Infosec community wants to remove from vocabulary terms like ‘blacklist’, ‘black hat’, ‘master’ and ‘slave’

Important players in the largest social media and technology companies are driving an initiative to replace any commonly used term that associates the word “black” with a negative connotation.

This began after David Kleidenmacher, Vice President of Google, decided to resign his participation as a speaker at the “Black Hat USA 2020” conference, which brings together the most prominent members of the cybersecurity and technology community. Kleidenmacher considers the use of the term “black hat” to be detrimental to the Afro-descendant community.

It should be remembered that, among computer security professionals and derivatives, the term “black hat hacker” is used to refer to experts involved in economically motivated or other cyberattacks. On the other hand, the term “white hat hacker” refers to those computer experts who act for security companies, research agencies for the prevention of cyberattacks.

This equation also involves “gray hat hackers”, who do not adhere to any ideology and act only for those who are willing to pay.

Through his Twitter account, Kleidenmacher points out that “this symbolism, which has its roots in the heroes and villains of films in the West, should have no use in the field of technology because of its unconscious bias”.

“Terms such as <<black hat>>, <<<white hat>, <<blacklist>>, <<whitelist>>, perpetuate harmful associations of the word <<black>>”, Kleidenmacher concludes, not least that this is a personal stance and does not represent a Google initiative, although other leadership in the world of cybersecurity and technology share a similar vision.

This is a relevant moment in the history of African-American communities, so public institutions, the media and other private companies have decided to rethink the use of some terms. A few days ago, Twitter announced that it would modify its programming language to stop using “blacklist”, replacing this with the term “denylist”.

In addition, this social network has drawn up a list of other terms that could be replaced in order to become a more inclusive space.