Just before the July 4th holiday, YouTube blocked a user from uploading content onto a channel known as Null Byte, an ethical hacking channel.
The intended content had not yet been vetted by YouTube, but based on previous video titles, was assumed to contain information that would lead to harmful or criminal behavior.
Previous video titles included:
“Take Over Sonos Smart Speakers with Python” and “Steal User Credentials Stored in the Firefox Browser With a USB Rubber Ducky.” To that effect, it’s unsurprising that a content moderator flagged the posts.
However, the creator of these videos and his community of followers pointed out that this media is intended for educational purposes. The video’s was created by a co-founder of Hacker Interchange, an organization that teaches the fundamentals of computer science and cyber security to beginners.
According to the Verge, YouTube bans “instructional hacking and phishing” videos, but it permits videos depicting dangerous activities “if the primary purpose is educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic (ESDA).”
So, where does this controversial ethical hacking video fall? Ultimately, after an uproar on Twitter, YouTube chose to amend its previous decision, and to unblock the user.
The line between educational purposes and potentially harmful activities can become blurry after a certain point. Opinions surrounding the ethics of disseminating cyber hacking information vary widely.
Supporting YouTube’s stance on this particular cyber hacking oriented video, Slate Magazine writes “Certainly, there are risks to making videos publically available…But the risks of not publishing those videos are much greater.”
Get more on this story from Forbes.