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Hacking the hacks: When will the digital era produce another Watergate?

Hacking the hacks: When will the digital era produce another Watergate?

Following the Julian Assange/Edward Snowden leaks, the world became captivated by hacks that are far more interesting: nude celebrity photos and Hollywood big wigs calling each other catty names.

The hacking victims pretend to be outraged while basking in the added fame, while the rest of the world enjoys learning that celebrities – they’re just like us! Mean and filthy.

But what happens to these hackers?

As far as I can tell, Assange is relishing a life of luxury inside the Embassy of Ecuador, where John Cusack visits him on long weekends. He’s been labeled “an enemy of the United States” by the State Department. But if you’re reading this website, you probably have too, by Lois Lerner.

And Snowden is living it up in a snowed-in (!) Russia, where a sleeper agent is, appropriately, trying to seduce him.

All in all, not too bad.

Of Assange, Attorney General Eric Holder said there is “an active, ongoing criminal investigation.” That was in 2010. Since then, Ferguson happened. 

As for Snowden, he’s considered a hero by half the U.S., and the other half has forgotten all about him. Even ask Jill Abramson. Wait, who is that again?

The Washington Post reports that the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment “has escalated into a humiliating public crisis for the company as deeply held secrets — including business practices, pay disparities, and ugly personal feuds — continue spilling onto the Internet in ways that experts say could damage the Hollywood studio for years to come.”

You know what else is full of deeply held secrets about business practices, pay disparities, and ugly personal feuds? Politics.

So why haven’t more politicians been hacked? (Keep in mind I’m speaking as someone who doesn’t trust herself to self-install the internet when the company sends me a modem (is that the word?) and instructions in a box.)

Isn’t there some clever computer nerd out there with a vendetta seeking to derail a campaign or two? After all, the NSA and CIA, whose business is (supposedly) intelligence and security, have been cyber-attacked.

Sarah Palin was hacked during the 2008 presidential election. The kid who did it used her account’s recovery for forgotten passwords and correctly guessed some security questions. Another hacker broke into Mitt Romney’s private Hotmail account when he was campaigning “by guessing the answer to a security question about [his] favorite pet.” (It’s not an elephant.) 

Maybe the Republicans are too noble to try such dirty tricks. I don’t think the Dems are. The most recent politicians to be hacked were Republicans, and Palin’s assailant was the son of a Democratic politician. I think the left gave up when they realized the right is boring.

Maybe the GOP figures there’s already enough dirt on the Dems to make hacking unnecessary, and in the case of Grubergate, they’ll reveal themselves on video eventually, not that the voters care.

Or perhaps it’s that the left is just too good at getting rid of evidence?

Just my thoughts for making the political world a little more Smiley’s People and a lot less nerd science.


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