By Isla LaMont
Move over, James Bond — there’s a new sultry hero of questionable morals and relentless espionage in town. Long gone is the world of tuxedos, dirty martinis, and mastery of hand-to-hand combat. The new era of spies is more about Dorito-dusted keyboards and bitcoins. I’m speaking of course about the glorious new realm of hacking, particularly in regards to American politics.
First of all, let me just say that the real unsung heroes of this topic are not the hackers, but rather the relentless journalists who actually search the masses of leaked government documents to find out where the breaking news lies. All of John Podesta’s hacked emails are accessible any part of the public with a little technical savvy. But have you or anyone you know actually read them? Probably not. What makes the headlines is whatever investigative journalists recover and find worthy of media attention. So to these individuals, we thank you.
As far as the issue of hacking goes, I am of the persuasion that generally speaking the more information available to the public, the better. However, I am also of the opinion that humans can be flighty and unpredictable creatures with self-preservation at heart, which I think George Orwell proved pretty conclusively, so not all information is properly handled by the public, either. Aside from issues which would result in mass hysteria, such as the existence of violent alien lifeforms, I believe that the workings of the rich and powerful in this world should be known.
Earth has always been filled with the slithering tendencies of humanity, but no era before ours has been able to unleash the full capacity of this innate struggle for power at all costs. In previous centuries, a ruler could dictate his land and maybe cause some skirmishes with his neighbors. Now, they can release an atomic bomb that could wipe out millions of people; spread a virus which could eradicate all of humanity; or secretly fund a militant insurgency group in a country half the world away to cause a coup, which they could then invade under the pretense of peace keeping and export all its natural resources after implementing a dictator who believes in forced female circumcision, genocide, and touting outdated Aeropostale merchandise.
As the potential for human indecency grows, so should our ability to combat it. The most powerful tool when it comes to fighting corrupt leaders is knowledge. Also money, but mostly knowledge. Educating not only the general public, but other nations, about the underhanded behavior of world leaders can help the truth come to light. Edward Snowden may have disgraced America by revealing that we spy on our allies and citizens alike, but now we have an opportunity to move on and become better. Atrocities throughout the world can crumble to public outcry, if only enough humans have the opportunity to care.
To people who argue that hacking should not be tolerated because it violates the Constitution, that it invades personal privacy, that it may indirectly result in sensitive information reaching the wrong hands: yes, you’re right, but only in myopic terms. These are all very good reasons to be against hacking if your stance is to protect your way of life as you know it. But is it really worth it to be part of a powerful nation if that nation has to be sneaky and harmful to others to be that way? When does “knowing how to play the game” become thinking you can get away with rigging it?
Millennials are the first generation in perhaps the entire history of the nation to begin to not only question their own government, but to actively find ways to expose and celebrate the truth. I believe that hacking keeps people honest and ethical, and it is the light at the end of the long, miserable tunnel that is 20th and 21st century politics.
By Isla LaMont