Sunday, December 21, 2014

If Computer Hacking is a Crime, Which Countries Need to be Prosecuted?

Do a simple word search for any reporting done on the Sony hacking story.  Search for NSA. You won't find much.   

A key element of journalism is to place issues into context.   

When George Bush and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were telling the American people that Saddam had used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, journalists had a responsibility to report it.   They did.   Where the bulk of the press failed was to put that statement into proper context.   After Saddam used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, what did the United States do?   The United States continued to support Saddam. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld should have been asked the simple question, why?   And America's continued support of Saddam following his use of WMD should have been included in stories to place the issue in proper context.    

For the Sony hacking story the press is once again failing to put the issue into proper context.

Who leads the world in computer hacking?   The NSA.   The NSA has hacked into computers around the world including the computers of our allies.  Here are some stories to remind us of what the NSA has done.

And the U.S. using high tech sabotage is nothing new.   The CIA has a long history of that.   During the Reagan Administration, the CIA planted a virus in a power plant in Russia designed to cause loss of crucial controls.   The computer virus worked; the power plant blew up  You can read about that one in a former CIA employee's book available on Amazon. 

Any reporter questioning any member of Congress about how to respond to North Korea should be asking a series of follow up questions:    Should there be mandatory prosecution of countries found guilty of computer hacking?   Mandatory prosecution for offenders is required for torture, should it be required for computer hacking?   How should other countries respond to hacking by the NSA?  

Do we want to be a country that respects the rule-of-law, or in the digital age do we become a country that totally ignores the privacy of individuals, corporations and countries?  It's disappointing reporters aren't asking that question.

Journalists need to be asking the questions that need to be asked and stop playing government cheerleader.   The most unpatriotic act any journalist can commit is to fail to question her/his government.   When journalism fails, bad things happen. 


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