September 24, 2011

Hack Week On the Media

Category: Academic,Hackers — Biella @ 1:48 pm

So much reporting on hacking is …. so bad (no surprise to readers here).

Worse is that term term was bandied out constantly during the News of the World Scandal. In contrast to this historical tradition, On the Media has curated a stellar “Hack Week” that provides depth, breath, and nuance; the producer of the show, Alex Goldman, poured an enormous amount of time, labor, and thought in compiling a rich set of materials to get at the term hackers, the many facets of hacking (from phreaking to hardware hacking) and best of all, interviewed the fantastic Marcia Hoffman from the EFF on one of the laws, the Computer and Fraud Abuse Act, whose massiveness (and vagueness) has the potential to do a lot of damage and which is often wielded against hackers (and many non-hackers as well).

There is also an audio section on the term hacker, which I myself might have done slightly differently, emphasizing, that alongside the MIT hacker (covered so well by Steven Levy) phone phreaking (only called as such in 1973 but well and alive before then) fed into a transgressive tradition that was not simply about malicious hacking nor about the media portrayals that started to explode in the 1980s. The interview gets at the fact that there are differences and hackers can be quite sectarian but I might have pushed this fact a little further.

All in all and after the ad nauseum use and abuse of the term hacking during the News of the World scandal (and its overabuse with Anonymous), this collection is the perfect antidote.

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