|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
Information sharingby dragonchild (Archbishop)
|on Jun 04, 2004 at 17:51 UTC||Need Help??|
In 'freak' and recent threads, merlyn implies, and others agree, that before one answers a question, one should somehow divine the intention of the questioner and only answer if the intent is pure (for some relative value of pure). I think that this goal is not only impossible, but ethically wrong.
The obvious scenario is blackhat vs. whitehat in security. If you want to protect against an exploit, you have to know inside and out how that exploit works. Ideally, you'd be able to reproduce it at will. But, the information needed is still the same.
TimToady brought up another possibility - that the illegal activity, should there be any, might be to secure freedoms that Westerners would expect to have. For example, the ability to visit any website and write whatever you want while in mainland China.
Another possibility would be idle curiousity. I, personally, am curious as to how to hack root on a Linux box. I just want to know. Most of us on this site have this same burning desire to know exactly how the whizzbang works. We take things apart and put them back together again, often in a different configuration. Part of that is knowing how to do things that weren't intended by the creator(s). Remember - the first worm was written to see if it could be written.
And, so what if the person asking the question wants to break into a site? Frankly, I couldn't care less. Not only am I not someone else's moral compass, I am also not the protector of the hapless victim. The only kind of victim is a hapless one. If you weren't hapless, you wouldn't be a victim.
Put another way, you choose to connect yourself to the Internet. You choose to have a website up and running. You choose to take credit-card information. You choose to not have the necessary knowledge / personnel / skills / etc. If I were going to harden a site, I would charge a lot of money to do so. Why should I protect you for free?
Finally, I would put forth that by choosing what information we will and won't share on a community level is to perform the same kind of censorship that we, as Westerners, decry as "totalitarian" and "fascist". China, N. Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan ... all these nations perform large amounts of censorship in the name of keeping people safe. We, the Perlmonks community, are not better than they are if there are topics we refuse to discuss. In some ways, we're worse. They, at least, are honest in their censorship. We would be hypocrites, as well.
Then there are Damian modules.... *sigh* ... that's not about being less-lazy -- that's about being on some really good drugs -- you know, there is no spoon. - flyingmoose
I shouldn't have to say this, but any code, unless otherwise stated, is untested