THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 511, March 22, 2009
"The Mother Of All Demos"
Digital Hall of Fame: Kevin Poulsen, Senior Editor, Wired.com
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
The digital world has introduced a new kind and level of threat to our personal privacy and civil liberties. Without Wired's Kevin Poulsen, we wouldn't know the half of it. Starting on the wrong side of the issue as a convicted and imprisoned computer hacker, Poulsen donned the white hat of digital security watchdog over a decade ago.
As a columnist for Ziff-Davis and eventual editor of SecurityFocus he became a leading authority on the labyrinthine world of hacking and information abuse. As the spirit and mind behind the popular and influential "Threat Level" blog, Poulsen has been responsible for some of the most important revelations about private and governmental abuse of the digital eco-system.
In 2007, his dogged use of the Freedom of Information Act revealed a frightening breach of security in U.S. border screening. In 2006 he uncovered more than 700 sex offenders openly profiled on MySpace, causing the social network to alter its own policies and conduct a massive sweep that revealed 29,000 offenders. Just last year, Poulsen reported on a breach of CitiBank ATMs by Russian hackers that cost customers more than $2 million.
In two and a half years of reporting at ThreatLevel, Poulsen has been a crusader for privacy rights and government and business transparency. His reporting has exposed consistently and responsibly the new complexities of information security in a digital eco-system and reminded us that policing this new frontier requires a newer, smarter, deeply critical kind of sheriff.