In light of recent news coming from England, my home country, it seems fitting to address the issue of hacking.
I work primarily in technology, reporting news for techies and exploring the future of the digital age. As such, I’m often writing glowing reports on the wonders of Internet vigilantism and ethical hackers.
The news from England that some less admirable hacking has allegedly (I say “allegedly,” but in reality it would take a miracle for the hackers to be found innocent) taken place in order to find new stories for the infamous British tabloids.
Stories such as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s "Baby Has Cystic Fibrosis" required hacking of medical records and phones. The question that barely needs to be asked is “Is this story worth breaking the law for?”
Stories I’m reporting on though, relate more to hacks from groups like LulzSec, the loveable rogues who went hack-crazy for 50 days, seemingly attacking every and any authoritative organisation in sight. It seems that hacking while waving a flag (or a sail, in LulzSec’s case) and with your tongue firmly in your cheek, is wholly acceptable.
While I tend to agree, actually, with favouring of the likes of LulzSec and co. in their quest to do as they please while making Joe Public smile, I can’t help but feel disappointed in the media’s relentless bias. I agree on a personal level, not a professional one.
My problem is this, if the media report on a story, it’s seen as fact by some people. I understand that some people are just… well… stupid, but they’re important nonetheless. I think the believing public make up a larger portion of the world than most would care to believe. If the BBC report a semi-playful “CIA Website Shut Down” story, the reader is indoctrinated with the belief that this is acceptable.
While it’s not my place to challenge these beliefs, it is my place to challenge the negligence of the
piece, especially when compared to the relative outrage they assigned to hackers’ action when the News of the World (a British newspaper, which has closed as a result of the hacking allegations) was bought into the spotlight.
Either the media’s outrage at the tabloid press' alleged actions is opinion over fact, or their love affair with LulzSec was. Neither is acceptable from the likes of the BBC.