the last true hacker
The famed 'last true hacker' Richard Stallman is a champion of the belief of informational freedom (as are the Hacktivists). Stallman has become a champion of the free software initiative, pioneering the movement with the GNU General Public License, also known as Copyleft protection. Stallman gained a bit of notoriety when he rewrote the authentication software for the MIT Laboratory for Computer Sciences to heavily push a /null (i.e. no) password policy, as Stallman viewed any kind of restriction on information as a betrayal to the hacker spirit. Stallman himself states in the article "On Hacking" from his personal website:
It is hard to write a simple definition
of something as varied as hacking, but I think what these activities
have in common is playfulness, cleverness, and exploration. Thus,
hacking means exploring the limits of what is possible, in a spirit of
playful cleverness (Stallman, para. 8).
and that, "Hackers typically had little respect for the silly rules that administrators like to impose, so they looked for ways around" (Stallman, para. 9). This reflection by the 'last true hacker' emphasizes the innate curiosity, intelligence and creative ways to get around problems that help compose true hacking. Applied to computers, a white-hat, a 'true hacker', is thus a benign computer expert who enjoys using computers in ways not always intended. As passwords, security and the such present obvious intellectual hurdles that try dictate the proper use of a system, hackers naturally target these kinds of restrictions. A white-hat's actions though, are out of benign curiosity, not maliciousness, and they stay within legal boundries.