October 27, 2013

A New Moral Paradigm

The source code for an anonymous black market (non-gov't approved) website was found and published by a hacker. When the owner of the black market site realized that his code was public, he took down the site for the safety of his users.

The hacker explained: “It was not our aim to bring the website down, we just published the leak because if we had it, enforcement and private hackers could have it as well, trouble could arise if the leakage would have been exploited without people knowing. We have no contact with any of the involved parties (the owner of the site).”

The question is, "Is this behavior moral?" Of course most logical for the hacker who found the source code is to simply tell the site's owner. The owner was public and could be easily communicated with on the site.

However, hackers have a slightly different moral system. For hackers who believe in "open source," of course it makes sense to make the source code of the website public. They take no responsibility for the repercussions that the revealing causes.

Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are believers in this same morality of transparency for all. Google and Facebook as well. In this new moral system, all information is public and extrapolated to find out more than what is voluntarily released. What is the result when nefarious governments share in the knowledge gathering?

Click here for the answer: We're All Edward Snowden Now


  1. The fallacy of the hackers' moral system is taking one virtue, transparency, and making it trump every other virtue. That is not a moral system, that is an obsession that crowds out every other principle, like fascism (which elevates nationalism over every other principle) or communism (which elevates equality of distribution over every other principle). The result is a system that collapses because it conflicts with too many other principles and interests. A sustainable moral system must be more universal, such as utilitarianism (the greatest good for the greatest number), the categorical imperative (what principles would you want adopted as universal rules) or a comprehensive set of values, such as come from the Old or New Testament.

  2. Your argument is that the hacker's obsession with transparency is not ideal. They should take a more pragmatic approach. However, the open system speeds up progress. The website owner was forced to fix the problem fast, whereas if the hacker simply sent him an email that his source code was hackable, the site owner may have done nothing.

    Openness may be better for society when it comes to a free market. Steve Job's Apple is a protected garden in which Apple products must be used with Apple products and using other companies devices or software will often cause problems. They keep work product so secure in the development process that only a few people within their own company knows what is happening. As a result, Apple is getting crushed by Google in terms of operating system on smartphones because to use the Apple system requires buying Apple products. Android (Google's operating system) is used on every smartphone brand and for this reason, they are winning. in my freedom circles, we shun intellectual property in innovation because it holds back progress. Companies have to wait under patents become public domain OR they can create sub-optimal products to get around litigation. These are two arguments for openness.