DOD support of student 'hackerspaces' meets resistance

With some high schools throughout the nation participating in Defense Department funded school programs designed to mimic hackerspaces, some members of existing organizations are objecting to the effort on the grounds that the military should stay out of the hacker realm, reports the New York Times.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has made available $10 million in grants over a three-year period for the establishment of school programs to help students develop hacker-like cyber skills, the story said.

Hackerspaces are community organizations where hackers come together to build, invent or take things apart. The objection to government funding of such efforts is that the military money might co-opt existing workshops and alter their purpose, which is to recruit engineers and computer scientists, the story said. 

“Magic comes from these places,” Peiter Zatko, a DARPA program manager, said in the story. His program has entered into 74 contracts, and about 40 fast-track projects have been completed.

Some have already spoken out against the government-funded effort to establish hackerspaces through the nation's school system.

“Having these programs in schools is fantastic, but the military calling the shots in American education?” Mitch Altman, a co-founder of Noisebridge, a San Francisco hackerspace, said in the story. "I don’t see that as a positive move,” said Altman, who was among the first to take a stand against the program.


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