Luca Follis and Adam Fish examine the entanglements between hackers and the state, showing how hackers and hacking moved from being a target of state law enforcement to a key resource for the expression and deployment of state power. Follis and Fish trace government efforts to control the power of the internet; the prosecution of hackers and leakers (including such well-known cases as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Anonymous); and the eventual rehabilitation of hackers who undertake “ethical hacking” for the state.
And WMMNA states:
The protagonists in the book are more or less famous (when they’ve been identified that is.) Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Anonymous, Lauri Love, Julian Assange. There’s the hacktivists, the whistleblowers and other courageous actors of civil disobedience. Then come the Twitter bots, the cybercriminals, the fabricated Americans, the cyber mercenaries, WannaCry and the trolls. But also the FBI, the NSA, GCHQ, the police, the banks, the corporations, the lawyers and the courts. In the middle of all that jolly crowd and trying to make sense of it, there’s the press and of course, there’s you and I who live in what the authors of this book rightly call “high breach societies.”
The motivations of the hackers and the states might differ widely, their morality and beliefs might be at opposite ends of the ethical spectrum but they end up mingling more or less willingly. The authors explore the concept of “boundary” and how states redraw and expand borders and boundaries to enfold or remove hackers. States unleash law enforcement crackdown on hackers but they also attempt to neutralise, co-opt and exploit their power.
The summary is “The book is very U.S.-centred, with mentions of the UK, China, Russia, a couple of nods to North Korea, Latin America and the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS.) As for Europe, Iran and Israel, they are reduced to footnotes. Either we need other volumes of Hacker States or the message is that if it doesn’t happen within the elastic boundaries of the U.S., hacking simply doesn’t matter. I’d go for the first option.”
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