Monday, July 16, 2007

He's a hack

War on Guns directed me to this. I can hardly begin to tell you what's wrong with it, but I'll start at the beginning.

First is the entire premise. He is comparing hacking laws to gun laws. But let's keep going.

The law, as he quoted it, does not seem to do what he says it does. It says that those programs are illegal for those preparing crimes. It is not a ban on hacking tools. It is an additional penalty for using/creating those programs when you are taken in for the hacking crime, much like additional penalties for using a gun in a crime.

He makes a near point by saying that guns don't kill people, but ends it with the anti statement "people with guns kill people." He then admits that hacking programs can be used maliciously, but says that it's not the same. He's right...it's not the same, but he's wrong on all the rest of his reasoning.

He says that it is hard to know whether a program was created/owned with malicious intent. The implication, of course, is that guns are only purchased with ill intentions. They are never used for sporting, defense, hunting, or any other use, according to the author.

He points out that guns have a shorter range than hackers. His argument is that gun laws will curb gun crime, but hacking laws can't stop people in other countries from targeting those with hacking laws. Of course, guns will find their way in through illicit means, and those victims that have been disarmed are easy prey. Also, other weapons are still available, making the smaller people easy prey for stronger, larger people. Also, hackers can be brought in for crimes they committed from abroad. Extradition may not always be plausible, but it is not impossible. Also, while a local gun law may look effective, it keeps defensive guns away. Hacking programs are not defensive. At best, they probe for weaknesses, allowing defenses to be programmed.

He is outraged that there's no exemption for security professionals (which is unnecessary, given the wording of the law, but let's keep going). He claims that countries with widescale gun bans make broad exemptions for security...citing police. Police using hacking software will always be unaffected by laws of these sorts...but he is not, of course, worried about that. He wants broad exemptions for private firms. England doesn't even arm a good portion of their cops. They certainly do not provide broad exemptions for private security.

He mentions that banning hacking software will cripple education. There was a time students learned firearms safety. It's just as important to learn gun basics as it is to learn about routers. If freedom is to be vigilantly guarded, gun knowledge is more important than network encryption.

He claims that more gun violence is accidental than criminal. He provides no support for this allegation, except that it is often repeated. It's an oft-repeated, consistently inaccurate "statistic." He also says it's easy to shoot someone. Which explains, of course, why so many police shootouts have ended without a hit. He says malicious hacking, on the other hand, must be planned precisely and thoroughly. Which, of course, explains the kids who think it's fun to test the waters, then go through with it because they found it to be easy.

"To me the whole think stinks of making a law without asking anyone who knows anything about the subject." (Grammar, punctuation, and spelling his) You mean like the politicians and "journalists" who think that they don't need to know a thing about guns?

Finally, let me add a few points he missed: Hacking is seen by a lot of kids (and adults) as cool and harmless. It wreaks havoc, costs money, and is not fun for the victims. Guns, too, are seen as cool, but people know the potential of a misused gun. Hacking, too, can cost lives. What would it do to communities if a hacker took out 911? It's not likely, but possible. Do these hacking tools protect lives directly? Guns do.

Had the guy written about these hacking tools without mentioning guns, he could've made a decent case, probably. As it is, all he did was spout drivel without any real substance.

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