Another one got caught today; it’s all over the papers: “Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal,” “Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering.”
“Damn kids. They’re all alike.”
But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950’s techno brain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shape him, what may have molded him? We are different from other people, and those others cannot always accept this. We ourselves are not racists, or sexists, or idealists. We do not feel that other people will understand us. Those of us electronically gathered here are alike, but the real world we are so few and far between that we do not feel comfortable in normal society.
I am hacker; enter my world.... Mine is a world that begins with school. I’m smarter than most other people are; this crap they teach us bores me.
“Damn underachiever. They’re all alike.”
. We quickly grasp concepts, and, because of our manipulative nature, quickly see through those who are lying. They cannot deceive us. I’m in high school or college. I’ve listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to find a derivative. I understand it. “No, Ms. Smith, I didn’t show my work. I did it in my head...”
“Damn kid. Probably copied it. They’re all alike.”
I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second; this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it’s because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn’t like me, or feel threatened by me, or thinks I’m a smart-ass, or doesn’t like teaching and shouldn’t be here. There are systems to hack. In reality, we care about much more, but can’t very well affect it.
“Damn kid; all he does is play games. They’re all alike.”
And then it happened: a door opened to a world. Rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict’s veins; an electronic pulse is sent out; a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought; a board is found. “This is it... this is where I belong. I know everyone here... even if I’ve never met them, never talked to them, and may never hear from them again... I know you all....”
“Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They’re all alike.”
You bet your ass we’re all alike; we’ve been spoon-fed baby food at school when we’ve hungered for steak. The bits of meat that you did let slip through were prechewed and tasteless. We’ve been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few were like drops of water in the desert. This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if profiteering gluttons didn’t run it. And you call us criminals. We explore. And you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge. And you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias. And you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs; you wage wars; you murder, cheat, and lie to us, and try to make us believe it’s for our own good, yet we’re the criminals....
Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not by what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.
Dark visions, from an apathetic crowd.
And yet, we are not techno Goths, waiting for some distant, terrible, cyberdistopia. We have lives, and want to live. We are sick of hearing from a select few that we are “different.” To us, the young generation on the cusp of the next millennium, the young generation brought together by technology and in technology, the word “different” shouldn’t matter. We are all “different,” all abnormal... but it should have no impact.
Those of us on the brink of technology. They embody the Old World, driven by race and prior position in society. We laugh at them for being “different,’ because they refuse to be apathetic about difference. Why can’t they be different like us?
I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can’t stop us all... after all, we’re all alike.
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