Essay about Ethics of Computer Hacking

Essay about Ethics of Computer Hacking

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Hackers: Control and Property

The ethical issues surrounding hacking, stem from several sources mainly dealing with order and control, and information ownership. What is difficult to decipher from all the media hoopla surrounding the terms, "hacker" and "hacking" is both the simultaneous sensationalism and the condemnation of said activities. Of course just recently, even a movie was made and was appropriately called Hackers. The term and all that it implies has truly entered our popular consciousness when Hollywood has made a box office movie on it. As the advancement of computer technologies and systems of information become increasingly more and more complex in today's fast paced modern world and said technologies become an integral part of our homes and lives with rapid progress, we attempt to assert more and more control over what we consider "information," and "property." "Hacking" then seems to be the flagrant abuse of systems of information, complete and utter "unauthorized access." Yet what is the other side to this debate? Is there any validity to the concept of "free information," of "pure information?" The main ethical issues surrounding hacking seem to concern our definition of property and ownership, and the much more theoretical, abstract view of "control".

Who has control and exactly who should have control? What is information? Can it really be free? Should it be free? What about ownership and property rights? Is that an obsolete concept, stuck in the dark ages before computer technologies were invented and the main concern back then was physical property and damage? First, lets talk about property. Who owns what? The main issue here seems to be the different conceptualizations of property ownership and syst...


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Janine Jackson, a media theorist has tried to stress the importance of having people who can "explain and represent online experience accurately," so that the popular press is not in danger of provoking dramatic, paranoiac responses to the "problems caused by poor circulation systems of illicit information on-line." In the March 1990 issue of Harper's, a former "hacker" spoke about his experience and work online. But this is a rare occurrence for a former "hacker" to come forward . There was the Time magazine "Cyber Porn" article, in which academics at Carnegie Mellon University, Vanderbilt University and others were asked to contextualize and analyze the issues involved in understanding the "powerful, and diverse, underground community." Thus in order to begin to understand this diverse community, we must be able to get as much accurate information as possible.

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