The Great Courses

Hacking Westboro

Dec 17, 2012 at 10:49 PM

If I may, I want to address the recent hacking into the Westboro computers and the publishing of each member's personal information.

As we stand for reason and rationality, I'm convinced that we should, we must, operate on a tempo that 1) 

stays within the law 2) does not violate a citizen's right to privacy, even in regards to society's lowest common denominators and 3) doesn't taint the rest of us.

There are ways to combat and defeat the abomination that is Westboro Baptist Church that effectively diminish them without diminishing us. There are better options for snuffing out these toxic fumes of hatred than violating privacy and hacking private Twitter accounts.

The hacker, Anonymous, claimed to have also changed Phelps-Roper's desktop background to gay porn, and successfully filed for a death certificate for Phelps-Roper, blocking her social security number. While this is red meat for the snickering adolescent, it is ultimately childish, counter-productive and bad form.

Personally, as so many celebrate this particular stunt, I can't help but feel like the hackers and their fan club have surrendered the high ground in favor of a cheap shot. Does this really help our cause? Or should we instead be the boots on the ground, operating in the open, drowning out the Westboro hatred with verve, with passion, with anger, with humor, with information, and with wisdom.   -Seth

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