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Anonymous Hacker Loses Internet, Finds Peace

Submitted by on September 10, 2012 – 2:47 pm2 Comments

Jake Davis, a hacker with the groups Anonymous and LulzSec who operated under the pseudonym Topiary, was arrested over a year ago, and has not been allowed on the internet since. It’s a fate that might make any average person sweat, and could cause a hacker to burst into tears. And while Davis may have felt that way once, he now says his enforced internet denial has given him an unexpected gift: serenity.

Writing in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Davis describes what his life has been like for the past year:

In a word, life is serene. I now find myself reading newspapers as though they weren’t ancient scrolls; entering real shops with real money in order to buy real products, and not wishing to Photoshop a cosmic being of unspeakable horror into every possible social situation. Nothing needs to be captioned or made into an elaborate joke to impress a citizenry whose every emotion is represented by a sequence of keystrokes.

In addition to rediscovering the outside, physical world (in Internet speak, you might say he became IRL all the time), Davis appears to have overcome some actual physiological problems caused by computer overuse:

It is not so much the sudden simplicity of daily life… but the feeling of being able to close my eyes without being bombarded with flashing shapes or constant buzzing sounds, which had occurred frequently since my early teens and could only be attributed to perpetual computer marathons. Sleep is now tranquil and uninterrupted and books seem far more interesting. The paranoia has certainly vanished.

Davis describes the overall experience as getting back his attention span, criticizing the “hashtag” world he now sees online, a sentiment we can all certainly relate to. But some of his observations seemed aimed at the most obsessive denizens of the deepest depths of the Internet, suggesting that they also might benefit from a break and some perspective:

It’s not my place to speculate on whether or not the hacker community should stop taking itself so seriously, but I certainly became entangled within it and had forgotten how easy it was simply to close a laptop lid.

I hope, then, that others in a similar situation may decide to take a short break from the web (perhaps just for a week) and see if similar effects are found. It can’t hurt to try.

What do you think?

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