hackers to have a personal code, and that in fact for most there is already such a thing in place. It's called common sense. She differentiates between hackers and crackers, explaining that a true hacker doesn't break into commercial or government sites and servers to cause trouble, but to figure out how they work. True hackers don't want your credit card number. They're not con artists and thieves. In Gunn's view of cyberspace, it's the crackers that seek to cause harm to others either for mischief or avarice. Hackers are (in theory) the ones wearing the white hats.

Hackers do it for self-gratification and enlightenment, but they also often uncover problems, bugs, and other indescrepancies that can actually assist the firms in question, and help protect them from crackers and those who actually seek to do harm. Provided the firm in question is open-minded and willing to listen, which is not often the case. Perhaps Gunn oversimplifies the entire issue. I wouldn't be surprised if there are people out there who call themselves hackers but have no code, and others probably dislike the whole categorization concept, preferring just to amorally do what feels right at the time and not give semantics to the consequences. Gunn's heart is in the right place though, and she's got a marvelous way with the english language (not to mention she's a babe).

My point is, and yes I have one, if any 'police force' is to be fair and successful in cyberspace, they'll need to realize that just because someone hacks into a system, that does not automatically make them a menace to society. It's as absurd to lump all hackers, phreakers, crackers etc together, as it is to use a vague word like "indecent" as a measuring tool for censorship of the Internet. I suppose the governments of the world will have to learn the hard way. I'm reminded of a college buddy who had been a copter pilot in VietNam. He explained to me that he'd see American armies take a hill, and he'd offer air support, but the vietnamese simply went literally underground. Then a few days later the armies would be ordered to pull back and the vietnamese would just crawl out from underground. Turned out they had extensive tunnel systems in some parts of the country. So even when an American army could claim victory, it was hollow and meant nothing.

The Internet works the same way. When Net Police put up roadblocks, those in the know will simply dig around or under them.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:46 PM on April 18, 2001

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