Lifehacker, teaching people how to steal is not irony

Lifehacker is running a series of articles which together they describe as Evil Week and which pretty directly teach people how to take advantage of technology to steal. They know what they’re doing and claim to be acting ironically, but there are some people here desperately in need of training in ethics.

It’s Evil Week at Lifehacker, which means we’re looking into less-than-seemly methods for getting shit done. We like to think we’re shedding light on these tactics as a way to help you do the opposite, but if you are, in fact, evil, you might find this week unironically helpful. That’s up to you.

We seem to have a problem in Australia with where to draw the line between the larrikinism that’s so basic to our culture and acting like a lout or doing something fundamentally illegal. Ripping off a retailer or manipulating the self-service checkout at a supermarket is not ironic or cool – its petty theft. Just that.

The fact that there’s a bit of technology involved doesn’t change what it is. If you wouldn’t stuff a couple of apples in your bag and walk out of a store, why is it OK to not scan them at the check-out? Just because you can make a fake web page to get a retailer to price-match, is no reason to do it.

Now I know, I know that this makes me some sort of boring wowser who can’t see the joke. Yup, that’s right I’ll own to it. I spend a chunk of my week trying to get kids to act ethically in a world where doing the wrong thing (wrong for others or just even wrong for themselves) is all too tempting and easy. So I don’t see the funny side of someone running about harvesting hits by validating petty theft, or even just petty stupidity.

In some ways this is all even worse when it comes from a publication in the same stable as Gizmodo and Kotaku and so has reflected credibility. But ultimately it doesn’t matter who’s doing it – it’s not evil week with an ironic smile, it’s just a bit of petty evil.

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