Hackers angry at "criminalization" of hacking

Hackers or Keyboard users
(photo:José Goulão/Flickr). ((photo:José Goulão/Flickr))

The Netherlands Public Prosecution Authority (OM) has received a letter from prominent Dutch hackers, arguing that hacking should not be criminalized, NU.nl reports. 

The OM recently started a campaign in which the organization asks citizens what punishments they find fitting for hacking. These surveys help the judge decide how to punish hackers.

The leaders of 11 hacker organizations want the OM to put a stop to this campaign, arguing that the OM states unjustly that hacking is "breaking into a computer without permission."

Instead, the organizations believe that "hacking is doing more with manufacturers' technology than they thought of themselves, in a creative way, testing the limits of possibility and exploring the ethic and social consequences of the discovered possibilities."

This definition of hacking should be taken up by the OM. For the OM to describe hacking as 'intrusion' is also wrong, according to the organization. "The hacker community receives constant negative attention in this way, while we actually work on constructive, positive topics", they write in the letter.

Organizations such as Revelation Space in The Hague and Technologia Incognita in Amsterdam sign this letter, which hopes to turn the reputation of hackers back around. They encourage the OM to "know better" than "misconceptions and understandings" that their staff "albeit under the influence of Hollywood" have.

The organizations say that they feel "very threatened" when the OM believes they are busy with criminal activities. "If we are ever suspected of such activities, we are confronted with negative pre-judgements, which could stand in the way of a fair trial."

The OM did not want to give a reaction to NU.nl.