That would be the QR coded slogan encrypted onto the business card I’d hand out to anyone interested in possibly hiring me. But since I am as Sci-Fi as a cob of corn, I have been slow to catch up with the cyber trends. Apparently, in my six month search for employment, I have also, somehow, overlooked one of the fastest growing industries to consider applying for. No, its not internet porn (I can hear Ron Jeremy sighing in relief), but very close in terms of its seediness. No, not the world of resale and upcycling dryer lint into couture dog sweaters sold on some e-commerce site for macaroni gluers. No, I am not thinking about a new techi startup like www.OneMoreCrappyAppYouDontNeed.com (please respect your cranium and don’t try to click on that link). I am talking about the booming industrial complex of corporate espionage. In redneck terms: getting paid by fat cats to look up your neighbor’s skirt (so to speak) then reporting back what sort of hair pie was up there in distinct detail. Sound dirty? It gets worse.
Whether it is getting paid to set up fake profiles on Facebook to get insider information by “befriending” a Fortune 500 company’s corporate figure’s private profiles, or paying private intelligence corps like Booz Allen, SAIC, ManTech, or Stratfor thousands of dollars to find out about secret details of private contractors of a rivaling nation, there is nothing illegal nor unethical going on by these companies in the eyes of our U.S. Government. One would hope the oversight of these corporations selling insider information (and you thought carrying around your social security card was going to unleash the boogie man) isn’t run by the same committee that oversees our banking system. But let’s do like grandma does with her retirement fund on the rez…let’s bet on it. Let’s do what corporate America would want us to do; elect bags of Cheetos Cheese Puffs to fill the seats in Congress and the Senate. Believe me, the average American would never notice the difference.
“Crime is contagious. If the government becomes the law breaker, it breeds contempt for laws; it invites every man to become a law unto himself.” – Louis Brandeis, Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court (1916-1939)
Enter hacker collectives such as open-ended groups like Anonymous and the now disbanded LulzSec along with their aim to curtail government monitoring, censorship and to expose the vulnerabilities of internet site security according to their unwritten philosophy. In the computer I.T. world, there are hackers (at various skill levels) known by some as “cyber rogues”, and then there is everyone else, whom I call “cyber rubes”…boobs like me. A cyber rogue, on the other hand, can be a military trained CIA specialist or it could be the 16 yr old pimple-popping, fat kid down the street who used to “clean up” the virus on your hard drive in exchange for that broken Mac computer he wanted from you. Either way, cyber rogues are the 21st century’s newest and potentially most influential creatures. I tie my shoe. They hack. I try to figure out how to change the battery in my cell phone. They hack. I try to recall how long it takes to boil a damn egg. By this time they have hacked their way into everything but the stupid T.V. remote that I can’t seem to find (God forbid they find out I actually do watch Wheel of Fortune from time to time without someone pointing a gun to my head).
In the wake of WikiLeaks events, it has become known that there is information warfare going on within the cyber community. What information should be free and open to the public? Is it ethical for companies to collect and sell private information (I know I shouldn’t have told Tumblr that I was into scrapbooking )? How do we know when we are intentionally or unintentionally fed misinformation, whether from our government or a human rights group with the best intentions? Are my fellow cyber rubes just jealous and fearful of the potential power hackers can have with a few clicks of a mouse? Am I pissed at myself for sleeping through computer class in 1987 (I can still smell the floppy disks as though it were yesterday) and not learning cyber text or whatever you want to call it? These are all questions that will be exercized and tested over the next decades by rogues and rubes alike that will not only change the way we see ourselves in relation to our government (in terms of regulations), but will also shape our economic system and change the manner of dealing in foreign relations.
But like you, I just want to know what sort of crazy stunts candy hackers will try next. Could it be that they will:
a) Hack into Bill O’Reilly’s main website and reprogram the homepage to make farting sounds every time you click on a word selection?
b) Sabotage the U.S. Border Patrol’s website by changing the text so that every word is in old Latin?
c) Penetrate Victoria Secret’s fu-fu website by Photoshopping their elite models to look like they are growing lizard tails and beer bellies?
e) Jailbreak Goldman Sachs’ webpages and replace any word that says “investment” with the word “SCAM” such as “scam banking”, “scam securities”, “scam lending”, “scam research” and “scam management” so that it cannot be easily changed back?
f) Accidently tap into Obama’s and Romney’s teleprompter to mindlessly make them repeat the following pitch, “And if at first you don’t succeed…hire a Mexican”?
So, while I am waiting by my landline for your call, Mr. President, I will pop in a copy of “Revenge of the Nerds” into the old VCR just so I can victoriously hear the college jock in the movie sneer, “Those nerds are a threat to our way of life.” How prolific.