Against brute force and injustice, the people shall have the last word, that of victory

Hacking is not a recent issue. It has been around for as long as people have been sending coded messages to each other. It was not until after World Wr 2 though that technology was proving to allow for messages to be come decoded from within people’s homes. The rise of the internet has seen an increase in this. 

Not all hacking though is about gaining information. For example, phone phreaking is the act of a person making an international call through phone lines that mean they do not have to pay the fee of the call.

As with the example above there is always a victim when it comes to hacking. But it is not always the person or organisation that is hacked.

It is becoming more evident that it is intact in many cases the hackers themselves that end up being the victim.

Edward Snowden was employed by the American Government in the C.I.A as a computer analyst. In 2013 Snowden released thousands of documents from the National Security Agency detailing the American Government’s role in collecting surveillance from all of the world and on their own citizens.

The American Government did not like that all of their efforts to conceal evidence relating to these some what illegal practices being leaked. Snowden was charged with two counts of violating the Espionage Act and theft of Government property. He sought asylum in Russia in 2013 where he currently remains, hidden from the American Government. 

Snowdens actions have created a huge debate over what governments are doing with information and what level of privacy, if any, do citizens receive. 

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you feel comfortable the government having access to all of your information?
  • Do you agree with the idea of collecting large amounts of metadata for national security reasons?
  • Would you willingly hand over your private details to the government?
  • Did you know that any of this is happening? 
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6 thoughts on “Against brute force and injustice, the people shall have the last word, that of victory

  1. I really liked your phone phreaking example! I did not know about this, so your blog post was very interesting to read. It is extremely daunting to think about the vast amount of content that individuals, organisations or Governments could be collecting on any given person. I feel that many online users don’t understand the extend of information that is being retrieved from our cyber trails for ‘security’ reasons. I am not comfortable with anyone spying on my online behaviour, however, it seems that this surveillance comes as a given within our contemporary digital society.

  2. It’s interesting that we are talking about metadata now because next week is when the new metadata laws are going to be introduced in Australia, requiring telcos to keep our metadata for two years. According to that article, there are going to be “restrictions” on who can access it, and the scheme will be closely monitored, but the point is it IS still there, and they CAN access it. I mean, I have nothing to hide, I’m sure I have nothing to say that the government would be interested in, but it still makes me a little uneasy. It’s very 1984… I just wonder what’s next?? And when these kinds of laws come into place, we start seeing the demonization of people like Snowden, who are just trying to protect the common notion of personal privacy and uncover what was essentially a government lying to its people about what happens to their data.
    In terms of whether I agree with it or not, I’m not sure. I’m not denying that terrorism is a threat, and, as is also shown in that article, there have been times when this kind of data has helped thwart terrorism efforts. What I’m thinking about here is where are they going to draw the line with it? Will it always be just about preventing terrorism? Or will it expand? I don’t know. And that’s what’s concerning about it.
    Great post this week! Really got me thinking.

  3. Hi Gabbi,

    I am interested in your discussion about the victims of hacking. I personally believe the victims are always the public who have to pay the price of the increased security enforcements that result from hacking.

    According to one article I found (http://www.insidesources.com/rogers-new-phone-metadata-program-will-make-nsa-slower-less-effective/), terrorist groups have rapidly changed their communications behaviour since the Snowden leaks in 2013. Islamic extremist groups have now achieved a level of insight as to what NSA does, how they do it, and the capabilities they have that they didn’t have in the past.

    As a result, NSA has introduced a new phone metadata program replacing the agency’s bulk phone records collection to help achieve a better insight as to what these terrorist groups are doing. However, despite allowing for better insights, this new program will severely weaken NSA’s ability to respond to imminent terrorist threats. This just goes to show the extensive repercussions of Snowden’s actions. While Snowden thought it was morally right to disclose and share confidential information with the public, this has ultimately back-fired. Now, in the case of a terrorist attack, such as a plane suddenly changing direction in a 9/11-style scenario, NSA will be slower to respond and put up its defences. This case raises the question of whether hacking is ultimately beneficial for the public in the long-term.

    Thought-provoking blog post! I think it would be great if you could also add in some hyperlinks to other sources so readers can delve deeper into this fascinating issue.

  4. Hi Gabby,

    I had never heard of phone phreaking until now. As it is a new term to me, I did some research and found this link on the history it. http://www.historyofphonephreaking.org/faq.php.

    I can definitely understand why someone would want to have free international calls, but of course if you get caught it is likely that you will get in a lot of trouble! I like your example of Snowden, which I personally think is a very interesting topic. He released millions of files that the government was hiding. I think this was an important step not only for making people aware of how shifty and unprofessional the government was being, but also to highlight that hacking and part taking in illegal activity is something that goes on all the time especially in an environment where Internet and technologies are so readily available.

    Would really appreciate some links to Snowden’s story as well as the concept of phone phreaking, otherwise, good job.

  5. I agree with you that hacking is not what it always claims as to bring important news and confidential information to the public. Look at the theft of hundreds of intimate celebrity photos or your great phone phreaking example, it shows that hacking is not a totally good thing; nonetheless, I don’t think it is bad too. Sometimes, we still need someone who can deliver information which the corporations or government do not wish to show to the public.

    Of course I feel utterly uncomfortable that the government has the full rights to access all of my information; but what can we do? I always imagine a day which there is no government to rule the world; but, it must still have someone to manage and store the information of every person of the world. Why? For instance, what if someone is missing but people have no idea and data about him, I do not think that he can be found.

    At the end of the day, it really depends on how well a person protects his private information as the technologies continue to advance in our lives. I feel like we should not blame others when our data or photos are leaked since I assume all of us understand that once we post online, it stays online.

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