[free-sklyarov] Hacker

Austin Hook marvin at qubit.computershop.calgary.ab.ca
Mon Aug 6 14:48:45 PDT 2001

    Thank god there's a judge with at least some sense. $50K bail in a
case like this, is not excessive, especially with the vindictive folks in
the fed prosecutors office claiming he is a flight risk.  Bodes well for
success of a motion to dismiss later this year.  

    (Correct me if I am wrong, reading the, only $50K bail being granted,
as a good sign of what that judge is thinking.)

    Now I think it's time to start deprecating the word hacker where
Dmitry is concerned.   Although Dmitry's work is of interest to hackers of
both the good and bad types,  when major media uses the work hacker, we
know what they mean.  They mean it as in "criminal". 

    What I have seen is that Dmitry is just a serious researcher and
programmer, just doing his job, and does not even fit the model of
ordinary hacker: the kind who make new programs mostly just for fun,
amusement and glory, or creates work arounds, bends software into shape to
accomplish something novel, all without violating anyone's copyright much
less profiting by distributing "pirated" copies of commercial software, or
releasing damaging viruses to the world.  Hacker basically just means
someone good enough to "hack" through a jungle of code without an official
road map.

    So I think newspapers who use headlines "Hacker... Dmitry ..." should
be threatened for suit for defamation, with sufficient remedy being to
publish either a retraction, or else a detailed explanation of how
"hacker" need not be interpreted as criminal.  This should not be
necessary for publications whose targeted readership already knows this,
but for publications that are deliberately using the word "hacker",
knowing that their readership is ignorant of the fair meaning of "hacker"
then, if they are not doing it to defame, they must provide sufficient and
constant clarification to their readership what they mean by hacker,
sufficient that at least a majority of their readership knows that they
are not implying that hacker=criminal, and why a hacker is not a criminal
in general.

   I also don't think that "renegade of the year" awards, or such
notoriety is appropriate where Dmitry is concerned.  He's just a competent
guy doing top notch work, and an innocent victim of unjust interpretations
of unjust legislation, visiting what is getting to be an unjust country.  
There is no need to draft him into a mould that he doesn't fit, and I
don't think it helps his case.  Not that such a fate should happen to a
true hacker either.

   We will have plenty of true hackers that will get into trouble if this
law sticks around. And there will be plenty of occasion to point out how
even non-hackers risk their freedom from this new oppression.

Austin Hook


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