There is no need to describe to anyone who or what Ravish Kumar is. Besides received by a section of the society as a “journalist of repute”, Ravish Kumar has often written on a number of issues on his blog. He was praised by the anti-Modi group for his so-called ‘black screen’ protest following a particular news anchor’s powerful takedown of anti-India voices in JNU in February this year.
On Sunday, Kumar became one of the victims of the hacking that had resulted in the compromise of the Twitter accounts of his NDTV colleague Barkha Dutt.
— Sir Ravindra Jadeja (@SirJadeja) 10 December 2016
A furious Ravish Kumar took to his blog to condemn the hacking. Of course, he has every right to. In fact, on the onset, hacking should be condemned.
But Ravish Kumar said something that makes hacking as an exercise a really evil thing and those who conduct this exercise appear like scums of the planet. And THAT is where he is wrong.
“डरपोकों की बारात बन गई है जो किसी मुख्यालयों के पीछे के कमरे में बैठकर ये सब काम करते हैं,” wrote Kumar calling the hackers a “bunch of cowards”.
Unless it is ethical hacking, hacking as is commonly understood is a crime.
Ethical hackers work for the government or organisations formed to counter the ‘bad’ hackers or hackers of an enemy country.
Whether the hackers have done a good or bad thing depends on the purpose of the hack.
If hackers steal information, such as credit card details, and use it to withdraw money from the account of the person so hacked, it is actually a condemnable crime because it hurts someone financially.
Now, on the other hand, if hackers hack into something which holds dirty secrets and reveal those secrets which expose the dirt in the big leagues, and, therefore, benefit the masses, then such a hacking might be called good though it still is a crime as per law. You can call such hackers whistleblowers.
The Anonymous group is the best example of how important hackers are to our world.
They expose those who are in high offices or answerable to the society yet keep the society in the dark. Without the Anonymous group, the world would not be even aware of the fact that many governments keep their people in the dark or take actions that are practically against the very principles of democracy.
The Anonymous group was at the forefront during the Arab Spring, exposing the dictatorial Tunisian government’s crackdown on the dissidents and helping the anti-government protesters by letting them share videos of the protests. And in 2012, when Uganda decided to give capital punishment to homosexuals, Anonymous hacked the website of Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.
So basically, even though hacking is a crime as per the law, there are hackers around the world without whom the world would be an even darker place than it is. They take a great risk upon themselves in trying to expose the wrongdoers.
They are not cowards. They are activists, which is why they are called hacktivists – a portmanteau of the words ‘hacker’ and ‘activists’.
By generalising all the hackers as cowards, Ravish Kumar showed his lack of understanding of hacking as a subject though he claimed to have been “studying it for the last two-and-half years”. (As if hacking didn’t exist before the arrival of the Modi government.)
In his post Ravish Kumar claimed that those who hacked the Twitter accounts of Rahul Gandhi, Barkha Dutt and his own were acting on the behest of the government and are “goondas”.
That is quite offensive for two reasons: one, he accuses the government of the hacking even though he has no proof, and, two, he calls government hackers “goondas”, practically meaning that those going after the Twitter handles of Pakistani terrorists are ruffians.
Ravish’s reaction is expected. When uncomfortable truths get exposed this is how anyone would react.
Just last month Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga had revealed the ‘truth’ about Ravish Kumar’s journalistic ethics by exposing how he made a Congress leader pose as a businessman on a report against demonetisation.
He boasted in his blog: “हम लकीर हैं। जहां खींच जाते हैं और जहां खींच देते हैं वहां गहरे निशान पड़ जाते हैं।” (“We are lines. We leave deep marks behind us.”) But if the ‘deep mark’ Ravish Kumar intends to leave upon us is by raising a finger on the integrity of cops needlessly then such a mark is dangerous and should be countered.
Ravish claims that those who hacked him are afraid of him. A true journalist, as the NDTV editor likes calling himself in a chest thumping manner, has nothing to fear because he/she has nothing to hide. And if that is true then that long, angry post of his tells us who actually is afraid.