Today the Guardian features an interview with John Arquilla, who is a a professor of defence analysis at the US Naval Postgraduate School. In it, he argues that the government’s time and energy would be better spent recruiting black hats, rather than arresting them: “The brilliance of hacking experts could be put to use on behalf of the US in the same way as German rocket scientists were enlisted after the second world war.”
We can’t imagine the Anons would like to compared to Nazis, in any analogy. Nor is his argument that ne’erdowells can be flipped terribly novel. But in making his case, it started to sound like perhaps Mr. Arquilla has a different agenda.
He told the Guardian:
“Let’s just say that in some places you find guys with body piercings and non-regulation haircuts. But most of these sorts of guys can’t be vetted in the traditional way. We need a new institutional culture that allows us to reach out to them.”
He added, waxing romantic:
“This is huge human capital. They are the rangers of the cyber sphere. Most of them are drawn to it for its beauty and complexity.”
“Rangers of Cyberspace”? That’s not a defense strategy, that’s a television show that we would automatically DVR. Cut to a boardroom in Burbank:
“So there’s this grizzled general, and he tells his second-in-command–who is just back from Afghanistan–to round up some computer freaks. He finds a Lisbeth Salander type, someone who looks like Sabu, a guy who’s like Mark Zuckerberg without the Facebook, and…”
Someone get J.J. Abrams on the phone, tell him we’ve got him an idea.