Alternate Option
Thoughts from me.
Monday, April 18, 2005 11:44 pm
PSC scholar
Looks like the verbal swashbuckling is still going on at the SPUG forums. CZ (the PSC scholar) has some friends that have showed up defending CZ now. And some calming word are being spoken giving a good overview of the situation. Not really a flame war just yet. It would be much easier to read if the participants used proper punctuation, and capitalisation. I don’t think after today I will be going back to have a look.

As I’ve posted before, I think it is impossible for me to follow a discussion on an Internet discussion board. My temperament is such that I usually end up unhappy, or regretting something I posted.

So this guy got pwned big time. He got caught doing something not uncommon, but not generally done in public. The question of whether it was ethical for someone to “hack” into his blog to find that information is a valid one. I for one would be uncomfortable if my 10 years of email got sent to the public domain. Most of us keep our email passwords relatively secure, but what if our emails/private thoughts were leaked? Should details such as our love letters, image attachments, evil private thoughts be endlessly discussed on a public forum? Let he who has no sin cast the first stone…

First point to note, is that the “hack” was a pretty easy one, from the sounds of it.

The 2nd point is, no matter what you think the ethics of the hacking: the word is already out. That discussion is moot. The revelations are now an event. And now the discussion will be about repercussions.

When Ceciliantas was caught gallivanting in Everquest, was the tattler punished? No…

When Paris Hilton’s phone was hacked into, and the details splashed all over the Internet, the “hacker” certainly wasn’t jeered. Because the exposé had already happened, and the discussion was about the details. Was Ms Hilton heckled like CZ was? Um… no.

But CZ’s detractors have been baying for blood… Why?

My thoughts are:
• Partly because he is a PSC scholar his actions reflect upon Singaporeans.
• Partly because he comes across on his blog as a prick.
• The bigger reason is that his comments—verbatim—have now made its way into the public domain, open to netizen. With the full text out there, there is no question about “…taken out of context…”, “…inside joke…”, “…different persona…”. These posts are from the horse’s mouth.
• And another big reason: his apology, seen in the Sunday Straits Times, and on his website ring hollow

So what was his mistake?
From my experience being in Singapore, thoughts like his are not exactly uncommon. I can imagine his being a self-professed crème de la crème living an insular, upper class life, it is his version of the truth.

His mistakes are: he got caught. And he did not come across as contrite.

So what now?
It is only early days. What happens now is only up to the Singapore authorities—depending on how the facts are spun. He could be tarred and feathered (surprise me Singapore). Or the topic of racism could become front page news, and endlessly discussed until nothing is left.

Or his online persona could just disappear. The fact that his main mistake was to get caught is emphasised in the comment column of the ST. Bloggers are criticised for yelling “Fire” in a crowded cinema. The “other side” of his persona is revealed. PSC gives him a public slap on the wrist. He quietly does whatever it is that PSC math majors do. Then 2 years later Life! does a “This-is-your-life” with CZ—his life and achievements celebrated, and the world is a better place.

Details of his blog exploits are murky and forgotten by Joe Public. Or the insane will remember them. That is what will happen.

[posted with ecto]


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