In a recent column, I wondered why people werent expressing more outrage at what I viewed as the promotion of criminal activity in the course offerings of The Fifth HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) convention held this past July in New York.
Well, I neednt have worried, because there was plenty of outragenot from the general public, but from some self-described “hackers” who were less than pleased with my description of their activities.
One such person castigated me for my “ignorance,” calling the column “absolutely ludicrous.” And his was one of the more polite e-mails I received.
Someone who identified himself as a high school student from Nova Scotia said I lacked integrity and objectivity, as well as “the energy it would take to attempt to contact the victims of your blatantly stupid biases.” I wondered why a Canadian high schooler was reading a U.S. insurance technology magazine, but thats not important.
One responder declared that I had produced “the most ignorant, sensationalistic piece on computer hackers that Ive read in about a decade.” Another decried my “bonehead” statements, summing up by noting that I was “just another frustrated college-boy yuppie with a one-sided mind. Go take your bleeding heart and your gripes and write to Barney & Friends, maybe they will care.” Yes, I admit I went to college, but I dont have the financial resources to be a yuppie. And I havent watched Barney in years. Really!
On the international front, one responder, who described himself as a hacker from the Netherlands, stated: “It is with utmost sincerity that we over here in Europe have to conclude that you are by far the least competent technology editor we have seen publish nonsense.” Sure, Ive managed to irk and irritate some individuals and groups over the yearsbut to have offended an entire continent is, well, historic!
In addition, my entire column was read on air on a New York City radio program, followed by the hosts criticizing me for “fear-mongering.” Did I mention that the show was sponsored by the same organization that sponsored the HOPE conference? A minor point, I know.
Nonetheless, these responders did cause me to re-examine my position. Several said that I obviously had not attended the conference in question. They were quite right. My remarks were based solely on the published conference materials, which are inflammatory enough on their ownand that was my point. I do hope (no pun intended) to attend this event next year, should the conference sponsors feel inclined to welcome me.