It is observed amongst some programmers that law is programming but hundreds of years old. Programming provides rules for computers to process and follow (for more information read this bloomberg story) the concept is similar to laws and contracts which defines terms and logical conditions to follow, which is why some very clever people are working on project like legalese.io that aims to create a programming language that can be translated into legal language.
In light of Thailand’s new Computer Crimes Act, the Clinton hack scandal, as well as the Ethereum DAO hack, I propose that the approach to dealing with computer access and networks needs to be reimagined. If code can be compiled into law, then why not think of code as law, and unauthorized access as merely the side effect of badly written code? This happens when one party of litigation must accept the consequence of the wording of a contract or law.
My argument goes further. Since lawyers who exploit loopholes in legal contracts or law are generally considered to be clever, I propose that hackers should be considered the same way. Yes there is an issue of what constitutes private property and privacy, and yes there is the pending issue of damages, losses and other downside. However much of hacking, or the process of breaking into a system, can be no more than finding a permitted way to gain access through the system of terms and conditions that govern such access to a system that the designer of the system didn’t envision. In this regards, hackers should have some of the same protection that lawyers do, creating a more realistic sharing of responsibilities as well as the reduction of risk.
The result of this is hopefully just as lawyers have produced increasingly better legal processes and documents, hackers who can perform their exploits in the public eye could also lead to more secure system designs and more awareness of their activities. In an environment where hacking is legal, if a bank says their system is secure, it probably is secure.