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Hacking the World

Claudio "nex" Guarnieri

Computer systems were destined for a global cultural and economic revolution that the hacker community anticipated. We saw the potential, we saw it coming. And while we enjoyed the little time of reckless banditism, playing cowboys of the early interconnected age, we also soon welcomed the public realization that we were right all along, that information technology was going to change everything, and that information security was critical. Now, the Internet governs our lives. Success always comes with strings attached. The Internet morphed with us. Once an unexplored space we were wandering in solitude, now it has become a marketplace for goods, *the* vehicle for communication, as well as an instrument for control, and a field for battle. We learned the many ways it was abused and broken. We learned the stories of those who were victims of the shortcomings of computer and network systems, and we realized how often and brutally they were turned into means of persecution against those who struggle for free speech and democracy around the world. In this lecture I wish to reflect on the maturation of the security and hacking communities and their role in larger societal and political participation. We'll reflect on the predominant role that technology has been growing into our lives, and the responsibilities we have in nurturing it. After having spent the last years in researching, exposing, and preventing the electronic targeting of dissidents and journalists, I hope to synthesize my experience and suggest how to reconsider our tactics, the successes, and the failures, and hopefully draw some inspiration for a brighter future.

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