Wrongfully Blaming Hackers For Rainforest Deforestation

from the blame-the-actual-logging-companies dept

Here's an odd one. Apparently the folks at Greenpeace are claiming that a move to computerize the permit system for logging companies in the Amazon rainforest allowed hackers employed by the logging companies to issue fake permits allowing them to log well beyond their quota. However, it's difficult to really see how the hackers or computerization really had much to do with this at all. Prior to that, the system was based entirely on paper, where it would seem much easier to forge a piece of paper. By moving it to a computerized system, if anything, it would seem to create a much better system for tracking and catching those that forge the permits. After all, any decent computer system should recognize if extra permits are being issued, or if they're forged completely, then a quick check via the computer should show that the permits being used are faked. An entirely paper-based system would allow for no such simple check.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    OneDisciple, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 3:22am

    Think of the Children

    We need legislation right now. "Think of the Children!!!!"

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 3:45am

    an other case of shooting the messenger.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 4:00am

    It sounds like the bigger issue down there is the slave labor. I mean, trees can grow back.

     

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  4.  
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    Jeff, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 4:02am

    man...

    Whatever happened to the good ol' days of Greenpeace, when they'd just send a couple of hippies to burn down the headquarters of a logging company? I miss that...

     

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  5.  
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    cKarlGo, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 4:24am

    How much you want to bet these same hippies have a house full of appliances and a flat screen TV the size of a football field hanging on the wall?

     

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  6.  
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    AJ, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 4:36am

    By 'hippies, you're obviously referring to Algore, the overaged hippie traveling the world to save it from those evil greedy consumers in his private jet, huge SUV convoys as he returns home to his eco-friendly house that uses hundreds of times more energy than a regular house. Yes, those hippies.

     

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  7.  
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    NullOp, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 5:13am

    Hackers?

    Yes, I totally agree! The deforestation of the rain forest IS caused by hackers. They have been hacking down all the forest they can with or without permits. Nature is the only entity that can judge the "right" amount of logging that should go on in an environment.

     

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  8.  
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    Droslovinia, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 5:19am

    Huh?

    AJ! Rush called and wants his pills back! Seriously, though, just because one group of well-intentioned but misguided people is saying a dumb thing doesn't mean that the whole green movement should be indicted. That is, unless you "pro-lifers" out there are willing to give up because someone threatened a doctor; or the NRA is going out of business over a school shooting. There are nuts out there supporting every cause. That doesn't mean that their cause is necessarily wrong, only that some people are nuts.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 5:27am

    Re: Hackers?

    "Nature is the only entity that can judge the "right" amount of logging that should go on in an environment."

    I seriously hope you are trolling. That has to be the most asinine statement I've ever heard. We have alternatives to using wood in the majority of things now, and a cheap means to use them.

    We simply don't NEED wood anymore, but due to illegal logging there is so much supply its 'cheap enough' to make it worthwhile (meanwhile for consumers its a 'luxury' item).

    And for what purpose? We don't even fully comprehend the atmospheric effects that our logging has, though there is good evidence it isn't good.

    Also, you speak as if "nature" is an entity on its own right. News for you: it's *passive*. Nothing will magically show up to stop us from killing ourselves, or killing entire other species.

    Relatively speaking, humans are pretty powerful. We're the only species (as far as I know) that can choose if another species lives or dies. With that kind of power comes a certain kind of responsibility. People really need to start growing up and accepting that responsibility, or it won't just be an economic crisis we're facing the next time around.

     

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  10.  
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    Greg, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 5:35am

    Re: Huh?

    True. It's just that it seems there are more nuts in the Green movement than anywhere else.

     

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  11.  
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    Josef Stalin, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 5:43am

    Genocide does solve some problems.

    Can't solve the rainforest problem by words, need to kill off some of the people using the wood.

    Let's start with all the over consuming Americans, that would be a good start.

     

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  12.  
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    chris (profile), Dec 16th, 2008 @ 5:55am

    where are the details on the hack?

    the article is pretty light on the details about the "hack" are they sure it really was a hack and not some sort of fraud or other corruption?

    also, if greenpeace knows that these systems are vulnerable, why not use the vulnerability to prove their point? i would think that flooding the system with millions of permits for single trees would illustrate that point nicely. funny thing about backdoors, there are seldom any controls on who can use them.

    not all crime committed with a computer is hacking, not all hacking is crime with a computer. con artists commit crimes all the time with computers and do very little hacking. a corrupt employee abusing his or her position is not hacking either.

    this lack of disclosure does no one any good, except those who are committing these crimes. secrecy is a big part of the hacking game: those who exploit vulnerable systems for profit do not want their methods or their targets exposed, and victims do not want their vulnerabilities or their exploitation exposed. this gives the exploiters a tremendous amount of power.

    that's the great thing about real hacking: if you share what you know, it takes the power away from the real bad guys that operate in secret.

     

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  13.  
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    hegemon13, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re: Huh?

    Then you haven't been looking very hard anywhere else. Nuts are everywhere. Right, left, center, and off-kilter. Doesn't matter. Some people are so passionate about their cause that they complete eschew all reason and act like fools. There are plenty of nuts whose basic ideas I agree with, but I still can't stand their obnoxious methods.

     

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  14.  
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    Dick Wood, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 7:40am

    Good thread!

    I like this thread soooo much I think I'll print it and share it with my friends.

     

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  15.  
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    John, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 7:49am

    Re: Huh?

    Let's be hones, most people are nuts.

     

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  16.  
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    John, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 7:51am

    Re: Genocide does solve some problems.

    Yep, because American's are the only peoples in the entire world that are "over consuming".

    That was an intelligent, well thought-out argument.

     

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  17.  
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    Yakko Warner, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 8:25am

    Hackers again?

    Hackers... is there anything they can't hack?

    Then again, maybe the yahoos at Greenpeace got confused when they heard about "hackers" and thought about people "hacking" at trees with axes.

    When they heard the hackers were going to "log off", well, that was just the last straw. "We need more trees, not logs!"

     

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  18.  
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    Josef Stalin, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Genocide does solve some problems.

    It is well thought out, you just made a wrong assumption.

    I didn't say that just the Americans were the only over consuming group of people (or peoples as you would pluralize), I just stated lets START with them.

    It would certainly remove a large group of those consumers.

     

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  19.  
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    Chuck D. Money, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Huh?

    Seriously? I thought the Gun nut Sarah Palin was equivalent to at least 2,000 Green nuts?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 10:50am

    Re: Think of the Children

    Same thought, but different...

    "Think of the trees!!! Won't someone please THINK OF THE TREES!!!"

     

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  21.  
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    Cipher-0, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 10:59am

    I think...

    ... the term 'Luddite' applies to Greenpeace in this case.

     

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  22.  
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    Juliette @ Greenpeace, Dec 17th, 2008 @ 7:24am

    Dont follow your reasoning...

    So, since a paper track would be worse, hackers should avoid the blame? Some idiots get paid to illegally change government data, which gives illegal loggers more transport permits. Even if the hackers don't cut the trees themselves, they can't avoid all the blame. They're helping a crime being committed.
    The idea that it could be worse if computers didn't exist is quite irrelevant: the fact is, they are there, and if they weren't hacked into, this planet would be a bit better off.
    I don't have anything against hackers in general, but getting paid to destroy the planet takes off some glory, don't you think?

    Juliette, from Greenpeace International

     

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  23.  
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    Andrew, Dec 18th, 2008 @ 3:05am

    good or evil

    Hacking is one of those things that can be done for good or for evil.

    In this case, it's the corruption that's the real story, and the hacking is a hook to get people interested.

     

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  24.  
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    Eire, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 8:28pm

    Re: Trees can grow back

    Trees can grow back???? These trees you so idly speak of are the foundation of an entire ecosystem! These "trees" have taken hundreds of years to grow! At the rate of deforestation we will run out of air and water before the trees grow back! Please do research before submitting "cowardly" remarks!

     

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