Thursday, July 04, 2013

Hackers run wild

A story in the Journal this morning on whether Snowden and Manning are anomalies or new norms. Hacker culture is not receptive to authority, yet the organs of authority need hacker skills to assure us of security.  What's a poor security apparatus to do?

This is, like so many problems we face these days, fundamentally a problem of alignment.  If people don't feel aligned with what power wants them to do, they won't go with it.  And alignment is, in the age of media and societal fragmentation and the micro-segmentation of messaging -- and the distrust the latter arouses -- a fiendishly difficult problem.  How can the government convince enough people it's doing the right thing to stop them from undermining it?

There are no easy answers. The government must start first by doing the right thing. And people must talk to each other, and not just those who agree with them, but those who don't, to take in diverse opinions.  If we all live in our little cells and don't understand the other, rectitude becomes a form of masturbation, something done in strict isolation or, for the daring, in an exhibitionist way.

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