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Brazilian culture minister hails hackers
[May 29, 2006]

Brazilian culture minister hails hackers

(EFE Ingles Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Barcelona, Spain, May 29 (EFE).- Brazil's culture minister defended computer hackers here Monday as "counter-cultural militants."

Minister Gilberto Gil, a renowned musician who accepted President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's invitation three years ago to join his cabinet, commented at the opening of the Global Internet Congress here. Participants in the four-day conclave are discussing current tendencies in cyberspace and challenges facing the World Wide Web.

"I, Gilberto Gil, as minister of culture of Brazil and as a musician, work every day with the impulse of the ethics of hackers," he said.

Though hacking - or unauthorized access to Web sites or other Internet-borne information - is a criminal activity in most nations, he said hackers should be distinguished from those he called "crackers," or pirates intent on stealing or otherwise doing harm while overcoming Web security barriers.

Gil, 63, called hackers "counter-cultural militants who see in the computer a fantastic tool for communication."

He said the Internet allows good hackers "to create permanent spaces of equality" that give them, as they pursue universal free software, strength against "the reactionary orthodoxy" controlling much of the sector.

"Hackers create, innovate, solve problems and voluntarily exercise a mutual help organization," which he said meshes with the founding principles of the Internet.

Gil said "the technological revolution cannot be justified in and of itself, and must be reflected in benefits for and the well-being of people."

He hailed efforts by Da Silva's socialist government to extend computer hardware and software to poorer segments of Brazilian society.

"Thanks to the Internet, an Amazonian Indian is able to offer his hand-woven baskets to buyers in the developed world, avoiding middlemen and obtaining a price 100 times higher that what he previously received," he said. EFE


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