A Gamer's Stockholm Syndrome

So, over at /r/gaming, reddit gamers have got their panties up in a bunch once they heard the news that a pseudonymous hacking group is planning to assault Sony once more.Apparently gamers are none too happy that someone is assaulting their preferred corporation and they are under the impression that any downtime as a result of those hacks, will be solely the fault of those dirty hackers. Some have even taken it one step further, laying the blame for any potential erosion of internet freedoms (as a result of corporate lobbying and media fearmongering) on the hackers as well.

The whole discussion is littered with playstation gamers who are outraged, OUTRAGED, that they may have to suffer more downtime on their precious online gaming as a result of a possible new breach of Sony systems. The amount of corporate suckup-ery is disgusting.

However, any possible downtimes or erosion of civil rights is not the hacker’s fault.

One has to consider, who brought down PSN the last time. It wasn’t the ones who cracked themselves into the system and it wasn’t a denial of service attack. If was Sony itself who did it, as a reaction to their system becoming compromised. I doubt that the original crackers were politically motivated anyway but even if they were and finding user data was an unexpected freebie, the reaction of Sony was the fault of nobody but Sony. Had they encrypted their data, they wouldn’t have to take down PSN for everyone. It was a gross failing on their part of their lax security practices.

It was also Son’s fault because they explicitly poked the hornet’s nest. Nobody forced Sony to take away the otherOS which made the hacking community actively interested in hacking the PS3. Nobody forced Sony to start legally assaulting the hacking community. Nobody forced Sony to participate in political lobbying to erode internet freedoms. And while the previous crack might not have been a result of any of those, but rather an fortunate exploit for monetary reasons, the latest attempts seem to be pure retaliation meant to cause harm and lulz.

Basically, the hacking community seems to be sending Sony, and anyone else watching a message. “If you fuck with us, we’ll fuck your right back”. They don’t seem very aware of this, but it does look to me as a form of solidarity in the internet age. Remember that all this was caused by Sony going after a few individuals who cracked their system for their own benefit, causing no harm to Sony whatsoever.

Finally we need to remember that the reason Playstation users are being inconvenienced by downtime of PSN is again Sony’s fault. PSN is a walled garden if you remember. That means it’s centrally controlled and managed by Sony and alas, such are the faults of walled gardens. Had Sony allowed an open ecosystem, where PS3 machines could connect to the internet directly and used one of the many available means to play games online there as pioneered by PC gaming, then the downtime of PSN would have been unlikely to affect a lot of people. Had they allowed dedicated servers or direct connections, people would still be able to enjoy their games online. But centralization means that there’s a single and large point of failure. If you don’t want this to happen again, tell Sony to open their walled garden.

But of course the PS3 fanboys won’t do that because they’re incapable of thinking outside the box. In fact, I guarantee they’ll make excuses on why such a walled garden is not only reasonable for someone like Sony, but that it’s in fact better this way. It will be like someone defending the AOL network.

All that said, I’m not exactly agreeing with the direct action of those crackers. I’m not sure how effective they will be in the long run. At best, they might achieve that corporations might think twice from going after individual hackers and they might let more hacks to their system slide and perhaps be more open in their dealings in the future. But this actions has a chance to cause political backlash as well. The reaction of /r/gaming is typical in fact.

Could there have been a better way? I’m not sure and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, but I can’t blame the hacking community from retaliating against an oppressive entity like a multinational corporation with a rich history of questionable actions, which put them in their target sights.

However to blame the kneejerk reactions of the one with a history of abuse, on the ones retaliating to them is very much akin to a Stockholm syndrome. It’s like a kidnap victim blaming their family for not procuring the demands fast enough and empathizing with their kidnapper who as a result had to cut one of their fingers.

51 thoughts on “A Gamer's Stockholm Syndrome

  1. I actually dislike Sony and I agree that the company have made a lot of questionable and sometimes downright bad decisions in a lot of areas, I can not and will not side with the hacker community, ever. They can claim that they are doing it for "the greater good" but all I see is that some people stole something that it did not belong to them, personal data. Sony was at fault because they didn't take good care of said data, there is no denying that, but theft is theft. If they were interested with the security of personal data, they would have gone to Sony and show them the holes in their system. I blame both Sony and the hackers for the downtime and I really hope that this time Sony will do a better job with the security data.
    I'm all for attacking Sony where they are wrong, but if you have a beehive on your tree, you don't kick it until it bursts, you smoke the bees out, pick it up and transfer it to another tree.

    1. To be exact, they didn't steal the data, they copied it. That by itself would not be wrong. Publishing this data or selling it the highest bidder however is another thing. As long as they keep the data to themselves, then the hack only caused material and PR damage to sony, not their customers.

      I do not know why the initial hackers did it, but if they did, in fact, do it for retaliation, then it would be silly to use this info to *help* Sony.

      1. [quote]As long as they keep the data to themselves, then the hack only caused material and PR damage to sony, not their customers.[/quote]
        While I sort of agree with this sentiment, my concern is that I have no guarantee that they will not do anything else with this data. While hackers avoid using credit card information because it is an easy way for them to get busted, they often enough have no scruples with selling e-mail data lists to advertisement companies. Which is basically a nice and mostly untraceable way to profiteer.

        personally, doing a pros and cons list in my head for this incident, I am more in favour of the hackers than Sony. Getting my data thrown around is the cost of doing business. That said I do not assume the hackers of the original attack were anything but selfish gits out on a power trip. The most recent attack which flat out pointed out -how- exactly Sony is leaving our data unprotected is commendable and I wish them those lads the best.

  2. It's like saying that if someone copies your credit card number without you consent is all well and good as long as they promise not to use it. I don't think so.

    Depends. If you had before done something nasty to that person, then it could be appropriate.

    1. But that is the point, a) you haven't done anything to them and b) they didn't steal Sony's credit card info, they stole *your* credit card info. And you say that if they never use it that is all well and good but is there someone that can guarantee you that they won't use it? Would you continue to use the same card after its number got stolen by someone that you don't know and that same someone said to you "hey dude, no worries I won't use this card, I promise!"? I wouldn't and I think that you wouldn't as well.

  3. And you just summarized why I really dislike hackers. If they did what they did to offer a more secure internet environment then okay, but what they do, they do for mischief and petty vengeance.

    First of all, hackers are not all the same. These people are obviously 4chan crowd, who are doing it for the lulz, but they also do have a motive which aims to punish Sony for going after the hacking community. Why is this bad? Sony reneged on their promises and then went after people who allowed other to bypass Sony's takeback. Now Sony is being given a harsh lesson for their bad behaviour. Why is that lesson worse than doing something as ineffective as "protesting" (which the companies scoff at) or "voting with your wallet" (which doesn't work at all)? It's not about "Not liking" Sony. It's about retaliating so that Sony doesn't continue bullying people and learning that there are consequences for bad behaviour.

    1. Voting with your wallet works, if you actually do it. Most people don't though, they prefer to play the next little big planet or uncharted or whatnot instead of actually boycotting a company. Might doesn't make right and that goes both ways, not just for Sony. But you are right, not all hackers are the same and I shouldn't generalize, wiki leaks is mostly hacker work and Wikileaks is good, some would argue important even. Hacking is a tool, it can be used for good things(wiki leaks) or ill (hacking your email and selling it to companies for advertisement). We should learn to identify them, both good and bad.

      On the other hand I don't get the multiple OS on PS3 argument. Sony had a feature on the first few editions of their console, a great feature if I may add, but for their reasons took the decision to remove it from later models. This is not braking their word, this is modifying the hardware they sell. And if they really did it to fight piracy then all the better (that was the official statement if I recall correctly). Getting revenge for that is childish. Like I said, you *really* want your ps3 to run linux? Fine hack it "to pieces" and install linux on the fucker (witch they did). But if you want to make a spectacle of it and take the fame for it, then you should be prepared to take the heat for it as well.

      The one and only lesson that Sony *MUST* learn out of this is that they should start to use some security. The main reason that I dislike Sony is that they treat their customers like shit.

      1. Voting with your wallet works, if you actually do it.

        That's the thing. It doesn't, because not enough people do it. Anything can work in theory if a lot of people do it, but the effectiveness of a tactic depends on how likely it is for a lot of people to do it. And the isolated and punishing-the-actor nature of "voting with your wallet" tactics means that it can never catch on to the point that it is effective. Humans have been trying to make this tactic work for decades and I don't even know if there's a sucessful story. Even Nike which did some pretty horrid stuff, is still around, still doing them.

        1. Like you said and like I said, most people don't actually care (for better or worse) and won't do that. BUT just because you want something doesn't mean that you go and take it. I don't like nike so I don't buy their products, I don't destroy any of their warehouses or factories.
          This applies here, if you don't like what Sony offers then don't buy their products. It is as simple as that.

          1. It's not about liking them. It's about them screwing you. Directly or indirectly. The solution of not buying their products is a non-solution. It's as good as doing nothing.

          2. No, it actually is about liking them. I avoid Sony products as a rule, my only sidetrack was a PS3 and that was a present. If every one that actually disliked sony didn't buy their products, I think that it would make an effect. But like I said, most people are perfectly well in giving them their money and then bitch about bad service or lost features or whatever else. The best way to hurt a profiteering company is to not give them your money. Really, the only purpose of sony as a company is to make profit and profit is money. If people would stop giving money to them then they fail their purpose. But you are right in a way. Just not buying their products is a step closer to the solution but not a solution by itself. We have to show to other people what sony is doing wrong and why they don't deserve our money, if we manage to do that then I think that Sony will have a real problem in their hands.

            Blind hacking attempts just vilify the hacker community. You were perfectly right, not all hackers are assholes, but situations like this make them all look bad and draw the attention away of the real problem.

            You know what? Now that I think about it, I think that it would have been great if the guys that hacked Sony only broke their network and left all the personal data untouched. That would prove to Sony that their system was faulty and would give them a nudge toward a solution and a better service. But now that personal data have been "copied" some people have a problem. And those people are blameless in all this mess. And now, just as you don't have faith that the law will actually do justice, I don't have faith that my, yours or someone else's email won't be used for spam . My flatmate had his mail hacked and used for spam during the same time the attack on Sony happened, funny that. I can't say that these people are to blame but it was the same account that he used for his PSnetwork ID, it might be coincidental or it might not.

          3. If every one that actually disliked sony didn't buy their products, I think that it would make an effect.

            Again, that's not how the world works. Wishing for an effective tactic doesn't make it effective. If everyone held hands and sang kumba-ya, there would be an effect as well. But this doesn't make this an effective tactic. Therefore this is not a way to hurt a profiteering company. It's a way of doing nothing at best or punishing yourself at worst.

          4. But that is the thing, I don't just wish for something, I actively say that IF all the customers of Sony, that are unsatisfied by the company, took part in a boycott then it would make a dent in the company. On the other hand if this happened and it didn't make a dent in the company then it would mean that we (the customers that are not satisfied by Sony) are far fewer than the ones that are satisfied. In other words we would be on the wrong because we are fewer.

          5. I actively say that IF all the customers of Sony, that are unsatisfied by the company, took part in a boycott then it would make a dent in the company.

            Great, and I say that IF all people got together and sang kumba-ya, the world would be a better place. Since most people don't do it, then it must mean that people don't want a better place. This logic is flawed.

            The effectiveness of a tactic is judged by how likely it is to be followed, and boycotting is a very ineffective tactic. In history, there's not even a semi-succesful boycott that was not tied to a larger political movement.

            Finally, an argument from popularity is a logical fallacy. Being fewer doesn't make you wrong.

          6. [quote]Again, that's not how the world works.[/quote]
            I beg to differ, it kinda is.

            Most people do a pros and cons analysis in their head when buying stuff, they don't always realise they do, but they do it still. In the case of Sony the problem is that they make damn good products which are marketed decently usually. Most buyers don't give two shits about where Sony screws them over. I think it's a fact that for most people the pros of what Sony offers outweigh the cons, if you don't like that, well tough luck.

          7. Most people do a pros and cons analysis in their head when buying stuff, they don't always realise they do, but they do it still.

            Actually, they don't. Most people decide empathically. In fact, science has shown that people make most decisions (80% or so) subconsciously, even when they think they make conscious choices.

            The problem here is not that Sony makes good products and people don't care about being screwed. The problem is that Sony screws only some of their customers, who are then left out in the cold because they are in the minority. I have no problem with those people fighting Sony back extralegaly, and to repeat you, if you don't like that, well tough luk.

          8. [blockquote]The problem is that Sony screws only some of their customers, who are then left out in the cold because they are in the minority.[/blockquote]
            So wait a minute, a corporation should cater for the minority, or the minority will take it hostage through threats? What the fuck dude, I either misunderstood or that is some seriously thuggery logic right there.

            [blockquote]In fact, science has shown that people make most decisions (80% or so) subconsciously, even when they think they make conscious choices. [/blockquote]
            Science is actually quite a bit divided on how we make cognitive choices, while impulse buys tend to be emotionaly based and subject to faulty reasoning, I believe that humans do a lot more weighing of their options then we give them credit for. A lot of this process is done subconsciously, however I never bought that the subconscious is this wild beast barely controlled by the conscious as Freud would have us believe. If your subconscious is a beast barely under control, then your conscious is likely similar, and vice versa.

          9. So wait a minute, a corporation should cater for the minority, or the minority will take it hostage through threats? What the fuck dude, I either misunderstood or that is some seriously thuggery logic right there.

            I didn't ask a corporation to cater to the minority. I asked the corporations to LEAVE PEOPLE THE FUCK ALONE. This is not difficult to grasp. If they push us, people have a right to push back. The thugs in this scenario ARE the corporations and the state apparatus which acts on their behalf. THEY are the ones forcing unfair "copyright" laws, DMCAs, ACTAAs and whatever the fuck else they think of. They are the ones going after people playing with their own machines. To call the ones finally striking back as "thugs" as if corporations have not been fucking us all over is absurd.

          10. Blind hacking attempts just vilify the hacker community. You were perfectly right, not all hackers are assholes, but situations like this make them all look bad and draw the attention away of the real problem.

            In this case, it doesn't even matter. As long as it discourages Sony or other companies from going after hackers who did nothing wrong. The purpose will be achieved, regardless of if all hackers are villified.

      2. On the other hand I don't get the multiple OS on PS3 argument. Sony had a feature on the first few editions of their console, a great feature if I may add, but for their reasons took the decision to remove it from later models.

        Actually, that's not the whole story. If they just removed it from newer models it would have been OK. But they went ahead and sent an update which removed it from ALL models. New and old. Therefore stripping a feature away from people who paid for it, or forcing them to lose all online experience and newer games.

        Those people just hacked around Sony's bullshit, at which point, Sony sued the most visible of them.

        1. Sony actually gives you the opportunity to not update to a latest firmware, though the option to revert to older editions should have been available. Keep in mind that they removed a feature that they claimed that made the console easier to exploit and while they never actually said it ( I think) I suspect this is about pirating games but I'm just guessing.

          That said, when I wrote that I don't get the otheros argument, I should have clarified that I don't get it why it gives leave for hacking, there are other legal ways to get what you are owed and a legal move has been made, there is a class action suit running. The main question here is "Does Sony have the *legal* right to do what they did?" If they do, whether we like it or not we have to abide, if they don't then the court will force them to return the OtherOS feature to their consoles. I don't say that Sony actually did the right thing here(with the aggressive suing and all) but using illegal methods to fight legal methods isn't the answer, it will just throw more oil to the fire. In Greek we have the expression "Φαύλος Κύκλος" to describe situations like this, I'm not sure how I would explain it better in English.

          1. The retaliation against Sony is not because they closed the otherOS hole. It's because they went after the hackers who re-opened it. Legal or illegal means, it does not matter. The law is stacked to protect Sony and companies like them anyway and not the people they screw over. If the law won't give justice, then people should take it. I don't see why this "isn't the answer". If the law is just, you respect it, if it isn't, you ignore it.

          2. I'm not very inclined to believe that there is no justice out there whatsoever. And there is no final decision about the matter as well. They haven't decided nether for nor against Sony.

            And who is to decide what is just and what is not? I know if I can give a clear answer about this and nether can a small group of people. But speaking of justice outside the law, do you think that it is just for people to get their personal data stolen? If I don't like it would it be unjust for me to persecute these people? Would I be on the just side if I stole something of theirs? If I managed to damage their equipment and set their work back months and thousands of dollars/euros/whatever in other costs? No, you don't. Because if you do, you have the might over right mentality and I think that would be a step backward. If the law is just, you respect it, if it is unjust, you change it. Ignoring law makes you a part of the problem, not a part of the solution.

          3. The current law system is skewed towards the rich and the powerful, and you cannot change it. It's nice to ask me to "change it" but I have no hand in that…by design. As a classic saying goes "If democracy worked, it would have been illegal".

            Who decides what is just or not, as is the case now, is the majority of humans who accept certain values. Most people think that murder and theft is wrong, therefore it's considered unjust, and it would be through a law or not. Most people do not care about someone doing something to their own machines (i.e. hacking them) and therefore it's just, regardless of what the law says. If those hackers are punished with the current monopoly of force (i.e. the state) at the behest of corporations, then they have been punished unjustly.

            IF we had a just system, then I would be opposed to people defying it, but we do not. Currently we might not have the "might makes right" mentality (which I do not support anyway) but we have the "rich makes right" which is just as bad.

          4. Well, now I see the difference between how I see things and how you see things. I see a flawed system but believe that can be fixed, you see a flawed system but believe that can not be fixed. I believe that we have a somewhat just system. I also believe that money gives you more power than they should. This doesn't mean that the system is broken beyond repair. But if people start to think like that and don't do something to repair their problems, then we are worthy of our fates.

            Yes, there might be a classic saying that goes like that , but that doesn't make it very true. There is also a classic saying that all women belong to the kitchens (it is classic in a sense that a lot of people can be heard saying it for at least 80 years), I don't think that this is true as well.

            So let me get this straight, if most people don't care about something it makes it right? Most people don't care about mass murders in Uganda, does that mean that it is legal? People can do whatever they want with their equipment but if they agree to some terms of use and then they brake that agreement then they have to face the consequences. If these people didn't want to abide by those terms of use there are 2 options, don't buy the thing and do something else or do it and prepare to face the consequences, whatever those are.

          5. But if people start to think like that and don't do something to repair their problems, then we are worthy of our fates.

            Well, there's where you have the wrong impression about what I think. I do not say do nothing. I say do something that does not rely on reinforcing an unjust system (like taking part in the democratic farce we have now) or expecting politicians to work for you.

            What makes my saying true is not just that it's a saying, but that it's a reality. The fact that governments who tried to help their people were actively sabotaged by outside interests (mostly the USA) or they were toppled by military coups. The saying is true because of how inneffective capitalist "democracy" is visibly as doing the will of the people.

          6. Yes, what is right or wrong in a society is shaped by said society and if a society, as a whole, finds something to be wrong, it will rise to do something about it. This is how big changes in societies work and it is something that I am aware of . In this case we have a difference thought, you see what we have now as a big farce that has no hope to work whatsoever, what I see is something that is dysfunctional but can become functional. Trying to fix whatever is wrong in an unhealthy system is not reinforcing it, is making it better. A society needs its rules to function and these are its laws. This is why I say that if a law, rule if you like, is unjust then you fix the rule.

            Now whether democracy is a good or bad political system or if it is the best we have, is a discussion that I would rather not do right now.

          7. You cannot fix the "rule" (eg law). You do not have this capacity. It's an illusion that you think you do.

          8. So let me get this straight, if most people don't care about something it makes it right? Most people don't care about mass murders in Uganda, does that mean that it is legal

            That's not what I said.

            The "right-ness" of something is decided by moral systems. Under the ethics I hold, mass murder is wrong (for a variety of reasons). However, what is practically deemed for any society (and that means the society itself, not the world) is what the majority in that society believes, whether everyone else likes it or not. Stoning adulterous women in some mulsim countries is not right according to myself, but for some muslim countries it is treated so. This doesn't make is acceptable, but it does make it an unfortunate reality and shows us that what a society treats as right and wrong, is a matter of majority thinking. Not law. Law follows some of the large majority values (don't kill, don't steam etc) to show some measure of "right-ness" but the rest is rules that the majority does not want or care for, that are done because they benefit the rich and powerful.

            Lacking law, only the rules that a society actually considers "right" would be in effect. In short, we would not have plutocratic rules but we would retain the rest of the rules that most of us consider right anyway.

          9. And what are these rules? Who shapes them, who puts them in effect and how can they be enforced? Who can defend someone that can't defend him/herself? If law is defending only the plutocrats then you change the law to defend other people, you don't disregard law and start acting however you think is just. This would require that all people are interested to act for the betterment of the whole, but I don't think that this is a realistic thought. If laws seized to exist then we would have chaos. We would have groups of people acting however they wanted with no one to answer to. After that we would have the "might makes right" situation because the bigger group would enforce the things that they thing would be right to smaller/less strong groups.

          10. For us common plebs, we can't change the law without breaking the law. Modern history is a proof of this concept. From the civil rights movement in the USA, to Ghandi's movement in India, even to our own Polytechnic university uprising.

            So yes, the answer is absolutely to disregard the law and act whichever way you think is just. And then it is to make more people to the same, taking enforcement into the hands of the society, rather than a closed clique serving the interests of the rick.

          11. If laws seized to exist then we would have chaos. We would have groups of people acting however they wanted with no one to answer to.

            Nonsense. There's been historical examples of where this is not true. you seem to conflate the missing of a law to the missing of any order or rules, but this does not have to be so. If we dismantle "law" and enforcement by a third independent agency, like the police force, by taking the enforcement into our own hands and only respecting the laws that all of us consider correct, then it would definitelly not lead to chaos.

            Or do you think that if the state didn't tell you what is wrong or right, you'd immediately go into a murder rampage?

          12. But that is the thing, you view laws as a state tool that can't be touched by us "plebs" and I don't. Laws can be changed, even by us plebs. Do you remember the "Woman's sufferage movement" (I think that was its' name)? And it was changed mostly by people that were regard as week and unknowing.

            On the other hand I find regarding console hackers who want something more from their gaming consoles with the same esteem as people that fought against tyrannical regimes to be a little bit funny. If someone sues you for improper (for them) use of equipment is not the same as someone imprisoning you for thinking differently.

            And ohh yes, the police enforcement thing, I think that history has shown what happens when the "mob" takes the enforcement of what they think is right to their own hands.
            A society needs rules and it needs a third party that is (in theory) neutral to enforce them, if your third party is corrupt and doesn't do it's job right then you change it with an uncorrupted one. Dismantling them will lead to whomever has the means to enforce his opinion on the other wins. Again, the "Might makes right" mentality.

            But then again we come to the same conclusion, I think that what we have something that can be repaired and made to work, but you don't. Let's agree to disagree on that. Otherwise we will be dancing around each other without going somewhere.

          13. Do you remember the "Woman's sufferage movement" (I think that was its' name)? And it was changed mostly by people that were regard as week and unknowing.

            Exactly! And it wasn't changed by following the law! It was changed by marches, by breaking stuff, by violating the law so much that the state had no option BUT to change it. It wasn't done through boycotts or voting.

          14. I have no problem with protests and with more dynamic and even violent actions if need be, these action have to be in consensus by a large number of people and only if there is no other way. But you missed my point. My point was that they didn't change the system altogether, they just changed the part of the system that needed to change.

          15. You can never know if "there is no other way" and those examples that I mentioned were definitely not in consensus with most people. The truth is, is that what is effective is what makes you impossible to ignore. And the hacking action against Sony is one such example and if succesful, it will change just one part of the system. The part which fucks with the people playing with their own hardware and sharing knowledge.

          16. If someone sues you for improper (for them) use of equipment is not the same as someone imprisoning you for thinking differently.

            If you let the small things slide, then they become big things. But anyway the point isn't how severe a wrong you're being done. The point is that it's an unjust action and deserves retaliation.

          17. Yes, it does deserve retaliation, but not in the kind that you think at least in my opinion. This is the deference, we believe in two different ways of retaliation.

          18. And ohh yes, the police enforcement thing, I think that history has shown what happens when the "mob" takes the enforcement of what they think is right to their own hands.[snip] Again, the "Might makes right" mentality.

            Actually, you're wrong about history. There's far too many examples of societies that run without a state law. From Anarchist Catalonia to Revolutionary Ukraine, to Chistania, to Tribal Communes and so on. The examples are numerous. In fact, the version that you suggest is completely wrong.

            You can't change the "neutral" party with a uncorrupted one because power corrupts. In the few cases where a party actually got into power and tried to help the people instead of screwing them, it was toppled. Look at Chile. Look at Nicaragua. It's naive to think that you have a choice in this.

          19. People can do whatever they want with their equipment but if they agree to some terms of use and then they brake that agreement then they have to face the consequences.

            Fuck contracts. Given the reality of how people make decisions and how contracts are designed to be unreadable for the common person and given that most of the time, we have no option other than bad contracts, then I feel no guilt in breaking such terms of use if I feel they are wrong, and striking back against anyone who unjustly punishes me for it until I make such punishment either unenforceable or too costly.

          20. Nope I very much don't agree with that. A contract is an agreement, if I make an agreement with someone I expect that it will be honored and I will try to honor it as well. If one party makes a contract that is designed to fuck someone then you force that party to fix the contract and even to make things right with the "fuckedee".
            Agreements as whole is one of our most basic concepts. If you are willing to disregard an agreement because it might not suit you in the future then you lose credibility and I think that you know how important credibility is.

            But here we come back to the "might makes right" mentality. If YOU think that something is wrong, it doesn't mean that it actually is wrong. If you try to enforce your opinion on someone then this is oppression. In the case of Sony and the PS3 firmware, Sony actually was wrong but you and others think that the only answer is for someone to take the matters on his/her own hands and enforce THEIR opinion, whether other people agree with that or not. Again we have the "might makes right" mentality.

          21. Contracts can only be valid in an equal society. In an unequal society, the less powerful member of the contract always gets the short end of the stick. In such a society, those who hold less power, are within their rights to equalize the game, regardless of contracts.

            As such, agreements can only be a valid form of mutual understanding when all of us start from the same ground.

          22. But here we come back to the "might makes right" mentality. If YOU think that something is wrong, it doesn't mean that it actually is wrong. If you try to enforce your opinion on someone then this is oppression.

            Not at all. Oppression assumes that I hold power over someone. And given that there's no objective rule of what is wrong or not, then yes, my opinion of what is wrong or right, IS the only one that I accept as wrong or right and the only I will act on. On whose should I act? What society tells me? If that was the way people thought, we'd still be holding slaves and sell women as property.

            It's an extreme jump to claim that wrong and right is a subjective matter, to say that I'm suggesting "might makes right". Especially in a situation like current society we already have a "might makes right", only it happens that "might" is held by the rich and they delude you in thinking you have actually have a say in what is right.

            In a disagreement, there's always going to be someone enforcing their opinion on someone else. In this case, we have the minority, backed by the arms of the state, forcing their opinon on the majority. Sony is in the former. The only way to resolve this is to smash inequalities of power and let disagreements be solved on parties of equal power. Anything else is just a masquerading "might makes right" on most of us.

  4. On a different matter, I should really learn how to use these damn "reply" buttons! Sorry about the mess.

  5. Well, you and I don't support the use or personal info for malicious purposes, that doesn't mean that they won't be used in such a way. You as a person can't give a guarantee like that unless it is you that holds that data. Like you said on another post, just wishing something won't make it true.

    1. [quote]Well, you and I don't support the use or personal info for malicious purposes, that doesn't mean that they won't be used in such a way.[/quote]
      Exactly, accountability is important even in non capitalist/ownership societies. Even fiercely egalitarian hunter gatherer societies, which share everything from food, to sometimes even sexual pleasure, base their social cohesion on accountability. The tribe might fiercely share and care for everyone who chips in to the best of their ability, but should one member try to profiteer from this practice they become an outcast or worse.

      Now, with hackers it gets a bit tricky because they need their anonymity to do the stuff that helps us, like their work on Wiki-leaks which provides us with government and corporate transparency which has somehow been sacrificed in the altar of "security". Here I have no easy solutions.

  6. Science is actually quite a bit divided on how we make cognitive choices, while impulse buys tend to be emotionaly based and subject to faulty reasoning, I believe that humans do a lot more weighing of their options then we give them credit for. A lot of this process is done subconsciously, however I never bought that the subconscious is this wild beast barely controlled by the conscious as Freud would have us believe. If your subconscious is a beast barely under control, then your conscious is likely similar, and vice versa.

    The discussion was in the context of if boycotts are ever going to be effective. They will not be if we assume that people don't make rational decisions on what they purchase (which is why historically they haven't been effective). You cannot assert a borderline "homo economicus" model of humans to tell me that "voting with the wallet" works. If it did, it would be an economists wet dream, but unfortunately, this is not how the world works and this has been proven scientifically. Your argument is a cop out, as you assert that even though science has shown that we do not purchase rationally, and even though it's known that advertisements and subliminal messaging affect our purchasing habits to a significant extent, and even though our economic situation forces people to make difficult choices between two bad options, through all this, we still decide rationally subconsciously and thus retain a capacity to punish corporations that misbehave. If only that were true, we would not no more misbehaving corporations, so either you posit that humans like being fucked over, or this particular tactic just doesn't work.

    1. Poetic? No. Ironic? Perhaps slightly. But unlike the Sony case, their latest acts do seem just mindless, so I can't endorse them in any way.

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