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POSITION OF HACKERS IN THE GAME OF "INFOWAR" by Andy Mueller-Maguhn

From: CHAOS COMPUTER CLUB

POSITION OF HACKERS IN
THE GAME OF "INFOWAR"


In general, hackers are some kind of humans (or aliens) using
technology in a critical creative way to keep "learning by doing" in
the handling of technology. There is not only the fun of the know-how
on controlling a computer systems kept by people who spend a lot of
money and years in a university to be able to handle these machines.
The feeling of 14 to 17 year olds, having the "most fun of pissing in
american military computers" has to be seen in the context of the
social situation of teenys having their fun not with playing football
or going to a disco but get feelings of success by exploring computer
systems. Computers just seem to be more sexy then make-uped girls who
use arrogance to play over their insecureness - and their are
sometimes easier to handle, too. But there is a serious side of
hacking, too - which has not so much to do with the fascination of
technology. It is the side of the believe in the freedom of
information.

In between of these sides is the understanding of technology; if it's
the phone system or computer-networks. This understanding includes
especially the understanding for what the technology was made for.
Computers were never made to keep information secret. There were made
to process, distribute and organize information - but not for keeping
it away from someone. Very near it's with the phone system; in the
first sense it was made to connect people speaking together. Counting
Units to get money for this was an "added" technology to the
phone-system just as the software in computers to avoid that everyone
could read all information.

So the more serious side of hacking is to take this good feature from
technology and make a political program out of it - where politic is
here meant as actively planing life and not by the bullshit which
happens today under the name of politics.

The hacker ethics was originally created at the MIT and contained six
rules.

- Access to computers - and anything which might teach you something
about the way the world really works - should be unlimited and total.
- All information should be free.
- Mistrust Authority
- Promote Decentralization
- Hackers should be judged by their hacking, not bogous criteria such
as degrees, age, race or position.
- You can create art and beauty on a computer.
- Computers can change your life for the better.

It's not neccessary to read Steven Levy's Book "Hackers" to realize
the spirit of the 70's beeing expressed in these ethic rules. At the
MIT the need for the freedom of information was a very practical need
for the sharing of know-how to improve software and everything around.
Today in a world where most of the information is processed in
computers, the need for information is just the same - not only for
computer-freaks but for everyone who lives on this planet (and plans
it). A hack was (and still is) the best solution for a problem -
expressed in very short code of software ("software" contained in
human brains included).

"Information is power" might be a little to easy to explain the wish
to set all information free. But the anarchistic thought (in the
meaning of things in order without authority-structures) to get more
power through information to the people plays a big role in the
hacker's game. The natural enemy of the hacker is secret services -
who institutionalize the secret keeping of information. On the other
side, there is the need for privacy in the information society - by
using cryptographic methods.

The actual version of the hacker ethics has two more rules, that take
the changed role of computers related to society in consideration:

- Don't mess around with other peoples data.
- Make public information free, keep private Information secure.

So hacking doesn't have to do with technology. It can also be done by
social engineering, the art of getting information from someone who is
not allowed or doesn't normally want to give it to you.

Andy Mueller-Maguhn,
andy@ccc.de

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