The Free Flow of Information

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Researchers perform an essential function in modern society. Whether the researcher is working on a new Ebola vaccine, a way to save the bees, or a way to detect malware before it causes system damage, researchers perform the very necessary function of making human beings successful in our tenure on this Earth. They do so by proactively searching for knowledge, and, more importantly, they share this knowledge with other researchers, engineers of their field, or the public at large. This allows for a generally improved quality of life by way of more efficient and successful medicines, ways to curb the ever warming climate, or by preventing identity theft. The key part in this is that the information must be shared to be useful.

The Salk Polio vaccine has been, without a doubt, one of the most influential pieces of technology in modern memory. Polio was a epidemic of horriffic form. It mainly affects children, damaging the very ability of the species to continue on in their pursuits. While it still exists in the world, polio was brought to its knees by Jonas Salk. After producing the vaccine, Salk was asked who owned the patent. His reply would inspire a world of researchers and hackers to come: "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?" Salk's belief that this revolutionary and life-saving piece of research could better all of us. He believed that information should be freely available, and that it should do good for all.

A similar case happened with Volvo in the 1950s with the invention of the modern seatbelt. Volvo invented the seatbelt, patented it to protect from what we would later know as patent trolls, and opened the patent. This allowed other car manufacturers to incorporate the design to this seat belt into their own vehicles; this simple act would save countless lives over the years, and continues to do so today.

Ultimately, as hackers, as reasearchers, and as people in general we have a responsibility to take our knowledge and share it. To work for not only the good or betterment of ourselves, but the betterment of all mankind. If your sole worth is based on the precept that you have a piece of technology that can protect someone, save someone, or help someone in need and you keep that knowledge proprietary just for wealth you are a disgrace against all of mankind; a scourge whose information should be found, and released as widely as possible until your worth is null, and you are left with only the shameful memory of how when you were given a chance to help you thought only for yourself.

Especially in these tumultuous times where the very idea of fact is in danger, where government scientists are restricted from sharing information, and where news outlets are attacked for opposing regimes we, as keepers of information, have a responsibility to make sure that public information is never brushed away. We have a responsibility to retain information so it can never be lost, and we have a responsibility to ensure that information can never be a weapon used against mankind. As long as we keep thinking, as long as we keep knowing, and as long as we fight for the truths of the world in a sea of lies, humanity will never fail.

Die Gedanken sind frei; wer kann sie erraten?