Beginning of January 2019. The new year begins with a nasty surprise: "Berlin is shaken by a massive data theft, unknown perpetrators have published private data from a number of top politicians, entertainers and journalists: mobile phone numbers, holiday photos, bank account details, chat excerpts were published. Berlin is in turmoil. " (Handelsblatt, 4th January2019)
"(The) hacker has taught me what it means when we humans, our infrastructures, and our social institutions are made of glass. Transparent, maniable, and fragile."
It is a bitter irony that it was a "bad" British hacker who had predicted these dangerous conditions to me already in 2003 - that privacy will become the most valuable commodity in a culture that celebrates non-privacy. He should know since he was working at the time as an expert for large DATA companies who had UK government contracts, moving intimate health and citizen data of millions of households and people around between servers. He knew an enormous amount about how to control information-flows and about the private lives of all kinds of people. The very same hacker then proceeded to hack me for years, manipulating my data, my computers, my mobile phones, my head and consequently my life. He was an invisible enemy but always present, and he joined forces with a stupid government that was all too willing to entrust the data of it's citizens to people like him. It was he who taught me how fragile we are, and how vulnerable our political our social infra structures and institutions can be. Indeed - we can all be like glass. Transparent, maniable and fragile.
"What better tool can there be for this task but computer programming and manipulating the information flow of the Internet and it's unlimited means of veiling onself in anonymity?"
For evil hackers, as for all psychopaths, everything begins with a reversal. For them, the world is evil and they have to be in control and become masters of this world. What better tool can there be for this task but computer programming and manipulating the information flow of the Internet and it's unlimited means of veiling onself in anonymity? In the digital world, a new breed of psychopaths execute their craft online, and strengthen their psychopathies, and foster not only their own evil minds but also infect others with their evil. This not only reads ghostly - you also experience it as ghostly when you are affected by this nastiness.
According to Wikipedia, Psychopathy today refers to "an emotional disorder that involves sufferers with the widespread or total lack of empathy, social responsibility, and conscience." Psychopaths are sometimes charming, they know how to make superficial relationships Being psychoactive is often associated with antisocial behaviors, so often diagnosing a dissocial or antisocial personality disorder can be made in these cases. "
In terms of hacking, there are several things to add here. Especially the aspects of social hacking, that is the intertrusion and manipulation of the social life of a victim or a whole population by digital means. A nasty hacker knows very well what social damage he (or she) inflicts on people. He thinks systemic and intends to do that damage. He calculates it ahead in detail. He's not a youthful hooligan, or a guy who wants to get a bit into vandalism to let some steam off. No, he is a political actor. Often traveling on his own, but also of great political benefit to the enemies of liberal democracies. The very liberal democracies who were so hopeful, raising their children to believe in openness, fairness, tolerance and transparency (and technology). Children like me. I've been a grown-up for a long time, but I am educated in that spirit. Unfortunately it was these (beautiful, very honorable) German values that made me an easy target for a bad, psychopathic hacker.
"What happened to me happens to millions of people every day."
What happened to me happens to millions of people every day. Their institutions fail them and they become victimized by manipulations. Worse still, the institutions are increasingly pulled under the spell of these psychopaths and are used by them. Was Trump's election victory not a "hack" executed by hackers? Or Bolsanero's? The now-Brazilian president Bolsanero employed like US President Trump armies of influencers, user manipulators and hackers to get into people's heads. Even Brazilian in Germany voted en masse for him. He reached them via the so called social media with their personalized algorithms and further whipped up hysteria through the various Brazilian churches in Germany. No wonder our world and our societies are in crisis. In the meantime, an internationally known company boss of a very well-known data-mining company, tell us all what it's all about: To "Move fast and break things". Surely, a lot of things, mainly our human rights and our minds, got broken very quickly over the last 20 years.
With such dangers for human rights and democracy, one wonders why we still give so much attention to authors like Michel Houellebecq and his elaborations about the "submission of democracy to the Islamic Sharia". The real danger is elsewhere. And submission to it takes place on a daily basis and without too much public attention. Brexit and Trump and all the autocrats of our era are the work of "bad hackers". They hack election systems, PCs, social media, e-mail accounts, people's brains. They manipulate, they implement winning strategies over computer networks with Machiavelli-like methods.
For me personally, the hacking had quite drastic consequences. Financially, emotionally, mentally, socially and physically. I lost my job, I was labeled a liar, I became socially isolated, and I lost a lot more than that. Although I was spared finding deeply private data published on the Internet, I knew I was constantly being watched and was caught in a network of 24/7 manipulation and surveillance by someone who had taken control over my life. And to make matters worse, the British state then started to watch me when I filed complaints against the police and Local Authorities who were unwilling and unable to stop this abuse. Letters from the my lawyers never arrived, strange things happened all the time. Years later I found out that hacking by the government and annoyed local authorities is common practise these days in the UK under the so called RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers) laws. The lines of private perpetrators and state perpetrators had completely blurred at this stage and the reign of fascism in the UK was firmly installed for me. As a consequence, I sought protection deep inside, in my mental spaces because only there I had still some privacy. The new social interest in religion has all to do with digitization, intrusion, manpulation and loss of our privacy. The more vulnerable we become the more protection we seek in the spiritual worlds and the more intensively we search for cover.
Despite all these events, despite Brexit, Trump, troll armies and so on - the public in Germany and the EU continue to struggle to understand how dangerous the digital can be. Maybe the hacker attack of January 2019 is finally the big, necessary eye-opener. But as long as the systemic forces and dangers are not understood - that is, the forces deep inside the digital machinery - we all face a slow-moving and growing fascism catastrophe. We as humans, nations and societies will only continue to be safe if our data are secure and when we consistently track down, confront and punish psychopaths, hackers and corrupt people. This should definitely also apply to bosses of large data theft companies.