Feds snag another 'hacker' while ignoring actual criminals

DOJ indicts Matthew Keys for aiding Anonymous, yet real cyber criminals roam free. What's wrong with this picture?

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In other words, the war on cyber crime is about to supplant the war on terror, which of course replaced the war on drugs, which was a temporary fill-in until we could find a better replacement for the war on communism. I'm feeling an overwhelming urge to quote Orwell here, but I'll try to restrain myself.

The war on cyber crime will also provide extremely convenient cover for our government's desire to employ all these wonderful tech toys we use each day for surveillance purposes, as well as unleash an army of domestic drones. And it comes just in time for our Congress to take up the latest version of CISPA. What a coincidence, eh?

I'm not saying cyber terrorism isn't real. The United States knows this better than anyone. It was us, after all, who created malware to throw a monkey wrench into Iran's nuclear enrichment program. Bad actors abound, whether they're Chinese army hackers attempting industrial espionage or the Russian mob selling botnets at wholesale prices.

The bad guys want to blow up our buildings and burn down our houses. I get that. But instead of spending all our limited resources going after them, we're prosecuting the ones who try to spray paint graffiti on the walls -- just to prove how tough we are.

People like Matt Keys -- really, anyone involved with Anonymous -- aren't the threat. They aren't even a reasonable facsimile of the threat. Why are we wasting tax dollars persecuting them?

Is pursuing people like Matt Keys a stupid waste of our resources or a necessary deterrent? Share your thoughts below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "Feds snag another 'hacker' while ignoring actual criminals," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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