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Hack the Law

Hack the Law

My presentation on why more hackers should go to law school, delivered at HOPE Number Nine on Sunday, July 15, 2012. Slides and blog post at http://blog.ussjoin.com/2012/07/hack-the-law.html .


Recent bills such as ACTA, COICA, and SOPA in legislatures worldwide demonstrate that there exists a fundamental disconnect between hackers and politicians. Worse, the people charged with dealing with law on the ground, the lawyers, rarely have any significant technical background obtained within the last few decades. This must change. It’s all well and good to write your congressperson or donate to the EFF, but it’s not enough; we need hackers to go to law school. Lawyers - whether they work as attorneys, or bring their knowledge of the law back to other fields - are uniquely situated to effect direct change on politics, social issues, and the law on the ground (where they arrest poor hackers) and, unlike many fields, it’s not enough to be self-taught. This presentation will focus on the utility of the hacking ethos within the law, as well as the “law school experience,” technical bits about actually getting in, and how to keep yourself from going nuts while spending three years surrounded by those who can’t tell their megabytes from their overbites (and are terrified by Wireshark, let alone the more subtle tools in existence). Expect stories, humorous anecdotes, and terrifying lapses in judgment.

Brendan O'Connor

July 15, 2012

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  1. BRENDAN O'CONNOR • CTO/DSS, Malice Afterthought, Inc • Rising 2L

    at the University of Wisconsin School of Law - IANAL,Y • I've done DARPA stuff (CFT and otherwise), security research, and even security, coding, and Net Warfare teaching (want to hire me? I'm always looking, so ping me!) • BTW, No One Authorized Me To Say ANYTHING! I speak for nobody.
  2. THIS IS NOT OUR FAULT... • "They don't understand us!"

    • "They're scared of black t-shirts!" • "I'm too leet to talk to them." • "You can't fight The Man, man..." • "If God wanted us to talk to Congress, they would have given them un- firewalled computers." • ...no. We fail, as a community. It's not our fault, but it *is* our responsibility to fix.