The relationship between pirates and hackers needs no explanation. The morally ambiguous nature of the practices of a grey hat invite illegal activity. Granted, there is a time and place for information to be free and, when appropriate, I applaud their efforts to do just that. Really, for all we know hackers like George Hotz might have had very good intentions for revealing the information he did. According to the statement he released shortly afterward he might have been reaching out to help design the next generation of console security. As we cannot be sure, we'll leave it out of the equation. What we can be sure of is this: people, in general, are interested in their own personal gain. It's been proven. The vast majority of people will decide against doing the… 'right' thing, for lack of a better term.
In the case of video games and piracy we already have a myriad of samples. That's not to say that companies large and small can't benefit from hackers and piracy. The exploits of the original Xbox led to a redesigned interface and feature set in the Xbox 360, for example. As a rule, though, hackers and pirates do much, much more to hurt the industry than they do to help it.
So what can be done to remedy the situation? Truthfully, there are few things that can be done. Sure, you can lock up a few for whatever activities the courts deem illegal, but what would that do? There'll be script kiddies and black hats ready to take their place. One option would be for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to step up their anti-piracy measures with the costs inevitably being passed on to the consumer. Yet Xbox Live members already pay $60 a year for the service. Many, myself included, might have a problem trusting that any large company could be trusted to take revenue that could be used to line the pockets of its investors and spend it on security measures that might not hold up. Accountability measures might have to be set up, which is where this plan falls apart.
Really, the only people capable of curbing the activities of hackers, crackers, script kiddies, and the like are they themselves. Failure to recognize the immense harm to the people they're trying to help is altogether counterproductive and ultimately irresponsible.
Hoping that hackers stop their activities altogether is like hoping production on Hollywood-style blockbuster video games comes down. Pointless. Rules are made to be broken, right? As long as there exist security measures, there will be people that make it their aim to circumvent those measures. It's an endless struggle. The only way out is if responsible measures are taken on either side of this issue. Here's for hoping the more miserly tendencies of human nature don't win out.
CCC Freelance Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*