Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg speak truth to power at HOPE X http://t.co/DjnGq4kpsB #hopex pic.twitter.com/fGHDG9FgPw— PPI (@ppinternational) July 22, 2014
Recent tweets from Hacker Of Planet Earth HOPEX conference, with popular meme 'speaking truth to power.'
I was a bit disturbed that so shortly after the MH17 was shot down using Russian supplied weapons that a self proclaimed Hackers conference, Hackers of Planet Earth no less, would carry out a massive love feast for Snowden. I was surprised but such bad taste. This year the final Trafalgar Square rally for SantaCon was moved because it was feared it would be too close to the South African embassy after Mandela's death, but it seems in the hacker world nothing is too close or too soon.
So as the world was shocked by the scale of Russian hostility and the danger we not face from it, hackers were happy to cheer another Snowden lecture from Russia, where he remains under questionable arrangements with the FSB.
This failure to deal with, or even understand, the political clumsiness of giving Putin's guest a platform at such a time underlines serious issues with hackers, and why hacker activism is not going to give us freedom anytime soon.
Here are the key reasons I can think of:
- In the communities hackers create they have shown themselves not able to create equality of either gender or race.
- Hackers have a long history of selling out to power, and a large number of hackers have ended up working for state entities to avoid prison time.
- Hackers mistake specific technical skill learned via hands on playing around with wisdom gained through reading, thinking and discourse.
- Hackers tend not to know very much about what other people are thinking and writing who are not hackers.
- Hackers quickly become members of the elite programmer community, and thus are vested in the system as is no matter what they may say.
- Educational system that producers programmers, or self taught programming, has not given the grounding to political discourse.