The dust is beginning to settle after the Fappening. For those who haven’t been following along the Fappening involved individuals gaining unauthorized access to nude photos of celebrities stored on Apple’s iCloud service. Earlier this week the Fappeneing was looking to strike again as a website appeared with a countdown. The site claimed that when the countdown reached zero nude photos of Emma Watson would be released. As it turns out the site was a hoax and now there is a debate about whether it was a hoax created by 4chan itself or a marketing company aimed at taking down 4chan. But the mere existence of the site created a shitstorm that has fueled a lot of angry ranting. Most of the ranting can be summarized by the idea that women aren’t safe on the Internet.
First of all let me say that it’s good that people are in an uproar. Data breaches suck but all too often they raise little ire. When they do manage to piss a lot of people off resources get diverted to tighten security. But so long as people aren’t outraged companies are all too happy to let known security issues linger until somebody gets bit in the ass. While Apple has finally taken measure to fix the iCloud vulnerability the damage has been done. The images are out there and there’s no way to remove them since the Internet is forever.
But this situation got me thinking. Stunts like the Fappening are all too easy to pull off because the minor risks involved are seldom dissuasive. To prevent thing like the Fappening from occurring again the risks need to be increased. Most people seem to be aware of this and they have been demanding stronger laws against unauthorized computer access and other state interventions. Let me say that demanding state intervention is pointless. The state doesn’t give a fuck about anybody but itself and its cronies. It will only exploit these situations to gain more power for itself over the Internet without actually address the issue.
What we really need are hackers. As an anarchist I’m a proponent of a compensatory justice system, social ostracization, and outlawry. Suffice to say when it is possible to compensate somebody for a wrong then they should be compensated. If an individual or individuals have a habit of shitty behavior then the community should ostracize them. And if somebody refuses to abide by the laws of society (the natural laws created through spontaneous order, not the decrees issued by the state) they should not receive the protection of the law. For any of this to be possible the identity of the bad actors must be uncovered.
My proposal is complex and revolutionary since it works outside of the state (in fact by the state’s very laws it is illegal as hell). But I put forth that hackers should form organizations with the purpose of identifying bad actors and seeking justice against them. This obviously requires a lot of investigative work and either cooperation from organizations that have suffered data breaches or gaining unauthorized access to their systems to collect forensic information. Once the bad actors have been uncovered justice can be sought. Depending on the severity of the offense justice may entail something as simple as compensation paid to the victim or as complex as attacking any system in that person’s possession with the express purpose of preventing them from gaining access to the Internet. In especially egregious circumstance destruction of their data, credit ratings, and identity may be called for.
In other words I propose we create our own justice system just as stateless societies have in the past. I subscribe to the ideas expressed in the Crypto Anarchist Manifesto. The Internet is the realm of those who use it, not the state. To borrow a page from agorism we need to create our own goods and services and utilize the market to determine where resources should be prioritized. Seeking justice against those who gain unauthorized access to other people’s personal data sounds like a good place to put some resources. And it’s something that people can do. Most of the electrons spilled over the Fappening have been in the form of impotent bitching. Take the article I linked to that claimed women aren’t safe on the Internet. A group of feminist hackers coming together to seek justice against those who wrong women online could create a safer Internet for women. It certainly would accomplish more than complaining has.