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Consider hacking a form of terrorism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/17/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 732 times Debate No: 49277
Debate Rounds (3)
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1. Cyber-warfare has been used multiple times in the pursuit of steeling government information.

2. Cyber-warfare hackers have been able to use hacking to destroy government computers.

Conclusion: We should consider computer hacking a form of terrorism.


1- According to The Freedom of Information Act, it states that it "generally provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information" There is not even a need for hacking when one can simply write a letter and request specific documents. Hacking cannot be considered a form of terrorism in the United States.

2- Hacking into computers shows flaws within government security. If people can hack into their system it shows that spyware needs to be improved. Different types of viruses create better protection against this in the future. People will be willing to put faith in government and any other companies knowing that there is more being done about hacking.

3- To be an act of terrorism, according to the FBI it have to "involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;" However, there have been no confirmed deaths directly related to cyber-warfare. "Many computer security experts do not believe that it is possible to use the Internet to inflict death on a large scale."

C- We should not consider computer hacking a form of terrorism.
Debate Round No. 1


The fact that the government security is hackable, doesn't really give any reason to why we should not consider hacking a form of terrorism. If anything, it shows we need better people protecting our cyber systems.

You are right to say that The Freedom of Information Act "generally provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information". But I would like to emphasize on the word "generally" . If you were to continue scrolling down your source, you will see that there are documents that are not disclosed. For example "classified national defense and foreign relations information".The disclosure of national defense information is defiantly something you would not want in the wrong hands.

This brings me to my next point. If the wrong set of people got their hands on military secrets (lets say nuclear launch codes), that would defiantly be an act of terrorism. like you stated "involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;". Clearly getting your hands on something like this is a bad thing, which can lead to terrorist attacks.

As the director of the FBI stated in 2012, hacking can be "potentially devastating" and "Terrorists have shown interest in pursuing hacking skills,". Terrorists are gearing up. The only way to stop them is to make hacking illegal and like you said before, create better servers to protect our secrets.


P1) If government computers are hackable it shows flaws within our system. These flaws need to be improved. If we have computer spyware is supposed to prevent these attacks, then why are they still happening. It should not be easy to gain access to such private information.

P2) You misread the source, there are some exclusions to what types of information you can get under this. Something like nuclear codes are obviously not something you would get under this act. My point being is that as a country and as citizens of this country we have a right to know what goes on in our governement and we have the right to documents the government has. Because we have this right there is no need for those to hack into our systems computers to obtain this information when it is accessible under FOIA.

P3) If hackers can get within our nuclear launch system then we deserve to be blown up. Point blank. What that sounds like to me is you're saying the government does not care enough to try and make something nuclear launch codes sensitive enough that someone can easily access through a computer, which seems highly implausible. Again, no one has ever died from cyber terrorism "no instance of anyone ever having been killed by a terrorist (or anyone else) using a computer. Nor is there compelling evidence that al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization has resorted to computers for any sort
of serious destructive activity." The real problem we should be focusing on, are living people who actually do kill people.

P4) In your NY times source, it says that hackers are an issue "because they pose a "potentially devastating" threat to the country"s businesses and infrastructure." They are not worried about attacks on themselves.

If you also continue reading down, it states that "Anonymous embarrassed the F.B.I. in February when it posted a 16-minute recording of a conference between the bureau and law enforcement officials in Europe about their joint investigation into the hackers." Of course they are going to be upset. Anonymous, the group of online hackers, expose what the government is doing wrong. Anonymous, because of hacking, found out that in 2011 a group of Chinese hackers who made cyber-attacks on the United States. They also took down a child pornography website AND protest led by the Westboro Baptist church. They even tried to go after Los Zetas, but when the drug cartel threatened to kill innocents, they withdrew from leaking the info. .
Debate Round No. 2


No matter how good the government computers are, there will always be an off chance of someone break in to their computers. The point of making hacking illegal would be a clear sign of deterrence, hopefully this would prevent people from not stealing government documents.

According to your own government source, all documents the FOIA gives is under the code of law and everything that is exempt falls under 9 exemptions. So trying to obtain that information should and is clearly illegal. Either you agree with your sources or you are saying you believe there is information our government is unlawfully withholding, and the only way we can get this information is by hacking.

If you were to read the New York Times articles, you would of saw that the first words that Mr.Muller is quoted to say, is how terrorist are showing an interest in hacking skills.

By saying "If hackers can get within our nuclear launch system then we deserve to be blown up." you are also basically saying we deserved 9/11, because TSA let hijackers slip through security. Hacking today is a whole new ball game of terrorism. In a world that keeps getting more technological savvy we need to defend ourselves at all fronts, and that means preventing hackers from getting their hands on vital information


Hacking IS illegal. So I'm not sure what point you're trying to make exactly. The debate is to consider hacking as terrorism and to penalize it as such. Making things illegal does not stop criminals from doing so.

There's no agreeing or disagreeing with a law (in some context). They are withholding information and we should be allowed to obtain from them - and by their own law, they should provide us with this information. If not - hacking is a solution so we can obtain this information.

Again, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make with your New York Times article. My point is that hacking is not bad and gave you Anonymous as an example. They do good. You are claiming that you want to make people who go good hacking as terrorists.

9/11 is a poor example of what you meant because 911 had absolutely nothing to do with computer hacking. Turning hacking into a form of terrorism is not going to stop people from getting the information they want. Getting more defense on digital information is a whole different argument and this should be done by the government. Just because we are getting more technologically advanced does not mean that it should be considered terrorism. When there is threat to human life that would be a different story. However there is not. So it should not be considered terrorism.
Debate Round No. 3
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