Ex-Lulzsec Mastermind Reflects On A Life Without The Internet

In 2011 Lulzsec hacked into multiple major games publishers databases — stealing user info, and generally making rascals of themselves. During that period of activity, Jake “Topiary” Davis was arrested in the Shetland Isles, in the north of Scotland. Since then, after pleading guilty, Davis has been forbidden from using the internet. In this absolutely fascinating guest blog for The Guardian, Davis talks about how he's survived without the internet and how, in many ways, he feels as though it has made him a more fulfilled human being.

Things are calmer, slower and at times, I'll admit, more dull. I do very much miss the instant companionship of online life, the innocent chatroom palaver, and the ease with which circles with similar interests can be found. Of course, there are no search terms in real life – one actually has to search. However, there is something oddly endearing about being disconnected from the digital horde.

It is not so much the sudden simplicity of daily life – as you can imagine, trivial tasks have been made much more difficult – but the feeling of being able to close my eyes without being bombarded with flashing shapes or constant buzzing sounds, which had occurred frequently since my early teens and could only be attributed to perpetual computer marathons. Sleep is now tranquil and uninterrupted and books seem far more interesting. The paranoia has certainly vanished. I can only describe this sensation as the long-awaited renewal of a previously diminished attention span.

For it is our attention spans that have suffered the most. Our lives are compressed into short, advertisement-like bursts or "tweets". The constant stream of drivel fills page after page, eating away at our creativity. If hashtags were rice grains, do you know how many starving families we could feed? Neither do I – I can't Google it.

It's absolutely incredible. It's sharp, insightful and truly enlightening. I spent so much of my working an personal life on the internet, interacting with people, creating content, tweeting — hearing the viewpoint of a person so heavily involved in that lifestyle, who has since had to give it up, is just brilliant.

A must read.

My life after Anonymous: 'I feel more fulfilled without the internet' [The Guardian]


    I'm surprised that banning someone - even a hacker - from using the internet wasn't considered excessive. It's pretty hard to find many jobs where connectivity like that isn't important.

      yeah i was wondering if its "constitutional" but then what is now days. Still I think it says a lot about society as a whole. I often feel the need to "unplug" but cant resist sucking at the digital teat. :P

      Yeah, I think that in ten years or so not using the internet is going to take living in the woods 100 miles from civilization and dealing only in cash (or otherwise living off the land).

      I can see 10 years, even 20, but a lifetime without internet? Not only does that suck, it's going to be next to impossible.

      How would it get enforced?

        Move him to an area with terrible ISPs

          You mean they're going to start transporting their convicts to Australia again?


            Absolute A+, Would laugh again. And again and again. Infact every time I re-read it I do. Comment of the month :)

    Working in IT and having half the house connected to the internet it makes it hard to think of life without it. Whenever I take holidays I limit my connectivity and even take a complete 'No internet at all!' day just for the sake of having time away from it. (and spending half the day wanting to go and do something that would involve going online, then realising that I can't)

      Our family holidays are largely screen-free apart from geocaching. Board games, cards, darts, made-up games, and just being together as a family is usually enough.
      Time spent away from the screen helps emphasise the value of being away.

      But day-to-day, I probably spend way too much time online.

    He says this now, but 5 years from now he'll be hacking into government mainframes while a girl plays with his junk because John Travolta told him too. And in the end, it'll all be worth it because he will have gotten to see Halle Berry topless.

      Swordfish reference nice

        There is nothing nice about Swordfish.

    I can't wait to see what happens to whole areas when a solar flare big enough to do anything hits earth, causing a massive black out/ EMP. First world countries wont be able to operate effectively and third world countries will rise to the forefront. At least, that's the way it plays out in my mind.

      If third world countries are struggling now... then how will getting rid of technology make things better? Won't they just KEEP on struggling..?

      You didn't think that one through.

      Third world countries would suddenly lose nearly all donations and anyone living off charity would die, seeing as the banks could no longer transfer money in any kind of timely fashion...

      Third world countries would suddenly lose nearly all donations and anyone living off charity would die, seeing as the banks could no longer transfer money in any kind of timely fashion...

    Well, it looks like he learned to appreciate life outside of the Internet. Which is great, of course! I love the internet too, but it's a good idea to not lose yourself in it. It isn't a substitute for the world. No one thing should be pursued to the exclusion of everything else - not your job, not your hobbies, not your recreational activities. A good life is a balanced life.

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