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J-prof: Stop using ‘hacking’ as a blanket term

Discussion in 'Online Journalism' started by Turtle Wexler, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. Turtle Wexler

    Turtle Wexler Member

    From Romenesko today:


    So if we should "move beyond glib terminology to words that are more accurate and descriptive," what should some of those words be? For instance:

    -- How would you define what NOTW did with the phones?

    -- How would you define what <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/20/business/la-fi-hacker-arrests-20110720"> the group Anonymous did</a>?

    -- Should "hacking" be used only to describe when someone enters a protected system, or should it be more detailed/destructive than that? Should it only be used to describe destruction?

    -- What do we call the product of a hacking attempt? For example, the credit card data that may be obtained when someone accesses a site like PayPal.

    -- If we're supposed to use more technical terms, then we have to define them for the readers. Does that seem like more work when we could just use "hack" and be done with it?

    Just a topic for discussion ...
  2. But any incorrectly used word becomes widely accepted if you use it that way long enough. And I think the word hacking has turned into this catch-all phrase for people who don't know much about technology. We try to be very specific with terms when we cover the medical field, so why should't we be more careful with words in other fields, like tech?
  3. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    Unethical acquisition of private information?

    Those work for me, and they've been around for a long time.
  4. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Too late. There was a time when this would have been a great opportunity to prevent a precise term from becoming generic in common usage. But we are way, way past that. It's gone, can't get it back.

    My favorite was when someone "hacked" Sarah Palin's e-mail by answering her password recovery questions such as "What high school did you graduate from?"
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