The Hacker Manifesto argues a valid point that hackers aren’t necessarily a negative presence. They’re technological engineers, in the way in which they push the boundaries of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in the wide scale scheme of our global network. Its not unheard of for online companies to hire professional hackers to try and hack in to their site, as a sort of means to test exactly how safe their private information is.
Hackers shouldn’t be thought of as a group of people, rather a ‘virtual class’. Their weapon is control over one of the most personal areas of our lives; the internet. However, majority of the time they’re not aiming their guns at ordinary people, rather the government and higher ruling classes. People who hold secrets that (they believe) ordinary people have a ‘right’ to know about.
Take ‘Anonymous’ for example. Anonymous is an international network of online activists and ‘hackivist’ entities. They have also described themselves as “an internet gathering” with “a very loose and decentralized command structure that operates on ideas rather than directives”. They became well known after a series of publicity stunts including attacking on the government, religious and corporate websites, exposing secrets and societies.
Julian Assange is another very well known Australian hacker, who has become a household name in countries across the globe. He’s known as the editor-in-chief and founder of the website Wikileaks. Assange has been under investigation in the US since he leaked U.S. military and diplomatic documents on his website in 2010.
Hackers are feared because when they do hack in to a website to retrieve whatever intelligence they’re looking for, they’re doing it to produce something that is worth more than intellectual property. They’re looking for information that can be used to help a whole, rather than a product that that can benefit themselves.