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I don't think the belief that such a book causes more good than harm has anymore basis in fact than my belief. In fact, I believe it has less. Someone, several responses back made a good point about open source/Perl people being more liberal about these things. That's to be expected from them, but there are two sides to the story.

Now that we got passed the "it teaches bad guys/it teaches good guys" stage, lets look at this in some more detail. It's probably true that anti-hacker/cracker/whatever organizations publish stuff that could be used for illegal activity, but you have to compare their audience with that of the book. I won't pretend to know the difference for sure, but there surely is one. The organizations have more reason to be careful about who gets their information (though that's difficult) and to be careful about what information they provide. The book publishers want to sell books.

If such material wasn't published at all, by well meaning organizations or elsewhere, what would happen? Only those with enough brains to learn programming, without being given any security related tips or code, would be able to write new computer cracking software (and protection). Is that good or bad? For crackers, it would create a roadblock. For real programmers, they would have had to learn to program anyway, so it's not as bad.

Several posts back, I think someone said that there is actual code in the book I'm complaining about that could be used for cracking. That means the book removes a roadblock for hackers who want to do harm, and it removes only a smaller roadblock for the good guys. I haven't heard about any code it contains that's meant to prevent cracking.

I guess those anti-hacker organizations are good, but the government also wants to prevent computer break-ins, with even more urgency because their focus is on national security. I don't know what they say about books like these, but I know something about the USA Patriot Act and how the government feels about encryption, and I bet they would be on my side.

God bless America.


In reply to Re: Re: Re: Re: Boycott O'Reilly by Wassercrats
in thread Boycott O'Reilly by Wassercrats

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