Are hackers, long considered a threat, now the best defence we’ve got?
For years, since the emergence of Wikileaks as a media sensation, we’ve been aware of a group of digital activists who have warned us, often in apocalyptic language, about the scope and scale of digital surveillance — and we’ve largely dismissed them. But in the wake of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing on spy agencies that are prepared to monitor and collect our personal information, we’re finding out that those activist were, in many cases, accurate in their warnings.
So who are these people, and now that we know they’re more than just a bunch of conspiracy theorists, do we have a responsibility to listen to and act on their warnings? How did we get to a state where, even as this new generation of “hacktivisits” is making all kinds of noise about digital privacy and data security, data breaches and leaks continue to be a near-daily occurrence? Do we want to protect ourselves and our governments from the hackers, or do the hackers have something important to teach us?