Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Cyber Punks 2.0


One of the key principles of any engagement, be it military or otherwise, is to know one's opposition. The history of the human species is littered with examples, and more often than not, the corpses of those who did not understand their opposition and therefore underestimated them. From Xerxes in Sparta, to Britain to Afghanistan and the United States, yes the United bloody States, in Upper Canada and Vietnam (clear loss in one case, stalemate draw in the other). Knowing one’s opponent is a basic lesson that one would have thought, or at least would hope, would be widely known and closely held. Alas, ego is not considered a human failing for nothing and can too often blind one to what would be apparently obvious to others. Despite his apparently affinity for Twitter, given the nature of some of his recent Executive Orders, one cannot help but conclude that the sitting President of the United States holds little affection for his nation’s technology sector. It has swiftly gotten to the point that the leaders of that very sector, known in the contemporary parlance as ‘Silicon Valley’, have begun to respond. At this point the response has been limited to donations to the American Civil Liberties Union and some responses in the media. If fortune smiles this is as far as things are going to go. Because it could all get very much worse. Something that the President seems to lack the reflection to be able to consider is a fairly basic question which nearly anyone else in his position would ponder a good long while before acting. Is making an enemy of a group of billionaires with a documented history of anti-authoritarian views and, in some cases, known hacker and cracker skills, really the wisest course of action one can undertake?

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