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Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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27 Responses

  1. Avatar Scott says:

    Has anyone actually confirmed that you can donate to the KKK using VISA, or is it made up BS to excuse the hackers actions? Let’s also remember the Wikileaks has in their possession and is in the process of releasing secret and top secret material. If I were a company like VISA I wouldn’t let them use my company to further such actions. Who is naive enough to believe that the folks that did this would ever agree to a code of ethics?Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Scott says:

      I’d prefer not to direct you to a Klan website, but here you go. Click through, and it offers Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        The American Nazi Party (Google it; I’m not linking to them) appears to take only cash and money orders. I expect it’s because they don’t want teh Joos who run the banks tracing them.Report

    • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Scott says:

      Scott, it’s not a matter of getting bad players to follow a code of ethics, it’s a matter of working out the ethics in the Information Age so that bad actors are revealed and excoriated for ethics violations — so that bad behavior is not encouraged by gullible young users — For a new generation, the power of hacking and revealing information might be a rush, but if it’s used indiscriminately, unethically, in a way that invades the private lives of innocent people, destroying their livelihoods or endangering their families, there should be some code of ethics to reveal the bad players, so that they are criticized — punished, if they violate someone’s rigts – not praised for being destructive anarchists who cause a backlash from the government giving them the reasons they need to tightly regulate the internet.Report

      • Avatar Scott in reply to Mike Farmer says:

        Don’t we already have laws against doing the sort of thing these folks have done? If so, then what do we need more rules for them to break? Or maybe I should ask where are the parents to teach these folks ethics in the first place.Report

        • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Scott says:

          Scott, that’s what I’m talking about is a code of ethics for the gray areas — something known among users, not more laws. Yes, there are laws which will apply to some egregious behavior, but not in the gray areas, and it is here that society should have a conversation, especially the young users, so that it’s not just a matter of willy-nilly hacking and revealing information just because you can.Report

        • Avatar Barrett Brown in reply to Scott says:

          These people have ethics. The one I’ve written about recently, Gregg Housh, built a website to spotlight charities with low visibility. Others have volunteered to work on a project for African development which I’m overseeing.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Scott says:

          I should make very clear that I’m not endorsing this behavior at all. Still, even as with terrorism — an a fortiori if ever there was one — understanding the agents’ motivations is tremendously important. Is it proper to call a DDoS a form of civil disobedience? Some have said yes, and others, no. I’m undecided.

          One thing that won’t impress me much is to reiterate that there are laws against it. That’s the whole point of civil disobedience. There were laws against blacks sitting in the front of the bus, too, and that point… well, at that point the laws can take a flying leap. Have we reached a similar point? That’s where things get interesting.

          Speaking directly to that question is an examination of some of the drawbacks of this type of action, or why it’s unlikely to achieve its aim, or why it does unacceptably high levels of collateral damage. Here’s a good post arguing in that direction.

          Note that throughout, from righteous antisegregation protests all the way down to al Qaeda, we are talking about illegal actions. The question here is of justification outside the law. Sometimes you most certainly have it. Other times you most certainly don’t. And still other times, it’s harder to tell.Report

          • “[W]e are talking about illegal actions. The question here is of justification outside the law. Sometimes you most certainly have it. Other times you most certainly don’t. And still other times, it’s harder to tell.

            The internet never wants for opportunities to post links to Kenny Rogers:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn481KcjvMo

            When you’re finished watching that, watch this:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpnmfbLiRngReport

          • Avatar Barrett Brown in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

            To quote myself from yesterday’s discussion with Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs and some of his readers:

            Incredibly, there has been more “serious discussion” about arresting Anons and assassinating Julian Assange than there has been in regards to trying Bush administration officials such as Dick Cheney with crimes. If the rule of law is applied selectively and in such a way as to allow Shell partial control of the Nigerian state and thus further prevent that state from catering to the needs of its people, and in such a way as that the powerful may commit any number of crimes in the course of launching a poorly-executed war and not only stay out of court but also go on to speak to corporate audiences in exchange for huge fees – whereas meanwhile a 16-year-old kid in The Netherlands is snatched up in 24 hours for DDOSing a corporate web site – then those who consider the world’s governments to be a legitimate arbiters of justice will have to accept that some of us do not agree.

            Either the U.S. government is the client of its people and corporate citizens and acts in accordance to their will – in which case it is those people and corporate citizens who are responsible for the crimes of that government, and thus ought not to act so surprised when a couple of their websites are being disrupted – or it is not, in which case an attack on a couple of corporate websites are the least of their worries (which is not to say that they wouldn’t put those at the top of their list anyway and perhaps get around to the government thing during a commercial break).

            At any rate, that is where I am in my life after having seen what I’ve seen.Report

          • Jason,

            Yes, I’m all for civil disobedience when the State is violating rights. I am for openness when it comes to the government, and the more we know the better off we are. I just caution the silly romanticism of hackers who are drunk with some illusion that they are modern day super-hero freedom-fighters. This kind of silliness can cause some half-baked ideologue to ruin private citizens just because they can access private info and do damage. I just think we need plenty of converstations like this one — thanks.Report

          • Avatar Scott in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

            Jason:

            Tell us then, what law(s) are the Wikileaks supporters protesting by attacking private enterprises?Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Mike Farmer says:

        Mike: “For a new generation, the power of hacking and revealing information might be a rush, but if it’s used indiscriminately, unethically, in a way that invades the private lives of innocent people, destroying their livelihoods or endangering their families, there should be some code of ethics to reveal the bad players, so that they are criticized — punished, if they violate someone’s rigts – not praised for being destructive anarchists who cause a backlash from the government giving them the reasons they need to tightly regulate the internet.”

        Yes – can you imagine what sort of world we’d have if people could, like – just do stuff? And hurt people? Frequently keeping it secret, and avoiding punishment even if it came out afterwards?Report

  2. “But they do become understandable as something much more than mere vandalism.”

    Art/Obscenity
    Vandalism/Protest
    Journalism/Some Guy with a Smart PhoneReport

  3. Avatar Scott says:

    Barrett:

    Why do you continue to harp on Shell, Nigeria and the US gov’t? Shell is not a US company, so shouldn’t the Dutch or the Brits do something about its behavior and not us?Report

  4. Avatar Chris says:

    I think it’s important, and interesting, to point out that Anonymous, on its boards, is one place were such discussions about the ethics of hacking takes place. Groups, or quasi-groups, like Anonymous don’t worry me. It’s the 15-year old kid in his bedroom with no affiliation, even a loose one, with a group like Anonymous, who has no real concept of the consequences of his or her actions for others, and no real understanding of how things work in the larger world, and who is therefore much more likely to operate without an ethical code, or even if he or she has one, to apply it unskillfully.Report

    • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Chris says:

      Whoops. Sorry, Chris—somehow my brain transposed “hacking” into “hijacking”. Not once, but twice. Sheesh.Report

    • Avatar Mike Farmer in reply to Chris says:

      In order to effectively oppose the State, there has to be an intelligent attack, not just something which is more like a dumb, destructive virus. In order to reveal the flaws of the State, there must be clarity and focus — something that pierces the intellect and creates light. In a battle of simple destruction, the State will win, and everybody who gives a damn about freedom will lose, because there will be lots of collateral damageReport

  5. Avatar Heidegger says:

    Chris, now THAT’S side splittingly funny–” Anonymous, on its boards, is one place were such discussions about the ethics of hacking takes place.” How about the ethics of serial killing?.” Or the ethics of hijacking and sinking a cruise ship.” Or the ethics of concentration camps? Or the ethics of abducting a country’s Olympic athletes and executing every one of them? I’m assuming this is tongue and cheek and your just yanking the chains of the readers here. I can’t wait to check this out. And thanks for the laughs!Report