Could Hackers Really Erase All Medical Debt and Student Loans?
The question has been being asked for a long time, can people erase the debt record and set everyone back to zero? This is even the main plot for the movie Fight Club and elaborated further in the television series Mr. Robot. But, if you consider how all of this data is actually stored, this is a scenario that is not very likely, and it is actually pretty impossible.
The exploit that was outlined specifically in the Mr. Robot T.V. Show but it would completely devastate the economy if they actually were able to pull it off. However, it wouldn’t even be remotely possible for something like this to happen because everyone’s information is stored across multiple servers, and not centralized in a single vulnerable location. Which is why Fight Club may be a little more believable because they targeted multiple locations. However in the Mr. Robot universe one lone company held over seventy percent of the world’s consumer credit information, but this is very far from how it actually works.
Megan McArdle from Bloomberg explains that, “Student loans are handled by other, different companies, Car loans. Mortgages. Each market brings new players, who all have their own records you need to wipe.” Right off the bat, this information that you’re going after is vastly spread between a variety of different organizations, and each of them have their own information that is being stored at a plethora of different locations, both offline and online.
Reported by Business Insider, “It’s also totally unrealistic that a corporation that owns that much of the world’s debt would store their data in only one or two server locations. E Corp stores everything at Steel Mountain, an enormous underground bunker that fscociety targets midway through the season. It’s modeled after the real-life Iron Mountain, which similarly stores huge amounts of sensitive information. Not even the best planned heist would stand a chance of infiltrating either location, especially in the world of “Mr Robot” where E Corp would have limitless resource to safeguard the facility.”
Not to mention the unplanned outcomes that would come from this type of hack . On top of wiping out everyone’s debt, a event like this would also wipe the slate clean of any kind of ownership in the world, if it was even possible. Which means that if you were to claim a house or a car it would legally be erased because there is now no statement of ownership. McArdle says that it wouldn’t be the corporations that wouldn foot the bill for this hack either, it would be the average citizen through higher taxes that would result of all the debt being erased. “Student loans are guaranteed by the government (and now usually made directly by the government). Guess who guarantees the government? That’s right, you Joe Taxpayer. Congratulations, your student loan just evaporated, and your tax bill just doubled.”
The argument on the other side of this is that it wouldn’t effect the poor working class too much because they don’t own any property to begin with, and find themselves in a very low tax bracket anyway.
You might think that you want to change the structure of these loans because of their predatory nature, but you have to stay informed and be kind of realistic of what people are actually capable of especially when it comes to hackers. We’ve been taught, through propaganda mostly, that hackers are capable of doing anything. But the real truth is that these networks who don’t have just one central location are not really capable of actually being hacked, not to mention you can’t hack good old fashioned ink on paper.