I honor and understand the defense of the classical definition of the word, because I know that it is how generations have defined themselves and their own rich history. However, I also feel its claim in modern context is only to cater to the egos of those who defend the traditional definition. But like all new words that evolve in the English language, The word itself has evolved and become defined in the context in which one uses it, therefore it is a word with many definitions. To the traditionalist who reads this, allow me to elaborate on my mad tirade within the confines of the most common definitions of the word within the modern consensus that pays little tribute to the traditional meaning of the word.
There is no such thing as a hacker, there is nothing to see here, move along. There are men who modify, create, and use tools, formulate methods and strategies to produce a result that is generally perceived as “hacking”. Sort of like a magic trick or an illusionist performing. Without knowing the secret to the illusion or trick, the audience is left to draw their own conclusions, and the consensus is, that it is magic. Even though the audience knows there is no such thing as magic, without the knowledge of how the trick was done, they are left to make their own assumptions. The same can be said of “hacking” because it is easy to generalize that which one does not understand. Simply put, Hacking is showbiz. Amplified by the sensationalism of the media and anyone else whom benefits from this sort of advertising. Whether it be fear mongering lobbyists pushing for new legislation. Or a news outlet spinning the latest security breach or ddos attacks. Or a government agency power grabbing extensions of power.
Another interesting parallel between the modern day “hacker” and icons of ancient lore of the alchemist. The public fear of the unknown, and usurpation of the governing forces upon this ignorance. And the general overreaction and disproportionate punishments for this type of activity when it is done unlawfully. It is not uncommon in today’s society for a violent offender to get a far less severe punishment, and much less time incarcerated, than someone who has illegally accessed something they ought not have. So one must logically consider the reasons. For me it would seem that this is clearly an unjust, and disproportionate reaction spurred by the fear of the unknown. Thus, one could draw the conclusion that the modern day witch hunt of prosecuting “hackers” is very real.
When will change come? Perhaps when people learn to use compassion and logic when passing judgement rather than acting upon primal fear of the unknown. I dont think that is going to happen within out lifetimes, because despite our rapid advancement, we are still a primitive species of dominance, ignorance, and brutal rule of the majority. I dont think violent offenders should walk while a computer nerd gets hard time because a judge wants to “send a message” I would suggest a judge might want to use email or some other social network for those ends.
Remember folks, hackers do not exist, only men with tools and the skills to create and use these tools in ways that you cannot conceive. Besides, they are just computers.