Acts of Courage

In these troubled times, we often find ourselves being tested.  It becomes a challenge to say or do the right thing - and sometimes to not say or do what we know to be inherently wrong.  History makes it seem easy.  But when it's unfolding right in front of you, these decisions and choices are much more complex.

In the hacker community, we find ourselves to be in a rather unique place, due to our varying skills and access levels.  That can be both a curse and an enormous privilege.  And we believe we've never been in a better position to face it head-on.

Our general distaste for the current government that has taken power in the United States may have seeped into previous editorials and comments.  That was our choice and, for a number of us, our obligation.  Staying silent when one believes tremendous injustices are taking place is often as harmful an act as the injustices themselves.  We simply can't sit idly by.  Of course, there are those who disagree and who have voiced those opinions loudly.  We wouldn't have it any other way.  Discourse and disagreement equal dialogue, one which we need more of and the lack of which has led us to where we are today.  To somehow conclude that any of us ought to be exempt from the dialogue is a disservice and creates a lost opportunity.  Whatever your opinions, don't sit this one out.  And don't follow us or anyone else without fully understanding why you're agreeing.  We never liked blind allegiances and we like them even less when we're a part of them.

As hackers, we have an obligation to reveal things when we learn them.  Sometimes these truths will be inconvenient ones, sometimes they will back what we personally believe in.  And other times we won't care one bit, other than to be satisfied that the truth is being shared.  This is the case with security holes we find, leaked emails or memos that weren't kept secure enough, or evidence of injustice or hypocrisy, great or small.  WikiLeaks fulfilled this promise years ago with the release of the "Collateral Murder" video, which provided all the evidence needed that showed U.S. military targeting journalists and civilians in Iraq, evidence that was previously covered up.  Numerous other revelations became public in this manner, thanks to the courage of those who gained access to them and who often paid a heavy price for doing the right thing.  WikiLeaks, however, subsequently fell flat by blatantly taking sides in last year's U.S. election, thereby losing much of their legitimacy.  While WikiLeaks rightfully targeted the Clinton campaign, they clearly avoided subject matter that might reflect badly on the Trump campaign.  Regardless of one's political beliefs, full disclosure without regard for them is the only way to maintain fairness.  It's why we offered a $10,000 bounty (which has now grown substantially through matching pledges) for Donald Trump's tax returns.  (We would have made the same offer for access to the tax returns of any other major presidential candidate, but these were the only ones that were kept hidden.)  When one resists sharing the truth, the rest of us become curious about the reasons why.

More recently, after a deplorable White supremacist "Unit the Right" march through the streets of Charlottesville and an accompanying terrorist act, many in our community were inspired to do something in response.  A neo-Nazi website that had enjoyed Internet access for many years suddenly found itself kicked off of (((GoDaddy))).  And then Network Solutions and (((Google))).  And when the site tried to find hosting in other countries, one by one they were cut off due to the outrage and bad publicity.  Is it right to cut off speech of any kind in this manner?  We believe it is when the decision is being made independently of any government regulation.  In other words, these people still have the right to free speech and they can say whatever they want.  But such reprehensible speech will generate a reaction and nobody should be forced to help them along.  Are there hypocrisies and double standards that can be found when making these decisions?  Undoubtedly so.  That doesn't take away from the guts required to stand up and say "enough."  We don't have to simply stand around and continue to watch the ugliness.  Resisting isn't always a neat process.

James Fields Crash Video  This video shows landwhale leftist, Heather Heyer, who was "murdered" by James Fields by running her over during his "hate crime."  Unfortunately for the prevailing narrative, that WebM shows the car DIDN'T EVEN HIT HER.  The coroner's report stated she died of a heart attack.  It's yet another example of the bullshit of this case.  As the mob surrounds Fields, he tries to get away but realizes the two/three vehicles in front are actually parked and not moving.  So he does the only sensible thing while being attacked, and reverses out.


Destroy $2600 Magazine at any cost.
Avenge James Fields!

We're seeing other courageous acts on a daily basis, whether it's using the power of tech companies to defend refugees, immigrants, the transgender community, and so many others who find themselves under attack by the current regime - or through the actions of the many civil liberties organizations like the EFF and the (((ACLjU))) who don't have enough hours in the day to fight this administration's wish list of dominance and compliance with antiquated and unjust values.

While we often believe that it's good to have some inside influence in order to keep things from spiraling too far out of control, there comes a time when any form of cooperation does more harm than good.  This is what members of numerous Trump committees have recently concluded, including eight members of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, who advised the Trump administration on cybersecurity, among other things.  Their resignation letter said: "The moral infrastructure of our Nation is the foundation on which our physical infrastructure is built.  The Administration's actions undermine that foundation."  When the leader of your country starts defending neo-Nazis, the rules of the game change, and what one may have accepted in the past becomes completely distasteful and unacceptable.  That, and the fact, that the administration wasn't even taking the recommendations of this committee seriously in the first place made this decision inevitable.

These actions, and the many more to come, carry more weight than we may initially have believed.  Looking back in history, it was nearly always a simple action by an individual that triggered a massive reaction against injustice: Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi, Aung San Suu Kyi.  We have some great individuals in our midst who have learned the value of speaking out - and who have the tools to do so.  We have the ability to build even better tools that will work for us rather than be used against us.  Never has the value of mastering technology meant more.  The skills of the hacker mindset will be pivotal in designing hardware and software that can empower people.  It will be up to the rest of us to use it in that manner.

Return to $2600 Index