Social Engineering, Monsters, Hackers and the Culture and Politics of Technology, Secrets, and Fear

With the advent of the film WarGames, to the recent prosecution and suicide of information freedom activist and coder, Aaron Swartz, hackers and hacking have become part of our language, imagination, and cultural landscape. With their beginnings in the 1950s to the present, our collective conception of the hacker has gone from hero to antihero; from political prankster to rebellious teenager, to criminal master-mind out to undermine the social fabric.

Embedded within the archetype of this trickster figure are also our unconscious fears and ambiguous connections to technology. Because of the direct link with technology, hacking and hacker culture is especially illustrative of our relationship to fear of technology, and its power and control. This is so because technology is not only about the physicality of machines; it is also about our relationship to them.

If we look at the language of computers themselves, it is apparent that the idea … Read More