Re: tragedy and hope

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Tue Sep 11 2001 - 16:13:27 MDT

Michael Wiik wrote:
> Would this be reasonable? I don't know, I'm just speculating here. Also,
> I'm trying to gear the writing toward the general public (U.S.
> specifically), so please keep that in mind. I welcome edits and/or
> complete rewrites.
> No doubt there are 100's of thousands of computer programmers really
> pissed off right now, rallying around the flag in a big way, perhaps
> even for the first time in their lives. Many of whom have hacker skills,
> and more importantly, many of whom have *international* contacts via
> their work. Contacts in which race/religion/nationality are ignored in
> favor of shared interests and expertise. Contacts that often use pen
> names, and aren't necessarily compromised if appropriate information is
> passed to authorities. Despite the probable desires of the intelligence
> community to have sole responsibilities for anti terrorist intelligence
> gathering in the U.S., this -- the geeks, nerds, and hackers making up
> the computer community -- is a resource which should be nurtured.

You want to turn hackers into spies or what? I am sure that any
of us, in any line of work, that have leads on groups that might
be up to something like this would come forward with the
information. But in general I don't see a tighter relationship
with authority, much of which wishes to suppress us and is used
for that purpose big-time, as being a good thing.

> Yesterday, we lived in a different world. A world where legislation like
> the DMCA, and subsequent events including the 2600/DeCSS case, the
> cancellation due to threat of lawsuit of a presentation relating to
> security defects in SDMI, the arrest of a Norwegian teenager linked to
> DeCSS, the Skylarov arrest, and, most ominously, the proposed SSSCA
> bill, was really causing a lot of anger among this community. Anger not
> just against the MPAA and RIAA, but also the government. It may not be
> very visible, since demonstrations against such things often consist of
> only a couple dozen people, but the simmering resentment is there.

It is exactly the same world as yesterday as far as these things
and the legitimate anger against them is concerned. This
changes nothing on this front except perhaps giving
authoritarian types a bit more ammunition to control and oppress
the rest of us.

> (Consider that many in this community are too busy to take time off to
> demonstrate, and many are geeks and nerds who prefer the glow of
> computer screens in a darkened room to daylight). This resentment is
> leading to serious discussions of which free country to emigrate to.
> (Russia is a recent candidate, being probably furthest from the reach of
> the MPAA and RIAA, with the possible exception of China). If it
> continues we may well see a major brain drain from the U.S.

Well, Russia would certainly not be anywhere near my first
choice considering the chaos and lack of good infrasturcture and
extreme political volatility.
> The discussion coming from some congressmen about re-examining civil
> liberties, and computer community discussion about how this day will
> lead to further repression of (for example) encryption technology (since
> that could be used by terrorists), isn't helping. It's time to think
> differently. It's time to get the hackers on our side. (They always
> were, in most respects anyway, and especially so in this country, where
> there is plenty of opportunity for talented people).

And we are happy to be on the side of freedom always. This is
not always the US side in all political, legal and economic
conflicts however.
> The choice is really fairly simple. Do we want to make every electronic
> networked device a tool of copyright law enforcement, as Hollywood and
> the music industry desire and legislation like the DMCA and upcomming
> SSSCA would enforce, and anger almost every hacker in the country? Or
> can we ease up a little, restore some rights instead of eroding them
> further, (recognizing that yes, a few Hollywood films or Brittany Spears
> albums are gonna find their way onto the Internet) and turn this
> community into an ally?

Cool. I could see that. But that isn't the way it will be
played. Would that it were so. It would make too much good

- samantha

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