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FBI Need Potheads To Fight Cybercrime 319

An anonymous reader writes "The rate of cybercrime is growing and growing, and law enforcement is struggling to keep up. The FBI is in the process of beefing up its headcount, but they're running into a problem: many of the hackers applying for these jobs have a history of marijuana use, and the agency has a zero tolerance policy. FBI Director James Comey said, 'I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview.' However, change may be on the horizon: Comey said the FBI is changing 'both our mindset and the way we do business.' He also encouraged job applications from former pot users despite the policy."
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FBI Need Potheads To Fight Cybercrime

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  • by TJ_Phazerhacki ( 520002 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @06:18PM (#47051439) Journal
    When Colorado passed the recreational Marijuana law last year, the AG stated that he expected to review employment-discrimination cases by the end of this year. It's going to be interesting when it comes to companies that do business in Colorado and other states, since current doctrine allows companies to have policies dependent on individual state laws, but I don't believe any of then conflict with national policy.

    Regardless of your stance on the morality of it, maybe we just start treating one drug (MJ) like another (Alcohol or Tobacco) from a legal perspective? Contrary to Mr. Christie, Denver is a fantastic place to live, and I genuinely believe the recreational industry has improved it even more.

  • Re:Drunk (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @07:28PM (#47052097)

    Really? Here is a study about the effects various recreational pharmaceuticals have on how spiders construct their webs:

    There is no picture for alcohol - probably because it would have killed the spider. However, Marijuana did far better than Caffeine. In fact, all the webs were far better than Caffeine except sleeping pills but that's only because the spider didn't get far enough to complete anything.

    I'm not suggesting the hyper-perfect structures of the tripping spider's webs means we should trip at work (or at all for that matter). What I am suggesting is that to a rational person, the legality of a substance isn't directly correlated with its effects on people making decisions in the work place. Caffeine seems to create a state of ADHD and that is the last person I'd want making complicated decisions such as network design, risk management, corporate strategy, company policy, etc.,... You know, things that need to be well planned, stable for long periods of time because they are not easily changed - things that require a commitment.

    One of the senior managers where I work is like this. Its amazing how much havoc her energy drinks cause on a daily basis. I know it's the Caffeine - she went cold turkey for a while and was drinking green tea instead. She was all of a sudden rational, could hold complicated thoughts could follow things through multiple cause/effect trees, etc.,... Then back on the Caffeine and she was once again like the scatter brained Caffeinated (redundant) spider.

    A cup of joe in the morning is one thing just like a single beer at lunch - probably not really an issue as far as job performance. However, with both Alcohol and Marijuana, someone doesn't cause MORE havoc the more they take. Instead, they pass out or space out. I'd much rather have someone produce nothing than produce pure chaos.

  • When I was much (decades) younger (and still smoked) I wrote code all of the time when high. In fact, it was one of life's pleasures -- the concentration focus was fantastic. And yes, the code was very complex, was thousands of lines long (when finished) and ran perfectly when I was done as far as I was ever able to tell.

    With that said, not everybody could do what I did and work effectively high. But I knew a fair number who could and did, and of course I knew a few who were useless when high. Of course, I knew a fair number or people who were useless coders stone cold straight. This isn't terribly surprising -- the world is full of functional alcoholics too. Pot is different from alcohol, though, in so many ways. Alcohol eventually puts you into a stupor, then kills you. Pot at worst puts you to sleep and has no known fatal dose. It is considerably safer than aspirin or caffeine -- the former you can easily overdose on or it can kill you outright with e.g. Reyes' Syndrome. Caffeine is lethal at doses somewhere between 2 and 20 grams (depending on your metabolism and weight) -- not easy to ingest in coffee, easy to ingest if you put a couple of spoonfuls of legal, over the counter caffeine powder onto your morning post toasties. Cigarettes, don't get me started -- a single cigarette can kill a small child if accidentally ingested, and nicotine makes a dandy insecticide even when highly diluted.

    In addition to being amazingly safe compared to almost anything humans consume outside of brocolli, pot is basically a non-prescription (openly illegal in many states) antidepressant. Lots of people who smoke (or drink, for that matter) are self-medicating or compensating for the fact that their lives suck for reasons utterly beyond their control. Is it a good medicine compared to SSRIs or other prescription medicines? I don't know. I do know that drug companies don't want you to have the choice. I do know from bitter experience that the law enforcement industry from police through the lawyers and the courts make a living from pot. I know that the biggest single risk for pot smokers isn't anything associated with pot itself -- it is being arrested, charged, jailed, forced to pay thousands of dollars for bail, forced to pay thousands more for lawyers, forced to pay fines and court costs, forced to endure probation, forced to pay for "rehabilitation". It is being fired, not being hired, not getting into college not because of your grades or intelligence (both of which can be just fine) but because of your "police record". And the penalties scale up enormously for the poor and stupid who often smoke weed because life as a janitor or store greeter or one of the dudes who has to put on a costume and wave at passing cars to get them to file their taxes or patronize a failing store sucks, but weed makes the menial and mindless jobs you can get a bit more tolerable without ruining your liver.

    If pot has a flaw as a recreational substance, it is that it can, by making a shitty situation tolerable, act as an ambition suck. Hamlet on pot:

    To be, or not to be: that is the question:
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them? Or just get high
    And suffer no more; and by suffer to say we end
    The head-ache of the thousand natural schlocks
    That life is heir to, 'tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wish'd. So don't bogart that joint,
    My friend, pass it on over to me...

    Sometimes, though, it really is better to take arms against the sea of troubles and by opposing end them. Pot can make it a bit too easy to suffer the slings and arrows and end up trapped in a life that consists of little else. Or not. Or it can do so for a while, and then people grow up. Ultimately, it ain't nobody's business but your own, and it certainly isn't a positive predictor of failure -- or success. Like anything, for some people (especially some of the me

  • by koreanbabykilla ( 305807 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:07PM (#47053505)

    failing a work drug test just means you are stupid in general. They cant watch you so using someone elses piss and some handwarmers works great. You can also buy THC test strips at the dollar store to calibrate drinking water till the weed line says no but the "is urine" line still says yes. Passing a drug test while using drugs is trivial.

  • Re: I call BS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @01:45AM (#47054001)

    Must be true. You are statistically significant.

    At a young age I learned to read beyond the words of humans. Frequently the ignorant will have valid points when they talk on subjects even if they are unable to speak on the pertinent issue with the nuance it requires.

    I wrote my first wireframe 3D game while stoned. I hadn't been taught trig yet so I invented vector math independently after discovering what you'd call the "unit circle" by drawing a radiant diagram of line slope ratios represented in decimal form; Ultimately I ended up creating the equivalent to sin(), cos() and dot() functions because I didn't know what those were useful for (seriously 'online' documentation sucks sans Internet). It was one of the most productive nights of my young life. I doubt I'd have come to the conclusions about connectedness between the mathematic properties in geometry with just a knowledge of linear equations, a glorified graphing calculator, and no mind expanding chemicals. The next school year I realized there was no such thing as Genius. I couldn't understand the reverence my teacher had for these dead dudes: If a stoned kid could discover in a single night much of what took Pythagoras decades to do when confronted with the same problem spaces, then maybe we're just teaching kids wrong... I digress.

    We do have a bit of research which found that downers are less common among Hackers. [] We typically don't like things that make us stupid or slow. Today's Marijuana is very potent compared to the 70's or even 90's, so many Hackers tend to shy away from what I would call an overdose (meaning above recommended, the term does not imply lethal). IMHO, a brownie shouldn't put you out of commission; Eat herbal confections responsibly. However, for those that Marry Jane doesn't dance with in 'detrimental' ways it's not uncommon to do some light buzzed hacking sometimes with surprisingly clever results (especially for harder problems). Indeed, after I woke the next afternoon I was refreshed and amazed at my output. I was only confounded by a single block of dense hand optimized code with only the comment, // Refactored symbiotic slope system to remove branching. Whether such "here be dragons" comments in code should be taken as quite literal statements or if they arise from the ceremonial chemistry itself is still a great mystery each code-fu master must overcome for themselves. Mine turned out to be matrix math sans matrix idiom.

    Think about it: Hackers like exploiting systems for interesting or clever results; Drugs are the tools we hack organic computers with... Well, that and tDCS, but the latter may blow your fuses before our stem-cell and replacements are ready. As with even alcohol, caffeine or self modifying instructions: Moderation is the key when dealing in any form of computer altering substance.

    Now reconsider the GP's post: Here is someone who has since the early 90's never heard of anyone enjoying recreational mind expanding chemicals in programming. However, when we polled Usenet via trial balloon that's not what we found at all among hackers. Consider that the corporate-clone workplace strongly filters against non-authoritarian approved drug use with the help of the state. The environment itself even hackers find somewhat hostile. Consider that many people sacrifice their pleasures if these are made to cause their livelihood risk. Consider that Hackers do have ways of defeating many unjust social systems such as these. Consider that we may be letting some great minds slip through the cracks for no other reason than a form of Orwellian thought control. Even consider that GP is posting AC and propagating anti-drug propaganda, just as we've seen since the 60's and 70's. With a bit of context even a seemingly dumb comment can stir up the probability matrix quite well. The trick is not to assume anything absolutely or concretely,

  • by BigDish ( 636009 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @03:56AM (#47054301) think tech companies drug test. I worked for MS for 5 years - I *NEVER* heard of an FTE there getting a drug test, even on hire. I never took one. I've since left and work for another tech company. Most of the owners (it's a ~30 person company) know I smoke, and I've smoked with some of them. I have friends at Apple, Google, and Amazon. Again, no drug tests.

    Tech companies basically can't drug test - they would have to fire 1/2 of their employees.

God made machine language; all the rest is the work of man.