Hacking is NOT a Crime is a nonprofit organization advocating global policy reform to decriminalize hacking.

We raise awareness concerning the pejorative use of the terms "hacker" and "hacking" throughout social and political systems. Specifically, the stereotypes and narratives influencing public opinion and legislation that create a pretext for censorship, surveillance, and prosecution.

Hackers often refrain from publicly disclosing privacy violations and security vulnerabilities due to these potential consequences. This is creating an increasingly hostile digital frontier and power imbalance. Information wants to be free, but institutions benefiting from the status quo deem its public dissemination threatening and seek to control it.

We consider good-faith research and activism fundamental rights in promoting the tenets of free and equal societies. We collectively advocate the decriminalization of hacking to advance transparency and accountability from these institutions.


For decades media outlets, popular culture, and policy makers have used the term "hacker" in reference to unethical privacy and security enthusiasts. Because of privacy's and security's esoteric nature, and their profound impact on our lives, it's clear why the hacker persona is mischaracterized. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt tactics create sensationalist news narratives, profitable movie plots, and repressive legislation.

Contrary to this mischaracterization, being a hacker is an identity, lifestyle, and mindset. It is not a fashion statement or a movie character. A hacker is an inquisitive critical thinker who solves complex problems in an unorthodox manner. The means by which these are solved — be it social, financial, economic, political, technological, or otherwise — is "hacking".

There's a subtle distinction between ethics and legality that fall into four categories: ethical/legal, ethical/illegal, unethical/legal, and unethical/illegal. We do not under any circumstance condone or support unethical/legal or unethical/illegal acts. We do however, condone and support ethical/legal acts and seek to reform policies which criminalize ethical/illegal acts.

We therefore assert that all hackers are implicitly ethical. It is not just the motive by which our persona should be characterized, it is the intent by which it should be. Hacking therefore, should not be a crime because hacking is NOT a crime. It is an ethical endeavor of exploration and problem solving that must be decriminalized for the betterment of society.