Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Use of the word "Hacker"


Apparently, the US Legal System hasn't kept up with the use of words in the English language over the last Ten years.

From the blog Digital Bond:

Call Yourself A Hacker, Lose Your 4th Amendment Rights


It seems all you have to do is saying something like this:  “We like hacking things and we don’t want to stop”  on your website, and a court can decide you don't deserve your Constitutional 4th Amendment Rights protecting you from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Read the article and decide for yourself, but, this tells me using the word hacker in my little world of hackerspaces just got a lot more tenuous.  And that's sad.

We use this word because it fits what we do.  We hack things up by taking them apart and putting them back together in different, often better, forms.  We hack together something new out of nothing.  We hack our way into something that's broken or dead or no longer useful and fix it, bring it back to life and make it useful again; often with a new purpose.

Telling us that using the word hacker can cause a suspension of constitutional rights and protections, is just nuts.

So, now I'm thinking we should consider renaming our local hackerspace.

From this:

TinkerMill, The Longmont Hackerspace

to:

TinkerMill, NOT Longmont's Hackerspace, but something else, like, close, but NOT a Hackerspace.  Really.

Sigh.

I'm starting the lean toward creatorspace.  I like makerspace, but the Make Magazine folks (i.e. O'Reilly Publishing) have made it clear that they own that name (maker, makerfaire, etc. etc.).  I'm pretty sure any place calling itself a Makerspace is going to have to, eventually, pay the Make Magazine guys a royalty fee.

So, as an alternative to Hackerspace, maybe Creatorspace is the way to go.  I know NASA calls their hackerspace "Creatorspace".  Maybe it's generic enough that all of us can start using that phrase to describe what our hackerspaces really are without opening ourselves to the risk of a 4th Amendment Rights suspension.

I can't even believe I'm writing about this, frankly.  Our legal system could use a good dose of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) training.




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