The freelance economy, a boon both to those unable to assemble Ikea furniture and corporate giants averse to employee benefits, will continue to grow in 2015, some predict. Enter Hacker’s List, the obvious upgrade in the so-called “movement” of extreme short-timers in our increasingly computerized society.

The New Zealand-registered website is a meeting place for those who need something “hacked” and will pay, and the hackers who are willing to do it, the New York Times reports. According to the NYT, more than 500 “jobs” have been posted since Hacker’s List launched in November. These range from a man offering $2,000 for someone to hack into his landlord’s website to a woman ready to pony up $500 to bust into her boyfriend’s Facebook and Gmail accounts. 

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Common sense dictates that once you’re willing to pay big bucks to find out if your lover is cheating, your bank account would be better served by dumping the chump … or at least spending that money on mental health care. As for the landlord’s computer—that’s between you, your hacker and the laws that govern your part of the planet. 

Hacker’s List operates in the gray area of legality, despite the blatantly illegal activities requested on the site. Similar to “sharing economy” sites such as Airbnb, payment is made through the site. Hacker’s List holds the money in escrow until the job is done. As the NYT reports, the founders “contend that they are insulated from any legal liability because they neither endorse nor condone illegal activities.” What’s more, there’s a 10-page terms and conditions disclaimer which forbids illegal activity. (Have a little cognitive dissonance with your cyber-espionage!)

The ultimate success of the site remains to be seen, though there seems to be a demand … or maybe just a lot of prurient interest. In the hours after the NYT story went live, the Hacker’s List website was inaccessible. Too many people trying to access the site could’ve caused a crash. Unless … it’s been hacked!

Lead image courtesy Warner Bros.

helen popkin

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