Sunday, November 20, 2016

you have to love it

No matter how many years it's been since I left - two decades now - people still look only at this one thing on my resume.

I want to spend a couple minutes pointing out the massive cultural differences between hackers and everyone else in this industry. Because as I crawl around in the policy world I sense these wide gulfs. The first one I sense is about books. Because hackers, despite coming from many backgrounds, share a common philosophy learned entirely from D&D, Neuromancer, Asimov, Heinlein, Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, The Long Run, Dune, and all the other hard core science fiction they nestled in as they began the ascent up the mountain towards internalizing a difficult discipline.

Because of this, they are universally paranoid, atheistic, libertarian. And when the policy world tries to define norms without understanding the built-in philosophy of the domain, they run into fierce resistance from the denizens of this space, a lot of it only understandable if they have read the curriculum. I was astonished when Sue and other people I know in the legal/policy sphere hadn't read Snow Crash - I assumed EVERYONE had read it, because in my world, everyone has.

There are apparently moves to fire Rogers as DIRNSA. "Huge if true", as they say. I can't even remember any hints of this kind of action ever happening before.

NSA is far too important to this country to ruin, a shining jewel of technological prowess. We should be proud of it. It has gone through some hard times, most of which were not the fault of the organization. VEP is an example of our White House being ashamed of the NSA's competence. How can you expect to keep people if you are ashamed of them?

That then, is all we should ask as the American people of our next DIRNSA. You don't have to be a geek, or have read any science fiction. But it doesn't hurt. You have to join the culture you are becoming a part of. You cannot lead the NSA without falling in love with it.

And if you are in the cyber policy space as a lawyer, make the effort to read the cannon of cyber war, and we hackers will read your books about more recent history.

Many of these are free. :)

<live list follows>

  1. The Long Run PDF 
  2. Snow Crash AMZN
  3. Cryptonomicon AMZN
  4. Dune AMZN

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