On the Ethics of Hacking

This is a discussion on On the Ethics of Hacking within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Ladies and gentlemen of the CProgramming.com boards, Please allow me to present to you this question that has agonized me ...

  1. #1
    Board Conservative UnregdRegd's Avatar
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    On the Ethics of Hacking

    Ladies and gentlemen of the CProgramming.com boards,

    Please allow me to present to you this question that has agonized me for weeks now: When is hacking ethical? Certain GNURadicals will tell you that hacking is just coding. However, I am using the commonly understood definition: intrusion into a computer system.

    From what I've gathered, it's usually immoral to hack because it goes against God's word: "Thou shalt not steal" (Exodus 20:16). I would say it's a form of stealing computer data and personal records, which only authorized government agents ought to have the right to access without prior explicit permission.

    Clearly, not every nation follows an Occidental understanding of property rights, specifically the communist bloc nations. Moreover, these same communist regimes often hinder the fundamental human rights such as freedom of speech and press. Therefore, I consider it to be ethical to hack Chinese websites, especially if their websites for the People's Republic of China. However, for such an act to be ethical, it must enlighten the oppressed subjects of the communist state of the universal freedoms they've been missing.

    There is a certain undesirable element that hacks systems under--shall we say--radical pretenses. I am specifically referring to anti-authority and anti-globalization anarchists' groups and so-called cyberpunks. These misguided youths are filled with passionate idealism and not an ounce of common sense. Their behavior viz--viz hacking is anti-social and unethical. U.S. computer crime law is sufficient for these cases.

    I now invite everyone to discuss this subject. I am sure I have made some controversial assertions, but I believe healthy disagreement sustains true democracy.
    I am a programmer. My first duty is to God, then to nation, then to employer, then to family, then to friends, then to computer, and finally to myself. I code with dignity, honor, and integrity.

  2. #2
    RoD
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    Not another one of these.

    From what I've gathered, it's usually immoral to hack because it goes against God's word: "Thou shalt not steal" (Exodus 20:16). I would say it's a form of stealing computer data and personal records, which only authorized government agents ought to have the right to access without prior explicit permission.
    Access isnt stealing, saving or otherwise keeping knowledge obtained may be considered stealing however.

    There is a certain undesirable element that hacks systems under--shall we say--radical pretenses. I am specifically referring to anti-authority and anti-globalization anarchists' groups and so-called cyberpunks.
    We call them terrorists, and on a lower level, script kiddies.

    These misguided youths are filled with passionate idealism and not an ounce of common sense. Their behavior viz--viz hacking is anti-social and unethical. U.S. computer crime law is sufficient for these cases.
    Who says they are youths?

    Your thread shows you dont understand or know much at all about how hackers/crackers work, or how the society basis its rules.

    Those of us who have studies or participated in such activites realize the in-significance and "lameness" of discussions such as these.

    Beyond that, this subject has been entertained here countless times, and i dont see a reason to start it again. It will only lead to the many different opinions on the definitions of "hacker" and "cracker" and cause flames and dispute.
    Last edited by RoD; 04-05-2004 at 11:36 PM.

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    Rad gcn_zelda's Avatar
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    Hacking isn't ethical. My personal definition is "Gaining unauthorized access of another's computer system."

    It is, however, necessary in certain situations. For example, if a criminal uses a computer, it may be necessary to hack to locate him/her.

    As for your "Thou shalt not steal" analogy, hacking may not be stealing if one is gaining access for the sole purpose of accessing another's computer, as pointless as it may be.

  4. #4
    RoD
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcn_zelda
    Hacking isn't ethical. My personal definition is "Gaining unauthorized access of another's computer system."
    Says you. What is ethical?

    "Being in accordance with the accepted principles of right and wrong that govern the conduct of a profession." - Ethical

    So by interpreting hacking or cracking as a profession, who is to say what is or isnt ethical besides those who specialize within that profession?

    This is why we have "Ethical hacking/cracking" and "Hacking/Cracking". So to you it is un-ethical, to me that opinion is ignorance.

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    zsaniK Kinasz's Avatar
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    >>Moreover, these same communist regimes often hinder the fundamental human rights such as freedom of speech and press.

    Since when is freedom of speech and press a fundamental human right. The very concept of free speech and press has only existed for a couple of hundred years.

    >>Therefore, I consider it to be ethical to hack Chinese websites, especially if their websites for the People's Republic of China. However, for such an act to be ethical, it must enlighten the oppressed subjects of the communist state of the universal freedoms they've been missing.

    Read your bible. It's not okay to beat someone up because you know that they are a bully is it? And who are you to say what is ethical or that they are oppressed. A person is only oppressed if they feel that way.

    Not all countries/cultures share your beliefs.
    "Assumptions are the mother of all **** ups!"

  6. #6
    & the hat of GPL slaying Thantos's Avatar
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    Hacking, in the sense of gaining unauthorized access to a computer, is the cyber equivlent to breaking into a home.
    But saying you didn't touch, destroy, or harm anything is no excuse.

    Its unethical to do this because it violates a person's, or group of persons, right to privacy, to own and control their own properity, and even their sense of security.

    However there is a base for civial disobedience to bring around positive social change. But hacking a Chinese web site is not going to bring that type of change. How many of the Chinese people who have access to the web don't know that they are being censored by the government?

  7. #7
    &TH of undefined behavior Fordy's Avatar
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    Ethics, rights & wrongs aside, this subject is not one that we want discussed on these boards.

    Refer to the board rules - http://cboard.cprogramming.com/annou...ouncementid=51

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