Frequent, high-profile hacks by the Free Syrian Army and their ilk are little more than momentary defacements, the modern equivalent of graffiti. The attacks on Target and Home Depot saw the theft of monumental amounts of customer and credit card information, but the inner workings of the companies remained as opaque as ever.

The Sony hack is something else entirely.

Even if not another byte is ever released, we’ve still been granted an unparalleled view inside the inner working of a vast corporation: Internship schemes, sexual harassment policies, the squabbling and fretting of executives—it’s all there, an immortal snapshot of how a billion-dollar company operates.

The closest comparison to the Sony hack isn’t the 2007 TJ Maxx attack, or the 2013 Adobe hack, it’s the WikiLeaks Cables—an explosive, unredacted look at a historically secretive industry, that will be still be read hundreds of years from now by historians and sociologists trying to understand the inner workings of power in our era.

In a recent issue of Harper’s Pulitzer Center grantee James Harkin examines how ISIS, the Islamic State, an outfit considered too bloodthirsty for even Al Qaeda’s tastes, managed to transform itself into something more like a government with its own territory—and with troops at the border of a NATO member state.

The key, says James, is that ISIS, in its own brutal fashion, is providing security and order. “After three years of a revolt that slid first into civil war and then into a regional free-for-all, Syrians of all stripes are retreating to places where there is some semblance of order. To many impoverished Sunni Muslims who simply want to live, the Islamic State is not a bad bet.”


Law Enforcement in a Free Society

Bob Murphy presents the amazing lecture ‘The Market for Security’ at the LvMI in 2011. This is an excerpt from the presentation.

Kattunaickan women processing rice.


The Nilgiri (literally Blue Mountains) are situated at the junction of the three States of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.  In 1986, UNESCO endorsed its declaration as first biosphere reserve of India. Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP) play an important role in the traditional livelihoods of tribal communities and, in particular, of the Kattunaickans (the “kings of the forest”) living in the buffer zone of Mudumalai National Park. This people use forest products for various purposes such as housing, firewood, medicine and food. Securing the livelihoods of forest-dependent people such as the Kattunaickans and conserving biodiversity requires good governance and sustainable management of forest resources. The main challenge they face, however, is to ensure territorial security and the legal recognition of their collective rights of ownership, use and control over customary land and resources.