Generation C: "Hacker" Kids and the Innovation Nation presented at BSidesLasVegas 2016

by Andrea m. Matwyshyn,

Summary : Our society currently suffers from two moral panics - the fear of losing our global leadership in technology entrepreneurship, on the one hand, and our fear of internet criminality, on the other. Parents also face this set of moral panics in the context of their own kids. They want to give their kids the chance to become the next tech startup founder, but they simultaneously want to maximally protect their kids from internet harms and "dangerous hackers."
Because our technology policy and law do not currently recognize that kids' technology learning and tinkering sometimes blurs the lines between entrepreneurship and computer intrusion, we risk setting up our society's most tech-inclined kids to fail. It is precisely the most technologically-curious kids who are most likely to both generate the next generation ideas for tech entrepreneurship/ pursue careers in e.g. security AND accidentally run afoul of our (confused) computer intrusion laws.
The reasons we have ended up in this confused technology policy position rests in part because of three dynamics. The first is a disagreement among psychologists over developmental processes and technology. The second is the legal disconnect among the various legal regimes governing entrepreneurship, self-education, and technology tinkering. The third is a social devaluation of kids' ideas and entrepreneurship. This talk explores these three dynamics and makes a series of proposals for technology policy and legal reforms to improve the technology entrepreneurship "pipeline."