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Premise

The world in which this takes place is a realistic world set in the year 2040 where technology has advanced beyond where we are currently, and the government has grown more corrupt. Most of the working class has just accepted the fact that the government is watching over them, and is okay with it, sacrificing their own freedom for increased security. There are a few people in the city that don't agree with it though. All but one stays silent and won't do anything about it in fear of retribution. The government isn't a democracy as we have today, but is a complex bureaucratic dictatorship in which the government gained the approval of the people through tricking them into thinking that this is what's best for the society in an environment of social complacency.

Protagonist

The protagonist's entire bloodline on his father’s side has had some history of disrupting technologies. He also was taught from a young age about hacking and taking apart computers and putting them back together. He doesn't know what he wants to do after he takes down the government, just that his goal is to take it down before the government takes control of the entire world and enslaves the world’s populations under the guise of safety.

Government

The government has been planning to do what they have done currently for many years, since the year 2025. They took advantage of the fact that most of the population, while okay with the fact that there was crime, ultimately wanted no crime. This was their first foothold into getting the entire country on board, they then started implementing the surveillance into major cities, where crime was abundant, so that they could get other cities on board with data that showed that the way they do things actually lowers crime, not just theoretically. After about 10 years of pushing to new cities, the last of the small cities gave in and accepted the government's plan. With this newfound access to everyone's data, they started to abuse their power behind the scenes. Getting people fired by leaking info anonymously to employers, selling private data to big businesses outside of the country to better target products to people living in it. Some people started to catch onto the government as they did this, and like any other corrupt government, they put the loudmouths down to make a point. Pretty soon everyone who opposed the idea quieted down and went into hiding as to not paint a target on their back.

EDIT The government is a single country, that has ambition to become a world order.

Plans

One plan is probably the most common and straight forward, which would be to get into the government’s network and start turning the computers "against" themselves. When I say "against", I mean getting them off the government network and setting up a secondary secure network just to get them out of the government’s control. Another plan is to sabotage some of the network stations in the city to get the government to come out to the site, then using force they gain their badges and clothing, and then infiltrates the site, taking out the dictator and putting an end to everything. If everything goes south and they needs a last ditch effort to take down everything, they have developed a worm that can bypass any form of firewall or security and start uploading files to cause a self-destruct of all the files relating to the program, including any backups.

Question

Given the size of the government, and the level of integration into society, would any of the plans listed have any chance of success?

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    $\begingroup$ @FrostStormwind Also there's some elements of Equilibrium (Christian Bale) in it, too. Either way, I think it can make a nice story. I would read it. Maybe elaborate more on his bloodline. Perhaps there's some kind of ancestral rivalry going on? Could make for quite an in depth story-line. (sorry, it's two comments in one) $\endgroup$ – Carlo Feb 28 '18 at 8:10
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    $\begingroup$ Are you sure you're using the word technocracy correctly? A technocracy is simply a system of governance where those in charge of different things are selected based on their expertise in the field in question. The European Union is often cited as one example of a government which is in large part technocratic. I think the government you're discussing is simply a surveillance state. A high-tech dictatorship is not the same thing as a technocracy. $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Feb 28 '18 at 10:10
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    $\begingroup$ There are currently 4 votes to close as "this is about a story in a world, not about building a world." My vote included. I don't see why this would require any further explanation, title of the question itself shows it is about actions of an individual. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 28 '18 at 10:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot The world is built, but it needs some extra rule to make that guy's plan work, somehow. If you and the others who voted feel like just enforcing rules without any judgement, how about rename the site: Orcs, Elves and Centaurs SE? The only reason I ever visit this site is the creativity. Creativity is best strangled with tight rules. $\endgroup$ – user9981 Feb 28 '18 at 17:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot I was reading through the "Why is my questions too story based" and, when I was writing it, I didn't have the intent to ask what the character should do, I was asking what the implications of him doing the actions would include and if they would be plausible in a real world scenario. Is that not what this is about? Making sure that everything in here can be backed by some form of real world evidence or can be feasible in the real world? $\endgroup$ – Frost Stormwind Feb 28 '18 at 17:38
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No (unless it's a Hollywood movie)

So why not? Let's take a look at each plan.

1. Subverting the network

While this might work initially, the government has the approval of the populace, meaning there is probably a department of motivated counter-hackers in place. Some of these will be genius-level patriots keen to make a name for themselves taking down an enemy of the state. Any hacks will be resisted, reserve networks brought online, compromised networks taken off grid, etc.

After some initial success, the serious crimes task force (FBI or CIA equivalent) will be tracking him down.

2. Assassinating the dictator

This might be successful, but it wouldn't make any difference in the long run because the government is a bureaucratic dictatorship. Due to this, the next person down the ladder will take over, security will be improved, and the government will continue on its merry and corrupt way.

If this had been a cult-of-personality dictatorship with a single strongman at the top, then there might have been long-term success.

3. Taking down everything

Again, this may succeed at first. Taking down the electronic monetary system will cause serious chaos, for example. However, governments are forced to resist terrorism or face collapse. In this situation, the government will probably teeter at the brink before the strong support by the people restores it to power by hardening themselves during the near-disaster and embracing whatever new system is put in place.

Like all terrorists, the protagonist will end up with a huge bounty on his head, and every government security force and mercenary out there will be after it. Real-life situations such as 9-11 make this quite clear.

Can the protagonist do anything worthwhile?

Well, the best bet is to target the competent but corrupt individuals in the government. Using his tech skills, he can investigate their serious foibles, expose them, and get them kicked out, then manipulate the system to get less competent but ambitious idiots to replace them. Over time, the government will become much less effective at running the country and hiding their corrupt practices.

Eventually, after years or decades, the government will lose popular support, then likely crackdown on any resistance from the people, leading to an environment ripe for an uprising.

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The great Isaac Asimov seemed to think it was possible.  He wrote many short stories featuring Multivac, the ultimate supercomputer that spans the globe — and more — and slowly acquires control over everything, encroaching on personal privacy and freedom.  In his story “The Life and Times of Multivac”, one man analyzes Multivac’s structure and finds a weak point.  Then he physically attacks that point, triggering the downfall of the machine.

Resources:

  • Wikipedia page
  • The story at AtariArchives.org

      This is a series of HTML pages that include a scanned image and an OCR (text) version.  Sometimes the scanned image is hard to read and the text version is helpful.  Other places the scanned image is easy to read and the text version is wrong.

      The story spans pages 111-116.  You can navigate the pages by clicking >> NEXT or by adjusting the URL.

  • The story at Wikispaces
    • This is a low-quality scanned image (only) PDF.
    • It appears to be scanned from a bound copy, yielding two facing paper pages per file page (e.g., pages 160 and 161 are page 2 of the file, and pages 164 and 165 are page 3 of the file).
    • So, as you can see, two pages are missing.
    • On at least one page (161), some of the characters at the right edge of the page are missing.
    • Pages 3 and 4 are rotated.
    • Oh, also, it appears that Wikispaces is shutting down — they don’t say when.
  • This page at the The Internet Speculative Fiction Database — I don’t know what good it is.
  • This page at Asimov Wiki — I don’t know what good it is.
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What would be the replacement system?

Your scenario proposes a way to disrupt the current system. However, it can only be considered "taken down" if it is replaced by something substantially different, so it's important to consider who and how would be ruling afterwards. In any society there are powerful individuals and groups that desire even more power, so they would be using it as their opportunity; and if the system is shaken, then every group/class/community that has some power, privileges and status (especially if they might be lost outside of the current system) would be immediately taking action to preserve their status quo.

The key problem is that your scenario as currently described wouldn't plausibly cause any meaningful changes in the relative power of the groups in charge.

Assassination of the dictator would likely result in someone from their inner circle taking charge, possibly with some small-scale infighting if there are competing factions. For example, look into death of Stalin or Mao. If the technocracy leadership has differing opinions, then this might mean that a different faction gains power, but it wouldn't mean any immediate major changes of policy.

Taking down many computing systems would cause a massive disruption and thus require extra coordination/cooperation throughout the society. This would favor (give power to) any organization that has a large number of coordinated representatives dispersed on-site. Depending on circumstances, this may be part of the government or the opposition - e.g. in places like USSR (and also your described system) the local bureaucracy would play this role, and thus would only entrench their power. But we can also see examples like trade unions e.g. Solidarnosc or church structures growing in power if they are capable of taking on the support role in a crisis like that.

Results like that may be good for the government

The more interesting observation is that in the circumstances you describe (a working class that's mostly well off and desires stability) such an attack would cause the masses to consolidate around the government and its goals. Far from taking it down, the described actions are in line with what such a government might intentionally arrange to strengthen itself, gain national unity, and get support from the masses to do whatever the government finds necessary.

It wouldn't be surprising for your protagonist to get supported by someone from the government. E.g. if someone from the inner circle controlling some branch of security forces would get to know about the plans, they might avoid hampering them and ensuring that the plot to assassinate the dictator succeeds, since that might get themselves in power.

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I think your Protagonists plan is very flawed, bringing down a government with hacking (in first world counties anyway) is hard very hard. Taking down the governments networks would hurt them but not cripple them, even killing the dictator would not do much (he would just be replaced) The best bet is for a revolution level event to take place maybe he takes down the networks that gives his compatriots an opening to take over the government or revels how corrupt they are to the public, even then it’s a tall order. just to point out that the Pentagon's digital assets get attacked 250,000 per year (most of them are failed attempts) so your Protagonists is far from the only one who have tried

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