In a post last fall, I talked about the term “hacker” and how the proper meaning of it has been subverted by sloppy media coverage and a lack of understanding of what a typical hacker is looking for out of life.
Now is the time to mention an annual conference held each spring here in Rochester, where they officially Get It™ about what it really means to be a hacker.
Rochester BSides is a product of the national BSides movement, a loose coalition of hacker conferences that are free to attend, and offer an exciting and safe space for hackers of every kind to swap stories, check out presentations, and work together on challenges. The fact that this conference has an emphasis on information security is a bonus, for me at least.
If you’re already itching to get in on this, you should be hitting the registration link now.
If you’re not, that’s OK. Not everyone digs on the joy of taking things apart and putting them back together just to see how they work.
The NY Assembly has put forth a bill requiring phone makers — Apple, Google, Samsung, Blackberry, etc. — to break encryption on all phones sold in NY state, or pay a $2,500 per phone fine.
This is a laughably crappy idea, since it should be obvious to anyone who has read the news in the past twenty years that the likelihood of law enforcement using this successfully to stop terrorists* is about 100x less than the likelihood of criminals finding the leaks of info how to use it, and committing identity theft or worse on a few million phone users.
The obvious stop to it, of course, is for Apple (and all the other manufacturers — but Apple’s leadership is key here) simply to announce:
iPhones will no longer be sold or activated in New York. So sorry. Call your assemblyman if you don’t like this; it was their idea.
The ban would last about 15 minutes after that news broke.
* – “Terrorists!” is this century’s cry of someone with a hidden, evil agenda, just as “Communists!” was last century’s.