There is a common misconception among the general public about what constitutes a hacker and what hacking is. Hacking is defined as 'gaining illegal entry into a computer system, with the intent to alter, steal, or destroy data.' The validity of this definition is still being debated, but most individuals would describe hacking as gaining access to information which should be free to all. Hackers generally follow some basic principles, and hold these principles as the 'ethical code.' There are also a few basic 'Hacker rules' that are usually viewed by all in this unique group.
The principles that hackers abide by are characteristic of most people who consider the themselves to be a hacker. The first, which is universally agreed upon is that access to computers should be free and unlimited. This is not meant to be a invasion of privacy issue, but rather free use of all computers and what they have to offer.
They also believe that anyone should be able to use all of a computers resource with no restrictions as to what may be accessed or viewed. This belief is controversial, it not only could infringe upon people's right to privacy, but give up trade secrets as well. A deep mistrust of authority, some hackers consider authority to be a constriction force. Not all hackers believe in this ethic, but generally authority represents something that would keep people from being able to have full access and/or free information.
Along with the 'ethical code' of hackers there are a few basic 'hacking rules' that are followed, sometimes even more closely then there own code. Keep a low profile, no one ever suspects the quite guy in the corner. If suspected, keep a lower profile. If accused, simply ignore. If caught, plead the 5th.