Any of today's problems can be solved with enough money, and therein is the problem. We can make wind and solar power affordable, but no one (person or corporation) is willing to invest the amount of money needed to get us there, because it is almost assured that the investor will never get back any significant part of their investment. That guy building the app in his spare time? His outlay cost is minimal to make that app.
That's the difference. I would love to join up with an alternative energy firm and put to use my knowledge of solar and wind power systems, but there just isn't the demand yet because no one is making the major investments into such things.
We are a monetary driven society, and the more money that can be made for the least amount of investment, the better off everyone is. Maybe not, but that's the reality of life today.
I do not think that anyone in the US Government is savvy enough to distinguish between a white hat and black hat hacker. They hear these terms and all they can think of is "ZOMG, a cyberterrorist with different colored hats!"
So, does this mean that all those online sales and auction patents are now going to be re-evaluated, you know, since sales and auctions have existed for at least a few years before the internet was around?