Reclaiming the word Hacker

The term Hacker should be kept as they was originally intended, to describe those people who are curious about how things work, whether it be computers, networks, phones, electronics, maths, whatever. People who find ways to use things in ways that was not in the original specification. We used to cherish these people as innovators, explorers, etc. (Well apart from the early days when the church would burn them as heretics). We should go back to using “Hacker” as a positive description, and just call criminals “Criminals”. 

So Media People pay attention, to quote Randal from Clerks. “I’m taking it back”.

by Wayne Pendragon Owens

I am an Author, Freemason, Rosicrucian, Blood Biker, Widows Son, CodeNinja, Spod, Hacker, Son, Uncle, Brother, Man, AN INDIVIDUAL!

14th July 2011

Hackers – News of the World Phone Hacking Scandal

Unless you have been living in a small cave half way up an inhospitable mounting for the last month you would have heard of the News of the World (NotW) Phone Hacking Scandal. It’s especially bad if you live in the UK.

If you are that cave dwelling hermit let me say “How the frak are you reading this post? Did you follow the article on reading blogs on kindles? How have you got internet access? inquiring minds want to know!” *relax* I mean to say, that this scandal is about slime masquerading as reporters who accessed a vast (possible 4,000) number of people’s (Celebrity’s, Sports Stars, Politicians, Victims of Crime) answer phone messages. Now there was such an amount of this going on that the paper has closed down after 168 years in print.

I have no intention of writing about the incident itself, or any of the fallout, or anything directly in relation to this case. That has been covered in depth all over the Internet & Surviving media. What I would like to address is the term thrown about “Phone Hacking Scandal“. Why must everyone insist on calling it Hacking?

*NOTE: Phone Hacking is referred to as Phreaking

Nowhere in any of the reports is any activity mentioned that even faintly falls into the category of “Hacking” under any definition. Even if you take the original definition of Hacking, as in using some piece of technology or item in a way that was different to the intended use. Or knowing or wanting to learn about the inner working of different things, you still can not fit the term “Hacker” or “Hacking” to what the NotW reporters actually did.

What they did was to access peoples voicemail’s. Yes this is wrong, its an intrusion of privacy, it’s probably illegal as “unauthorised to personal communication” but it is not Hacking. They phoned up the voicemail number, and using the Victims phone number, and the generic default pin number accessed they voice mail system in the way it was intended to, in the way we all access it, they just did it without the Victims permission.

Surely it should be called “illegal phone tapping” or “illegal access to mail” or by whatever legal term it is for the crime they committed. The media like using the term Hacker to scare the public about these faceless super-criminals with secret abilities that let them to do almost anything. I think its time to stop the mass-hysteria and excessive incorrect use of this term.

We do not call someone who sticks a plaster on a small graze a Doctor, We do not call the small child playing with a plastic gun in the street a terrorist, and we should not call someone who phones up a publicised phone number and follows the instructions the recorded message tells them a Hacker.

Come on Media People, Your reputation is tarnished over this NotW incident, don’t make it worse by not doing your homework, and just falling into your old scaremongering ways.

A few words about the misappropriation of the term “Hacker“.

To quote Randal from Clerks. “I’m taking it back”