Saturday, June 04, 2005

Writing Computer Viruses: Not Free Speech

Today I found this article at Yahoo news about some losers who find it necessary to show to the world just how much sex they're not getting on a daily basis by hacking and destroying other people's computers... just because they can.

Personally, I relate these people to the perverts in Europe who will whip out their dicks and rub them up against other people in crowded areas... just because they can. Both of these people commit detestable and morally vulgar acts upon random strangers just to get their jollies. Its disgusting. And quite frankly, creating a piece of destructive computer code is no more free speech than communicating your deepest desires to some stranger through phallic contact.

A blurb of speech or a written text or a painting is an inert object. When you pick up a pencil and write 'Oh Captain, My Captain' on a piece of 20# white Xerox paper, you can set it on the table and it will not do anything. It is only through the interpretations and actions of others who later pick it up, look at it and assign a meaning to it and act accordingly does it have a life of its own. In addition, in a free society, we have the right to not look at any piece of text we do not wish to. We can simply walk away from that inert object and do something else and we can only do something about it after someone else has interpreted it and acted accordingly by that piece of text.

Computer code, on the other hand, does not follow this pattern. Once a piece of code is entered into a computer, it has a purpose, an action and a life of its own and can activate itself without the knowledge of another person in its blast radius. A computer virus is a malignant piece of self-activating code that goes through and performs destructive and malicious acts without needing anyone or allowing anyone the conscious choice to pick it up and assign a meaning to it. As such, a hacker can not claim that a virus is free speech any more than a bomb maker could claim that the individual parts and pieces of his explosive device are pieces of sculpture.

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