The Hacker Community and Liberty

August 28, 2014 – Today, I would like to discuss the hacker community and liberty.
First, what exactly is a hacker? I think it is important to recognize that there are a lot of different types of hackers who, ultimately, are diverse individuals.
Therefore, I think it is more beneficial to look at some of the similarities that might exist between most hackers. Hackers think. They analyze. They tinker, take-apart, modify, hack, and re-build. Many are always questioning, fueled by some sort of curiosity.
They understand, at bottom, that they are in control. That if their computer, their program, or any other device does not work, it is the fault of the user. Is this not the crux of liberty? To be able to make your own choices, provided you do not interfere with others exercising their rights.
Perhaps this is why hacking and liberty go hand in hand.
Hackers have fought for the 1st Amendment, 2nd Amendment, 4th Amendment, 5th Amendment, and economic freedom. They have attempted to turn away control over money by government, through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. They have made gun control efforts largely irrelevant through 3D printing. They continuously improve hardware and software by finding vulnerabilities and patching them. They contribute to press freedoms by improving anonymity networks. They redistribute software in kind acts of voluntarism. Some even distribute modified or hacked versions of free software.
With respect to free software, it is important to note that free software is a matter of liberty. It has nothing to do with price. We should think of free software in terms of free speech, not free lunch. Free software allows individuals the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change, and improve the software. A lot of hackers are proponents of free software, as it contributes to what they do best.
So when it comes to the hacking community and liberty, it is obvious that the two go hand-in-hand. The community is always hacking, tinkering, modifying, and fighting for personal liberty and economic freedom. Many get together at hacking conferences like DEFCON, Blackhat, ToorCon, and HOPE-X to exchange information and learn. Others stick to communicating through other mediums, like internet relay chat and bulletin boards.
Whatever your definition of a hacker might be, the similarities between most hackers suggest that they contribute to and promote the cause of liberty. As long as hackers do not interfere with other individuals exercising their rights, we should support hackers.