En Route to the Digital Dark Ages

We don't often talk about it, but we as a society are really moving through uncharted territory. We've become so acclimated to digital technology playing a huge role in every facet of our lives, that we often forget that we are exploring a cultural and legal "frontier" that is largely uncharted as of yet. As such, we should all be expecting legislation and court cases coming in our near future that are likely going to define the ways we use technology, and the roles that it will play in our lives going forward.

There is currently a court case that will be heard by the supreme court at some point during November that will decide how the law differentiates between white-hat, ethical hackers (or, people who probe for vulnerabilities and report them in order to help companies become more secure) and black hat, actual hackers (which are the ones who exploit those vulnerabilities to cause havoc and for profit).

That distinction is important, because while the activities of both groups are similar, ethical hackers are one of the single greatest assets of the tech industry as it stands today for discovering the vulnerabilities at corporations that might put millions of consumers at risk, notifying them, and creating pressure for those companies to invest in fixing the flaws. Without that necessary service, companies that harbor your data will be able to seek to punish the researchers that protect all of us, and will no longer have a real reason to invest in their security posture.

Ultimately, if that is the outcome that the SCOTUS ends up at, then we are certainly heading for a dark time in the digital era, and the price of that will most likely be paid by the general consumer. If you wanna learn more about this case, check out the article on Forbes HERE.