Katie Kieffer

Pause and reflect on this hypocrisy: The Department of Justice prosecutes young hackers who use computers to promote free speech while highly educated adults within the DOJ threaten to use lethal drone force against American citizens without due process. Which is worse?

Certainly, I do not condone hacking. However, you and I need to start talking about the best way to handle cyber-attacks while also recognizing that the same government officials we trust to protect us are assaulting our constitutional freedoms.

Last month, cyber security firm Mandiant released an explosive, 76-page report indicating that the Chinese government is most likely sanctioning and responsible for a bulk of the cyber-attacks against the U.S. government and American companies.

This month, the New York Times reported top U.S. intelligence official James Clapper Jr. alerting Congress: “a major cyber-attack on the U.S. could cripple the country’s infrastructure and economy … such attacks now pose the most dangerous immediate threat to the U.S., even more pressing than an attack by global terrorist networks, such as al-Qaida.”

Cyber-attacks are becoming a menace and we need to find a better way to prevent them.

Steve Jobs Was a Hacker
One thing that you should know about the computer, tablet or smart phone and the internet that you are using to read this column: They would not exist if an intelligent young person had not broken rules in order to advance technology.

Did you know that Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were famous pranksters? Wozniak spent a night in a juvenile detention center for one prank and Jobs was suspended from school more than once.

Jobs and Wozniak were also hackers. In fact, if it were not for a hacking prank they played that allowed them to manipulate AT&T’s infrastructure, iPads would not exist. In 1971, Wozniak and Jobs discovered an article on hackers in Esquire that gave them clues into creating Blue Box technology to override AT&T’s network and make free long-distance calls.

Wozniak and Jobs followed the clues in the Esquire article to a technical journal article on the tones that route phone calls in the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center’s library. Armed with these two articles, rebellion and raw intelligence, Wozniak created the first digital Blue Box.

Katie Kieffer

Katie Kieffer is the author of a new book published by Random House, LET ME BE CLEAR: Barack Obama’s War on Millennials and One Woman’s Case for Hope.” She writes a weekly column for Townhall.com. She also runs KatieKieffer.com.