Tuesday, 13 September 2011


I can safely say that the world is much more amazing place than when I was a child.

Mobile phones, personal computers, more than three TV channels, instant communication with anybody on the planet, and affordable travel to any point on the globe in 24 hours.

Society evolves to cope with these changes, cultures move on, but we seem to be perpetually stuck with dickheads.

In fact, we seem to be suffering with them more and more. The gimme, I'm entitled generation. They all "know their rights", but cannot grasp the notion that there are responsibilities concomitant with those rights.

Individuals are excusing their own actions, not because they are right, but because they are not as bad as they might be.

In the UK's August riots, a youth was prosecuted because he went to the riots with a hammer strapped to his thigh. His defence? "But, I always carry it!"

The mother who went on holiday and left here children home alone, but is was OK, because it was "only for the week".

And somehow these "rights" become "permission" for all sorts of activity. The right to free speech becomes the right to burn down shops and rob passing tourists.

And this entitlement seems to be only one-way.

A mob believes it is entitled to wreck a community shopping centre, but how dare that community object! How dare the police intervene!

A stereotypical hoodie gave a telling sound-bite on the news - "We're exercising our right to protest Iraq, innit? Them police got no right to stop us." The Iraq war, of course, being over for quite some time, and nothing to do with the original trigger for the original protests.

By the same measure, people online claim the right to free speech, but they get upset when others use that same right to disagree with them.

They think that, because The Man doesn't listen to their whining demands, and act instantly, no matter what those demands are, or how busy The Man happens to be at that time, then they have some sort of "right" to protest because It's Not Fair, and that protest can be whatever they like.

So, they call a few people names - that's OK, because it could be worse.

They hack a website with some silly messages - nothing wrong with that, it could have been worse. They claim some sort of immunity from comment or retaliation, claiming there was nothing wrong with what they did, purely on the grounds that they could have done far worse.

What infantile, immature, irresponsible nonsense that is!

Think about it, entitled generation:
  • I stab you in the leg, but I could have stabbed you in the heart, so you have no grounds to object to my actions.
  • I steal your wallet, but it's OK, because I could have kidnapped your daughter.
  • I taunt a minority, but that's OK, because I could have started a pogrom.


Yes, this is a rant of sorts. Yes, this is a temper-tantrum of sorts.

I'm expressing my anger because just such an idiot attacked Instructables recently.

Naturally, several people objected, but this moron thought we should be thanking him for his attack, because he had warned the site that there was a security issue, but they hadn't responded quickly enough for his tastes.

He actually admitted that: his hacking attacks were the direct result of his own childish impatience.

Reality check, Ballboy.

A complete stranger sends you an email full of threatening instructions - are you going to follow them immediately?

Or are you going to spend some time checking things out? Personally, any emails I get along the lines of "act now to rectify this serious security issue" get reported as phishing scams before I get past the first line or two.

So, HQ don't immediately leap into action, smother this guy with gratitude and offers of a job*. The response? He hacks the site, popping puerile comments up all over the place.

But, "that's OK, because it could have been worse". HQ start to work on the problems, but not fast enough for the hacker's tastes, so he renders the whole site useless.

That's not enough for him, though. I objected to his actions. I called him what he is - immature and a vandal. His grandstanding and shouts of "well it could have been worse" do not persuade me that his vandalism is justified, so he took the coward's way out. He silenced me. He couldn't persuade me, he couldn't out-debate me, and he had only one other person even suggest he might be slightly right, so he "proved" he was better than me by replacing my avatar with a horse, and posting childish forum topics in my name.

To top that, he stole several hundred dollars-worth of pro-codes from my account.

I've got a message for Ballboy - FAIL.

You think that committing theft proves that you are trying to help? Your cowardly, bullying actions simply demonstrate that I was right about you all along.

*Speaking of jobs, this idiot thinks that hacking gets you a job. Reality check, Ballboy - maybe most people in digital security used to be hackers, but most hackers do not get jobs in digital security. There's a *reason* why this guy describes himself as "impoverished", and trying to get "donations" through blackmail is it.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, I had been wondering when I would see a post on this...

    Well, the interesting thing to me about the free speech rhetoric is that the right to free speech is claimed in private settings as if it applied there. The whole point of free speech is that the _government_ shouldn't interfere with it, not that you must be given a venue wherever you wish. I mean, it's tyrannical asshattery of the first kind to censor, filter, and muzzle users who are not causing harm simply because you don't like their message(not that I'm mentioning website names...coughinstructablescough), but you can't claim free speech rights as such when objecting to the actions of private individuals.

    I mostly agree with you, although I didn't think what he did in the beginning was that bad. Nobody had listened to past warnings or inquiries. Also, he didn't blackmail anyone or render the whole site useless.

    To be perfectly frank, I think ignoring him may have returned far better results. The negative response served no purpose other than to give him massive impetus to prove he was correct about the site being terribly insecure (which he was unequivocally successful in doing).

    I do take very strong exception to attributing this person's actions and the UK riots to generation. That smacks of a continuation of "The Good Old Days" syndrome. Your generation (the one that's controlling the free world at the moment) was - and is - decidedly *not* any less jackass-y than mine. I mean, you gave us Kanye, Dubya, Cheny, Bin Laden, Limbaugh, Bachman, Beck, Palin, Rick Perry, Chavez, Murdoch...okay, Murdoch's a bit old to lump in with your generation but you see what I mean. :P.