The Conscience of a Hacker

“Hacking”, as defined by Techopedia, is the “unauthorised intrusion into a computer or a network”. Personally, in the past, the insinuation of the word carried very negative connotations, and was certainly lacking any consideration regarding ethics.

Which is why I was fascinated to learn about the “The Hackers Manifesto By The Mentor”, which was “one of the first attempts at describing the hacker culture from the perspective of a hacker himself”. Below is a video of “The Mentor” giving a speech about his work in 2002.

And so, with the emergence of a hacker subculture, we see the manifestation of a certain respective “code of ethics” – just as would be expected in any other form of division. Information freedom, the sharing of secrets, the disregard for hierarchies and the playful encounter with such closed systems are all elements which stem from the hacker ethics of the 1980’s and 90’s. And whether it’s social hacktivists, ethical hackers, your neophyte or blue hat hacker, this code forms a foundation upon which many assumed rules of conduct are built.


Featured Image: “Keyboard” by Chris Fletcher, Licensed under CC Attribution Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Published by susiealdermann

Fifth Year Bachelor of Communications and Media/ Bachelor of International Studies (Dean's Scholar) student

5 thoughts on “The Conscience of a Hacker

  1. Hi Susie! I really enjoyed this blog post, particularly your Soundcloud. It really captured the controversy surrounding the ethics of hacktivism in today’s society. If a hacker’s intentions are to benefit society, should they still be called criminals? How do you think we can change this? Here is a Ted Talk, discussing ‘The beauty of hackers’ in creating a better world, .
    Overall l really enjoyed this blog post, can’t wait to read more 🙂


  2. Hi. Totally love your “The Hacker Manifesto” remix, which is done beautifully and creatively. Good job! Also, as you claimed that “in the past, the insinuation of the word carried very negative connotations”, it would be more convincing if you could link that sentence to an article that explains further those “negative connotations” or a collection of hacking incidents that created bad reputation for hackers. Additionally, as you mentioned the “code of ethics”, which “forms a foundation upon which many assumed rules of conduct are built’, I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this issue: Does the code of ethics make the hacker subculture less dangerous or in contrast even more dangerous? In some cases, I think with the code of ethics, the hacker subculture can be even more dangerous. I suggest you take a look at this article: “Information freedom” and “disregard for hierarchies” lead WikiLeaks and Assange to say that “they have no responsibility for the content they leak” and thereby feel no need to fact-check what they leak, which could turn Wikileaks into “a damaged and biased filter”. Reading your blog post, I assume your stand is that code of ethics make the hacking subculture less dangerous and more ethical? I would love to hear from you. Thank you!


  3. Hey there!
    Im glad im not the only one that had negative and/or misinformed preconceptions of what a hacker is and does! I never really realised that there could be anything other than selfish reasonings behind hacking.
    if you’ve got time, heres a little article on some more reasons why hackers actually aren’t as bad as we first thought!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hackers a viewed with such allusive and negative connotations so I really enjoyed how you stripped these away in your blog post and focused on the ‘conscience’ of a hacker and their potential to do good. With such corruption in the world it’s interesting that they are still being viewed this way, do you think it’s because hackers are generally depersonalised and viewed as a risk to one’s privacy despite their potential to uncover some of the biggest corruption in the world? Or maybe because we are afraid of the power a hacker possesses? You might like this journal which explores the idea of hackers as a public service.

    Liked by 1 person

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