Bruce Sterling

Literary Freeware:  Not for Commercial Use

                   THE HACKER CRACKDOWN

                Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier


     The story of the Hacker Crackdown, as we have
followed it thus far, has been technological, subcultural,
criminal and legal.  The story of the Civil Libertarians,
though it partakes of all those other aspects, is profoundly
and thoroughly *political.*

      In 1990, the obscure, long-simmering struggle over
the ownership and nature of cyberspace became loudly
and irretrievably public.  People from some of the oddest
corners of American society suddenly found themselves
public figures.   Some of these people found this situation
much more than they had ever bargained for.  They
backpedalled, and tried to retreat back to the mandarin
obscurity of their cozy subcultural niches.   This was
generally to prove a mistake.

     But the civil libertarians seized the day in 1990.
found themselves organizing, propagandizing, podium-
pounding, persuading, touring, negotiating, posing for
publicity photos, submitting to interviews, squinting in the
limelight as they tried a tentative, but growingly
sophisticated, buck-and-wing upon the public stage.

     It's not hard to see why the civil libertarians should
have this competitive advantage.

     The  hackers  of the digital underground are an
hermetic elite.  They find it hard to make any remotely
convincing case for their actions in front of the general
public.   Actually, hackers roundly despise the "ignorant"
public, and have never trusted the judgement of "the
system."  Hackers do propagandize, but only among
themselves, mostly in giddy, badly spelled manifestos of
class warfare, youth rebellion or naive techie utopianism.
Hackers must strut and boast in order to establish and
preserve their underground reputations.  But if they speak
out too loudly and publicly, they will break the fragile
surface-tension of the underground, and they will be
harrassed or arrested.   Over the longer term, most
hackers stumble, get busted, get betrayed, or simply give
up.   As a political force, the digital underground is

     The telcos, for their part, are an ivory tower under
protracted seige.  They have plenty of money with which to
push their calculated public image, but they waste much
energy and goodwill attacking one another with
slanderous and demeaning ad campaigns.   The telcos
have suffered at the hands of politicians, and, like hackers,
they don't trust the public's judgement.  And this distrust
may be well-founded.  Should the general public of the
high-tech 1990s come to understand its own best interests
in telecommunications, that might well pose a grave
threat to the specialized technical power and authority
that the telcos have relished for over a century.   The
telcos do have strong advantages: loyal employees, specialized
expertise,  influence in the halls of power, tactical allies
in law enforcement, and unbelievably vast amounts of
money.  But politically speaking, they lack genuine
grassroots support; they simply don't seem to have many

     Cops know a lot of things other people don't know.
But cops willingly reveal only those aspects of their
knowledge that they feel will meet their institutional
purposes and further public order.   Cops have respect,
they have responsibilities, they have power in the streets
and even power in the home, but cops don't do
particularly well in limelight.   When pressed, they will
step out in the public gaze to threaten bad-guys, or to
cajole prominent citizens, or perhaps to sternly lecture the
naive and misguided.   But then they go back within their
time-honored fortress of the station-house, the courtroom
and the rule-book.

     The electronic civil libertarians, however, have
proven to be born political animals.   They seemed to
grasp very early on the postmodern truism that
communication is power.   Publicity is power.  Soundbites
are power.  The ability to shove one's issue onto the public
agenda -- and *keep it there* -- is power.  Fame is power.
Simple personal fluency and eloquence can be power, if
you can somehow catch the public's eye and ear.

     The civil libertarians had no monopoly on "technical
power" -- though they all owned computers, most were not
particularly advanced computer experts.  They had a good
deal of money, but nowhere near the earthshaking wealth
and the galaxy of resources possessed by telcos or federal
agencies.   They had no ability to arrest people.   They
carried out no phreak and hacker covert dirty-tricks.

     But they really knew how to network.

     Unlike the other groups in this book, the civil
libertarians have operated very much in the open, more or
less right in the public hurly-burly.  They have lectured
audiences galore and talked to countless journalists, and
have learned to refine their spiels.   They've kept the
cameras clicking, kept those faxes humming, swapped
that email, run those photocopiers on overtime, licked
envelopes and spent small fortunes on airfare and long-
distance.  In an information society, this open, overt,
obvious activity has proven to be a profound advantage.

     In 1990, the civil libertarians of cyberspace
assembled out of nowhere in particular, at warp speed.
This "group" (actually, a networking gaggle of interested
parties which scarcely deserves even that loose term)  has
almost nothing in the way of formal organization.   Those
formal civil libertarian organizations which did take an
interest in cyberspace issues, mainly the Computer
Professionals for Social Responsibility and the American
Civil Liberties Union, were carried along by events in 1990,
and acted mostly as adjuncts, underwriters or launching-

     The civil libertarians nevertheless enjoyed the
greatest success of any of the groups in the Crackdown of
1990.  At this writing, their future looks rosy and the
political initiative is firmly in their hands.   This should
be kept in mind as we study the highly unlikely lives and
lifestyles of the people who actually made this happen.


     In June 1989, Apple Computer, Inc., of Cupertino,
California, had a problem.   Someone had illicitly copied a
small piece of Apple's proprietary software, software which
controlled an internal chip driving the Macintosh screen
display.   This Color QuickDraw source code was a closely
guarded piece of Apple's intellectual property.  Only
trusted Apple insiders were supposed to possess it.

     But the "NuPrometheus League" wanted things
otherwise.  This person (or persons) made several illicit
copies of this source code, perhaps as many as two dozen.
He (or she, or they)  then put those illicit floppy disks
into envelopes and mailed them to people all over America:
people in the computer industry who were associated with,
but not directly employed by, Apple Computer.

     The NuPrometheus caper was a complex, highly
ideological, and very hacker-like crime.  Prometheus, it
will be recalled, stole the fire of the Gods and gave this
potent gift to the general ranks of downtrodden mankind.
A similar god-in-the-manger attitude was implied for the
corporate elite of Apple Computer, while the "Nu"
Prometheus had himself cast in the role of rebel demigod.
The illicitly copied data was given away for free.

     The  new Prometheus, whoever he was, escaped the
fate of the ancient Greek Prometheus, who was chained to
a rock for centuries by the vengeful gods while an eagle
tore and ate his liver.   On the other hand, NuPrometheus
chickened out somewhat by comparison with his role
model.  The small chunk of Color QuickDraw code he had
filched and replicated was more or less useless to Apple's
industrial rivals (or, in fact, to anyone else).   Instead
of giving fire to mankind, it was more as if NuPrometheus
had photocopied the schematics for part of a Bic lighter.
The act was not a genuine work of industrial espionage.  It
was best interpreted as a symbolic, deliberate slap in the
face for the Apple corporate heirarchy.

     Apple's internal struggles were well-known in the
industry.  Apple's founders, Jobs and Wozniak, had both
taken their leave long since.  Their raucous core of senior
employees had been a barnstorming crew of 1960s
Californians, many of them markedly less than happy with
the new button-down multimillion dollar regime at Apple.
Many of the programmers and developers who had
invented the Macintosh model in the early 1980s had also
taken their leave of the company.  It was they, not the
current masters of Apple's corporate fate, who had
invented the stolen Color QuickDraw code.  The
NuPrometheus stunt was well-calculated to wound
company morale.

     Apple called the FBI.  The Bureau takes an interest in
high-profile intellectual-property theft cases, industrial
espionage and theft of trade secrets.   These were likely
the right people to call, and rumor has it that the entities
responsible were in fact discovered by the FBI, and then
quietly squelched by Apple management.  NuPrometheus
was never publicly charged with a crime, or prosecuted, or
jailed.  But there were no further illicit releases of
Macintosh internal software.  Eventually the painful issue
of NuPrometheus was allowed to fade.

     In the meantime, however, a large number of puzzled
bystanders found themselves entertaining surprise guests
from the FBI.

     One of these people was John Perry Barlow.    Barlow
is a most unusual man, difficult to describe in
conventional terms.   He is perhaps best known as a
songwriter for the Grateful Dead, for he composed lyrics
for "Hell in a Bucket,"  "Picasso Moon,"  "Mexicali Blues,"
"I Need a Miracle," and many more; he has been writing
for the band since 1970.

     Before we tackle the vexing question as to why a rock
lyricist should be interviewed by the FBI in a computer-
crime case, it might be well to say a word or two about the
Grateful Dead.   The Grateful Dead are perhaps the most
successful and long-lasting of the numerous cultural
emanations from the Haight-Ashbury district of San
Francisco, in the glory days of Movement politics and
lysergic transcendance.   The Grateful Dead are a nexus, a
veritable whirlwind, of  applique decals, psychedelic vans,
tie-dyed T-shirts, earth-color denim, frenzied dancing and
open and unashamed drug use.  The symbols, and the
realities, of Californian freak power surround the Grateful
Dead like knotted macrame.

     The Grateful Dead and their thousands of Deadhead
devotees are radical Bohemians.   This much is widely
understood.   Exactly what this implies in the 1990s is
rather more problematic.

     The Grateful Dead are among the world's most
popular and wealthy entertainers: number 20,  according
to *Forbes* magazine, right between M.C. Hammer and
Sean Connery.  In 1990, this jeans-clad group of purported
raffish outcasts earned seventeen million dollars.  They
have been earning sums much along this line for quite
some time now.

     And while the Dead are not investment bankers or
three-piece-suit tax specialists -- they are, in point of
hippie musicians -- this money has not been squandered
in senseless Bohemian excess.   The Dead have been
quietly active for many years, funding various worthy
activities in their  extensive and widespread cultural

     The Grateful Dead are not conventional players in
the American power establishment.  They nevertheless
are something of a force to be reckoned with.  They have a
lot of money and a lot of friends in many places, both
likely and unlikely.

     The Dead may be known for back-to-the-earth
environmentalist rhetoric, but this hardly makes them
anti-technological Luddites.  On the contrary, like most
rock musicians, the Grateful Dead have spent their entire
adult lives in the company of complex electronic
equipment.  They have funds to burn on any sophisticated
tool and toy that might happen to catch their fancy.   And
their fancy is quite extensive.

     The Deadhead community boasts any number of
recording engineers, lighting experts, rock video mavens,
electronic technicians of all descriptions.  And the drift
goes both ways.  Steve Wozniak, Apple's co-founder, used
to throw rock festivals.   Silicon Valley rocks out.

     These are the 1990s, not the 1960s.  Today, for a
surprising number of people all over America, the
supposed dividing line between Bohemian and technician
simply no longer exists.  People of this sort may have a set
of windchimes and a dog with a knotted kerchief 'round its
neck, but they're also quite likely to own a multimegabyte
Macintosh running MIDI synthesizer software and trippy
fractal simulations.   These days, even Timothy Leary
himself, prophet of LSD, does virtual-reality computer-
graphics demos in his lecture tours.

     John Perry Barlow is not a member of the Grateful
Dead.  He is, however, a ranking Deadhead.

     Barlow describes himself as a "techno-crank."   A
vague term like "social activist" might not be far from the
mark, either.  But Barlow might be better described as a
"poet" -- if one keeps in mind  Percy Shelley's archaic
definition of poets as "unacknowledged legislators of the

     Barlow once made a stab at acknowledged legislator
status.  In 1987, he narrowly missed the Republican
nomination for a seat in the Wyoming State Senate.
Barlow is a Wyoming native, the third-generation scion of
a well-to-do cattle-ranching family.   He is in his early
forties, married and the father of three daughters.

     Barlow is not much troubled by other people's narrow
notions of consistency.  In the late 1980s, this Republican
rock lyricist cattle rancher sold his ranch and became a
computer telecommunications devotee.

     The free-spirited Barlow made this transition with
ease.  He genuinely enjoyed computers.   With a beep of
his modem, he leapt from small-town Pinedale, Wyoming,
into electronic contact with a large and lively crowd of
bright, inventive, technological sophisticates from all over
the world.   Barlow found the social milieu of computing
attractive: its fast-lane pace, its blue-sky rhetoric, its
endedness.   Barlow began dabbling in computer
journalism, with marked success, as he was a quick study,
and both shrewd and eloquent.  He frequently travelled to
San Francisco to network with Deadhead friends.  There
Barlow made extensive contacts throughout the
Californian computer community, including friendships
among the wilder spirits at Apple.

     In May 1990, Barlow received a visit from a local
Wyoming agent of the FBI.  The NuPrometheus case had
reached Wyoming.

     Barlow was troubled to find himself under
investigation in an area of his interests once quite free of
federal attention.   He had to struggle to explain the very
nature of computer-crime to a headscratching local FBI
man who specialized in cattle-rustling.   Barlow, chatting
helpfully and demonstrating the wonders of his modem to
the puzzled fed, was alarmed to find all "hackers"
generally under FBI suspicion as an evil influence in the
electronic community.   The FBI, in pursuit of a hacker
called "NuPrometheus," were tracing attendees of a
suspect group called the Hackers Conference.

     The Hackers Conference, which had been started in
1984,  was a yearly Californian meeting of digital pioneers
and enthusiasts.  The hackers of the Hackers Conference
had little if anything to do with the hackers of the digital
underground.   On the contrary, the hackers of this
conference were mostly well-to-do Californian high-tech
CEOs, consultants, journalists and entrepreneurs.   (This
group of hackers were the exact sort of "hackers" most
likely to react with militant fury at any criminal
degradation of the term "hacker.")

     Barlow, though he was not arrested or accused of a
crime, and though his computer had certainly not gone
out the door, was very troubled by this anomaly.  He
carried the word to the Well.

      Like the Hackers Conference,  "the Well" was an
emanation of the Point Foundation.   Point Foundation,
the inspiration of a wealthy Californian 60s radical named
Stewart Brand, was to be a major launch-pad of the civil
libertarian effort.

     Point Foundation's cultural efforts, like those of
fellow Bay Area Californians the Grateful Dead, were
multifaceted and multitudinous.  Rigid ideological
consistency had never been a strong suit of the *Whole
Earth Catalog.*   This Point publication had enjoyed a
strong vogue during the late 60s and early 70s, when it
offered hundreds of practical (and not so practical) tips on
communitarian living, environmentalism, and getting
back-to-the-land.   The *Whole Earth Catalog,* and its
sequels, sold two and half million copies and won a
National Book Award.

     With the slow collapse of American radical dissent,
the *Whole Earth Catalog* had slipped to a more modest
corner of the cultural radar; but in its magazine
incarnation, *CoEvolution Quarterly,*  the Point
Foundation continued to offer a magpie potpourri of
"access to tools and ideas."

     *CoEvolution Quarterly,*  which started in 1974, was
never a widely popular magazine.  Despite periodic
outbreaks of millenarian fervor, *CoEvolution Quarterly*
failed to revolutionize Western civilization and replace
leaden centuries of history with bright new Californian
paradigms.  Instead, this propaganda arm of Point
Foundation cakewalked a fine line between impressive
brilliance and New Age flakiness.  *CoEvolution
Quarterly*  carried no advertising, cost a lot, and came out
on cheap newsprint with modest black-and-white
graphics.  It was poorly distributed, and spread mostly by
subscription and word of mouth.

     It could not seem to grow beyond 30,000 subscribers.
And yet -- it never seemed to shrink much, either.  Year in,
year out, decade in, decade out, some strange
demographic minority accreted to support the magazine.
The enthusiastic readership did not seem to have much in
the way of coherent politics or  ideals.  It was sometimes
hard to understand what held them together (if the often
bitter debate in the letter-columns could be described as

     But if the magazine did not flourish, it was resilient;
got by.  Then, in 1984, the birth-year of the Macintosh
computer, *CoEvolution Quarterly* suddenly hit the
rapids.  Point Foundation had discovered the computer
revolution.  Out came the *Whole Earth Software Catalog*
of 1984,  arousing headscratching doubts among the tie-
dyed faithful, and rabid enthusiasm among the nascent
"cyberpunk" milieu, present company included.  Point
Foundation started its yearly Hackers Conference, and
began to take an extensive interest in the strange new
possibilities of digital counterculture.  *CoEvolution
Quarterly* folded its teepee, replaced by *Whole Earth
Software Review*  and eventually by *Whole Earth
Review*  (the magazine's present incarnation, currently
under the editorship of virtual-reality maven Howard

     1985 saw the birth of the "WELL" -- the "Whole Earth
'Lectronic Link."  The Well was Point Foundation's
bulletin board system.

     As boards went, the Well was an anomaly from the
beginning, and remained one.   It was local to San
Francisco.  It was huge, with multiple phonelines and
enormous files of commentary.  Its complex UNIX-based
software might be most charitably described as "user-
opaque."  It was run on a mainframe out of the rambling
offices of a non-profit cultural foundation in Sausalito.
And it was crammed with fans of the Grateful Dead.

     Though the Well was peopled by chattering hipsters
of the Bay Area counterculture, it was by no means a
"digital underground" board.   Teenagers were fairly
scarce; most Well users (known as "Wellbeings") were
thirty- and forty-something Baby Boomers.   They tended
to work in the information industry: hardware, software,
telecommunications, media, entertainment.  Librarians,
academics, and journalists were especially common on
the Well, attracted by Point Foundation's open-handed
distribution of "tools and ideas."

     There were no anarchy files on the Well, scarcely a
dropped hint about access codes or credit-card theft.   No
one used handles.  Vicious "flame-wars" were held to a
comparatively civilized rumble.   Debates were sometimes
sharp, but no Wellbeing ever claimed that a rival had
disconnected his phone, trashed his house, or posted his
credit card numbers.

     The Well grew slowly as the 1980s advanced.  It
charged a modest sum for access and storage, and lost
money for years -- but not enough to hamper the Point
Foundation, which was nonprofit anyway.   By 1990, the
Well had about five thousand users.  These users
wandered about a gigantic cyberspace smorgasbord of
"Conferences", each conference itself consisting of a
welter of "topics," each topic containing dozens,
sometimes hundreds of comments, in a tumbling,
multiperson debate that could last for months or years on

     In 1991, the Well's list of conferences looked like

                      CONFERENCES ON THE WELL

                    WELL "Screenzine" Digest    (g zine)

                    Best of the WELL - vintage material -
(g best)

 Index listing of new topics in all conferences -  (g

                        Business - Education

Apple Library Users Group(g alug)      Agriculture  (g agri)
Brainstorming          (g brain)             Classifieds
(g cla)
Computer Journalism    (g cj)  Consultants       (g consult)
Consumers              (g cons)                Design
(g design)
Desktop Publishing     (g desk)  Disability        (g
Education              (g ed)                Energy
(g energy91)
Entrepreneurs   (g entre)               Homeowners        (g
Indexing        (g indexing)     Investments       (g
Kids91                 (g kids)                    Legal
(g legal)
One Person Business    (g one)
Periodical/newsletter(g per)
Telecomm Law           (g tcl)               The Future
(g fut)
Translators            (g trans)               Travel
(g tra)
Work                   (g work)

                Electronic Frontier Foundation    (g eff)
                Computers, Freedom & Privacy      (g cfp)
  Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility  (g cpsr)

                   Social - Political - Humanities

Aging                  (g gray)                      AIDS
(g aids)
Amnesty International  (g amnesty)     Archives          (g
Berkeley               (g berk)     Buddhist          (g
Christian              (g cross)                  Couples
(g couples)
Current Events         (g curr)        Dreams            (g
Drugs                  (g dru)                       East
Coast        (g east)
Emotional Health****   (g private)      Erotica           (g
Environment            (g env)     Firearms          (g
First Amendment (g first)    Fringes of Reason (g fringes)
Gay                    (g gay)              Gay (Private)#
(g gaypriv)
Geography              (g geo)             German
(g german)
Gulf War               (g gulf)                    Hawaii
(g aloha)
Health                 (g heal)                     History
(g hist)
Holistic               (g holi)
Interview         (g inter)
Italian                (g ital)                      Jewish
(g jew)
Liberty                (g liberty)                Mind
(g mind)
Miscellaneous          (g misc) Men on the WELL** (g mow)
Network Integration    (g origin)         Nonprofits
(g non)
North Bay              (g north)                 Northwest
(g nw)
Pacific Rim            (g pacrim)             Parenting
(g par)
Peace                  (g pea)                     Peninsula
(g pen)
Poetry                 (g poetry)                Philosophy
(g phi)
Politics               (g pol)
Psychology        (g psy)
Psychotherapy   (g therapy)  Recovery##        (g recovery)
San Francisco          (g sanfran)           Scams
(g scam)
Sexuality              (g sex)                    Singles
(g singles)
Southern               (g south)                Spanish
(g spanish)
Spirituality           (g spirit)               Tibet
(g tibet)
Transportation  (g transport)      True Confessions  (g tru)
Unclear (g unclear)   WELL Writer's Workshop***(g www)
Whole Earth (g we)           Women on the WELL*(g wow)
Words                  (g words)                 Writers
(g wri)

**** Private Conference - mail wooly for entry
***Private conference - mail sonia for entry
** Private conference - mail flash for entry
*  Private conference - mail reva for entry
#  Private Conference - mail hudu for entry
## Private Conference - mail dhawk for entry

                  Arts - Recreation - Entertainment
ArtCom Electronic Net  (g acen)
Audio-Videophilia (g aud)
Bicycles               (g bike)                  Bay Area
Tonight**(g bat)
Boating                (g wet)                  Books
(g books)
CD's                   (g cd)                        Comics
(g comics)
Cooking                (g cook)                 Flying
(g flying)
Fun                    (g fun)                     Games
(g games)
Gardening              (g gard)               Kids
(g kids)
Nightowls*             (g owl)              Jokes
(g jokes)
MIDI                   (g midi)                   Movies
(g movies)
Motorcycling           (g ride)              Motoring
(g car)
Music                  (g mus)                  On Stage
(g onstage)
Pets                   (g pets)                  Radio
(g rad)
Restaurant             (g rest)              Science Fiction
(g sf)
Sports                 (g spo)                  Star Trek
(g trek)
Television             (g tv)                  Theater
(g theater)
Weird                  (g weird)
Zines/Factsheet Five(g f5)
* Open from midnight to 6am
** Updated daily

                             Grateful Dead
Grateful Dead          (g gd)          Deadplan*         (g
Deadlit                (g deadlit)       Feedback
(g feedback)
GD Hour                (g gdh)            Tapes
(g tapes)
Tickets                (g tix)              Tours
(g tours)

* Private conference - mail tnf for entry

AI/Forth/Realtime      (g realtime)    Amiga             (g
Apple                  (g app)       Computer Books    (g
Art & Graphics         (g gra)                Hacking
(g hack)
HyperCard              (g hype)                IBM PC
(g ibm)
LANs                   (g lan)                      Laptop
(g lap)
Macintosh              (g mac)    Mactech           (g
Microtimes   (g microx)            Muchomedia        (g
NeXt                   (g next)                     OS/2
(g os2)
Printers               (g print)
Programmer's Net  (g net)
Siggraph               (g siggraph)           Software
Design   (g sdc)
Software/Programming (software)
Software Support  (g ssc)
Unix                   (g unix)                     Windows
(g windows)
Word Processing        (g word)

                        Technical - Communications
Bioinfo                (g bioinfo)           Info
(g boing)
Media                  (g media)             NAPLPS
(g naplps)
Netweaver              (g netweaver)   Networld (g networld)
Packet Radio           (g packet)         Photography
(g pho)
Radio                  (g rad)                  Science
(g science)
Technical Writers   (g tec) Telecommunications(g tele)
Usenet                 (g usenet)           Video
(g vid)
Virtual Reality        (g vr)

                              The WELL Itself
Deeper                 (g deeper)           Entry
(g ent)
General                (g gentech)         Help
(g help)
Hosts                  (g hosts)              Policy
(g policy)
System News            (g news)        Test
(g test)

        The list itself is dazzling, bringing to the
eye a dizzying impression of a bizarre milieu of mountain-
climbing Hawaiian holistic photographers trading true-life
confessions with bisexual word-processing Tibetans.

     But this confusion is more apparent than real.  Each
of these conferences was a little cyberspace world in
comprising dozens and perhaps hundreds of sub-topics.
Each conference was commonly frequented by a fairly
small, fairly like-minded community of perhaps a few
dozen people.   It was  humanly impossible to encompass
the entire Well (especially since access to the Well's
mainframe computer was billed by the hour).  Most long-
time users contented themselves with a few favorite
topical neighborhoods, with the occasional foray
elsewhere for a taste of exotica.   But especially important
news items, and hot topical debates, could catch the
attention of the entire Well community.

     Like any community, the Well had its celebrities, and
John Perry Barlow, the silver-tongued and silver-
modemed lyricist of the Grateful Dead, ranked
prominently among them.  It was here on the Well that
Barlow posted his true-life tale of computer-crime
encounter with the FBI.

     The story, as might be expected, created a great stir.
The Well was already primed for hacker controversy.  In
December 1989, *Harper's* magazine had hosted a
debate on the Well about the ethics of illicit computer
intrusion.   While over forty various computer-mavens
took part,  Barlow proved a star in the debate.   So did
"Acid Phreak" and "Phiber Optik," a pair of young New
York hacker-phreaks whose skills at telco switching-station
intrusion were matched only by their apparently limitless
hunger for fame.   The advent of these two boldly
swaggering outlaws in the precincts of the Well created a
sensation akin to that of Black Panthers at a cocktail party
for the radically chic.

     Phiber Optik in particular was to seize the day in
A devotee of the *2600* circle and stalwart of the New York
hackers' group "Masters of Deception,"  Phiber Optik was
a splendid exemplar of the computer intruder as
committed dissident.   The eighteen-year-old Optik, a
high-school dropout and part-time computer repairman,
was young, smart, and ruthlessly obsessive, a sharp-
dressing, sharp-talking digital dude who was utterly and
airily contemptuous of anyone's rules but his own.    By
late 1991, Phiber Optik had appeared in *Harper's,*
*Esquire,*  *The New York Times,* in countless public
debates and conventions, even on a television show
hosted by Geraldo Rivera.

     Treated with gingerly respect by Barlow and other
Well mavens,   Phiber Optik swiftly became a Well
celebrity.   Strangely, despite his thorny attitude and
single-mindedness, Phiber Optik seemed to arouse strong
protective instincts in most of the people who met him.
He was great copy for journalists, always fearlessly ready
to swagger, and, better yet, to actually *demonstrate*
some off-the-wall digital stunt.   He was a born media

     Even cops seemed to recognize that there was
something peculiarly unworldly and uncriminal about this
particular troublemaker.   He was so bold, so flagrant, so
young, and so obviously doomed, that even those who
strongly disapproved of his actions grew anxious for his
welfare, and began to flutter about him as if he were an
endangered seal pup.

     In January 24, 1990 (nine days after the Martin Luther
King Day Crash), Phiber Optik, Acid Phreak, and a third
NYC scofflaw named Scorpion were raided by the Secret
Service.   Their computers went out the door, along with
the usual blizzard of papers, notebooks, compact disks,
answering machines, Sony Walkmans, etc.  Both Acid
Phreak and Phiber Optik were accused of having caused
the Crash.

     The mills of justice ground slowly.  The case
eventually fell into the hands of the New York State Police.
Phiber had lost his machinery in the raid,  but there were
no charges  filed against him for over a year.   His
predicament was extensively publicized on the Well,
where it caused much resentment for police tactics.  It's
one thing to merely hear about a hacker raided or busted;
it's another to see the police attacking someone you've
come to know personally, and who has explained his
motives at length.   Through the *Harper's* debate on the
Well, it had become clear to the Wellbeings that Phiber
Optik was not in fact going to "hurt anything."   In their
own salad days, many Wellbeings had tasted tear-gas in
pitched street-battles with police.  They were inclined to
indulgence for acts of civil disobedience.

     Wellbeings were also startled to learn of the
draconian thoroughness of a typical hacker search-and-
seizure.   It took no great stretch of imagination for them
envision themselves suffering much the same treatment.

     As early as January 1990, sentiment on the Well had
already begun to sour, and people had begun to grumble
that "hackers" were getting a raw deal from the ham-
handed powers-that-be.   The resultant issue of *Harper's*
magazine posed the question as to whether computer-
intrusion was a "crime" at all.   As Barlow put it later:
begun to wonder if we wouldn't also regard spelunkers as
desperate criminals if AT&T owned all the caves."

     In February 1991, more than a year after the raid on
his home, Phiber Optik was finally arrested, and was
charged with first-degree Computer Tampering and
Computer Trespass, New York state offenses.   He was also
charged with a theft-of-service misdemeanor, involving a
complex free-call scam to a 900 number.  Phiber Optik
pled guilty to the misdemeanor charge, and was
sentenced to  35 hours of community service.

     This passing harassment from the unfathomable
world of straight people seemed to bother Optik himself
little if at all.  Deprived of his computer by the  January
search-and-seizure, he simply bought himself a portable
computer so the cops could no longer monitor the phone
where he lived with his Mom, and he went right on with his
depredations, sometimes on live radio or in front of
television cameras.

     The crackdown raid may have done little to dissuade
Phiber Optik, but its  galling affect on the Wellbeings was
profound.  As 1990 rolled on, the slings and arrows
mounted:  the Knight Lightning raid, the Steve Jackson
raid, the nation-spanning Operation Sundevil.   The
rhetoric of law enforcement made it clear that there was,
in fact, a concerted crackdown on hackers in progress.

     The hackers of the Hackers Conference, the
Wellbeings, and their ilk, did not really mind the
occasional public misapprehension of "hacking"; if
anything, this membrane of differentiation from straight
society made the "computer community" feel different,
smarter, better.   They had never before been confronted,
however, by a concerted vilification campaign.

     Barlow's central role in the counter-struggle was one
of the major anomalies of 1990.   Journalists investigating
the controversy often stumbled over the truth about
Barlow, but they commonly dusted themselves off and
hurried on as if nothing had happened.   It was as if it
*too much to believe*  that a  1960s freak from the Grateful
Dead had taken on a federal law enforcement operation
head-to-head and *actually seemed to be winning!*

     Barlow had no easily detectable power-base for a
political struggle of this kind.  He had no formal legal or
technical credentials.   Barlow was, however, a computer
networker of truly stellar brilliance.   He had a poet's
gift of
concise, colorful phrasing.  He also had a journalist's
shrewdness, an off-the-wall, self-deprecating wit, and a
phenomenal wealth of simple personal charm.

     The kind of influence Barlow possessed is fairly
common currency in literary, artistic, or musical circles.
gifted critic can wield great artistic influence simply
through defining the temper of the times,  by coining the
catch-phrases and the terms of debate that become the
common currency of the period.  (And as it happened,
Barlow *was*  a part-time art critic, with a special
for the Western art of Frederic Remington.)

     Barlow was the first  commentator to adopt William
Gibson's striking science-fictional term "cyberspace" as a
synonym for the present-day nexus of computer and
telecommunications networks.   Barlow was insistent that
cyberspace should be regarded as a  qualitatively new
world, a "frontier."   According to Barlow, the world of
electronic communications, now made visible through the
computer screen, could no longer be usefully regarded as
just a tangle of high-tech wiring.  Instead, it had become a
*place,*   cyberspace, which demanded a new set of
metaphors, a new set of rules and behaviors.  The term, as
Barlow employed it, struck a useful chord, and this
concept of cyberspace was picked up by *Time,*
*Scientific American,*  computer police, hackers, and
even Constitutional scholars.   "Cyberspace" now seems
likely to become a permanent fixture of the language.

     Barlow was very striking in person: a tall, craggy-
faced, bearded, deep-voiced Wyomingan in a dashing
Western ensemble of jeans, jacket, cowboy boots, a
knotted throat-kerchief and an ever-present Grateful
Dead cloisonne lapel pin.

     Armed with a modem, however, Barlow was truly in
his element.  Formal hierarchies were not Barlow's strong
suit; he rarely missed a chance to belittle the "large
organizations and their drones," with their uptight,
institutional mindset.   Barlow was very much of the free-
spirit persuasion, deeply unimpressed by brass-hats and
jacks-in-office.  But when it came to the digital grapevine,
Barlow was a cyberspace ad-hocrat par excellence.

     There was not a mighty army of Barlows.  There was
only one Barlow, and he was a fairly anomolous individual.
However, the situation only seemed to *require*  a single
Barlow.   In fact, after 1990, many people must have
concluded that a single Barlow was far more than they'd
ever bargained for.

     Barlow's  querulous mini-essay about his encounter
with the FBI struck a strong chord on the Well.   A number
of other free spirits on the fringes of Apple Computing had
come under suspicion, and they liked it not one whit better
than he did.

     One of these was Mitchell Kapor, the co-inventor of
the spreadsheet program "Lotus 1-2-3" and the founder of
Lotus Development Corporation.   Kapor had written-off
the passing indignity of being fingerprinted down at his
own local Boston FBI headquarters, but Barlow's post
made the full national scope of the FBI's dragnet clear to
Kapor.   The issue now had Kapor's full attention.   As the
Secret Service swung into anti-hacker operation
nationwide in 1990, Kapor watched every move with deep
skepticism and growing alarm.

     As it happened, Kapor had already met Barlow, who
had interviewed Kapor for a California computer journal.
Like most people who met Barlow, Kapor had been very
taken with him.   Now Kapor took it upon himself to drop
in on Barlow for a heart-to-heart talk about the situation.

     Kapor was a regular on the Well.  Kapor had been a
devotee of the *Whole Earth Catalog* since the
beginning, and treasured a complete run of the magazine.
And Kapor not only had a modem, but a private jet.   In
pursuit of the scattered high-tech investments of Kapor
Enterprises Inc., his personal, multi-million dollar holding
company, Kapor commonly crossed state lines with about
as much thought as one might give to faxing a letter.

      The Kapor-Barlow council of June 1990, in Pinedale,
Wyoming, was the start of the Electronic Frontier
Foundation.   Barlow swiftly wrote a manifesto, "Crime and
Puzzlement,"  which announced his, and Kapor's,
intention to form a political organization to "raise and
disburse funds for education, lobbying, and litigation in
the areas relating to digital speech and the extension of
the Constitution into Cyberspace."

     Furthermore, proclaimed the manifesto, the
foundation would "fund, conduct, and support legal efforts
to demonstrate that the Secret Service has exercised prior
restraint on publications, limited free speech, conducted
improper seizure of equipment and data, used undue
force, and generally conducted itself in a fashion which is
arbitrary, oppressive, and unconstitutional."

     "Crime and Puzzlement" was distributed far and wide
through computer networking channels, and also printed
in the *Whole Earth Review.*  The sudden declaration of a
coherent, politicized counter-strike from the ranks of
hackerdom electrified the community.   Steve Wozniak
(perhaps a bit stung by the  NuPrometheus scandal)
swiftly offered to match any funds Kapor offered the

     John Gilmore, one of the pioneers of Sun
Microsystems, immediately offered his own extensive
financial and personal support.   Gilmore, an ardent
libertarian, was to prove an eloquent advocate of
electronic privacy issues, especially freedom from
governmental and corporate computer-assisted
surveillance of private citizens.

     A second meeting in San Francisco rounded up
further allies:  Stewart Brand of the Point Foundation,
virtual-reality pioneers Jaron Lanier and Chuck
Blanchard,  network entrepreneur and venture capitalist
Nat Goldhaber.  At this dinner meeting, the activists
settled on a formal title: the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, Incorporated.  Kapor became its president.
A new EFF Conference was opened on the Point
Foundation's Well, and the Well was declared "the home
of the Electronic Frontier Foundation."

     Press coverage was immediate and intense.   Like
their nineteenth-century spiritual ancestors, Alexander
Graham Bell and Thomas Watson, the high-tech
computer entrepreneurs of the 1970s and 1980s -- people
such as Wozniak, Jobs, Kapor, Gates, and H. Ross Perot,
who had raised themselves by their bootstraps to
dominate a glittering new industry -- had always made
very good copy.

     But while the Wellbeings rejoiced, the press in
general seemed nonplussed by the self-declared
"civilizers of cyberspace."   EFF's insistence that the war
against "hackers" involved grave Constitutional civil
liberties issues seemed somewhat farfetched, especially
since none of EFF's organizers were lawyers or established
politicians.    The business press in particular found it
easier to seize on the apparent core of the story -- that
high-tech entrepreneur Mitchell Kapor had established a
"defense fund for hackers."   Was EFF a genuinely
important  political development -- or merely a clique of
wealthy eccentrics, dabbling in matters better left to the
proper authorities?  The jury was still out.

     But the stage was now set for open confrontation.
And the first and the most critical battle was the hacker
show-trial of "Knight Lightning."


     It has been my practice throughout this book to refer
to hackers only by their "handles."   There is little to
by giving the real names of these people, many of whom
are juveniles, many of whom have never been convicted of
any crime, and many of whom had unsuspecting parents
who have already suffered enough.

     But the  trial of Knight Lightning on July 24-27, 1990,
made this particular "hacker" a nationally known public
figure.  It can do no particular harm to himself or his
family if I repeat the long-established fact that his name
Craig Neidorf (pronounced NYE-dorf).

     Neidorf's jury trial took place in the United States
District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern
Division, with the Honorable Nicholas J. Bua presiding.
The United States of America was the plaintiff, the
defendant Mr.  Neidorf.   The defendant's attorney was
Sheldon T. Zenner of the Chicago firm of Katten, Muchin
and Zavis.

     The prosecution was led by the stalwarts of the
Chicago Computer Fraud and Abuse Task Force: William
J. Cook, Colleen D. Coughlin, and David A. Glockner, all
Assistant United States Attorneys.   The Secret Service
Case Agent was Timothy M. Foley.

     It will be recalled that Neidorf was the co-editor of
underground hacker "magazine" called *Phrack*.
*Phrack*  was an entirely electronic publication,
distributed through bulletin boards and over electronic
networks.  It was amateur publication given away for free.
Neidorf had never made any money for his work in
*Phrack.*  Neither had his unindicted co-editor "Taran
King" or any of the numerous *Phrack* contributors.

     The Chicago Computer Fraud and Abuse Task Force,
however, had decided to prosecute Neidorf as a fraudster.
To formally admit that *Phrack* was a "magazine" and
Neidorf a "publisher" was to open a prosecutorial
Pandora's Box of First Amendment issues.   To do this was
to play into the hands of Zenner and his EFF advisers,
which now included a phalanx of prominent New York civil
rights lawyers as well as the formidable legal staff of
Katten, Muchin and Zavis.  Instead, the prosecution relied
heavily on the issue of access device fraud:  Section 1029
Title 18, the section from which the Secret Service drew its
most direct jurisdiction over computer crime.

     Neidorf's alleged crimes centered around the E911
Document.   He was accused of having entered into a
fraudulent scheme with the Prophet, who, it will be
recalled, was the Atlanta LoD member who had illicitly
copied  the E911 Document from the BellSouth AIMSX

     The Prophet himself was also a co-defendant in the
Neidorf case, part-and-parcel of the alleged "fraud
scheme" to "steal" BellSouth's E911 Document (and to
pass the Document across state lines, which helped
establish the Neidorf trial as a federal case).  The
in the spirit of full co-operation, had agreed to testify
against Neidorf.

     In fact, all three of the Atlanta crew stood ready to
testify against Neidorf.   Their own federal prosecutors in
Atlanta had charged the Atlanta Three with:  (a)
conspiracy,  (b) computer fraud, (c) wire fraud, (d) access
device fraud, and (e) interstate transportation of stolen
property (Title 18, Sections 371, 1030, 1343, 1029, and

     Faced with this blizzard of trouble, Prophet and
Leftist had ducked any public trial and  had pled guilty to
reduced charges -- one conspiracy count apiece.   Urvile
had pled guilty to that odd bit of Section 1029 which makes
it illegal to possess "fifteen or more" illegal access
(in his case, computer passwords).   And their sentences
were scheduled for September 14, 1990 -- well after the
Neidorf trial.   As witnesses, they could presumably be
relied upon to behave.

     Neidorf, however,  was pleading innocent.   Most
everyone else caught up in the crackdown had
"cooperated fully" and pled guilty in hope of reduced
sentences.   (Steve Jackson was a notable exception, of
course, and had strongly protested his innocence from the
very beginning.  But Steve Jackson could not get a day in
court -- Steve Jackson had never been charged with any
crime in the first place.)

     Neidorf had been urged to plead guilty.  But Neidorf
was a political science major and was disinclined to go to
jail for  "fraud" when he had not made any money, had not
broken into any computer, and had been publishing a
magazine that he considered protected under the First

     Neidorf's trial was the *only*  legal action of the
entire Crackdown that actually involved bringing the
issues at hand out for a public test in front of a jury of
American citizens.

     Neidorf, too, had cooperated with investigators.  He
had voluntarily handed over much of the evidence that
had led to his own indictment.  He had already admitted
in writing that he knew that the E911 Document had been
stolen before he had "published" it in *Phrack* -- or, from
the prosecution's point of view, illegally transported
property by wire  in something purporting to be a

     But even if the "publication" of the E911 Document
was not held to be a crime,  that wouldn't let Neidorf off
the hook.  Neidorf  had still received  the E911 Document
when Prophet had transferred it to him from Rich
Andrews' Jolnet node.  On that  occasion, it certainly
hadn't been "published" -- it was hacker booty, pure and
simple, transported across state lines.

     The Chicago Task Force led a Chicago grand jury to
indict  Neidorf on a set of charges that could have put him
in jail for thirty years.  When some of these charges were
successfully challenged before Neidorf actually went to
trial, the Chicago Task Force rearranged his indictment so
that he faced a possible jail term of over sixty years!   As
first offender, it was very unlikely that Neidorf would in
fact receive a sentence so drastic;  but the Chicago Task
Force clearly intended to see Neidorf put in prison, and
his conspiratorial "magazine" put permanently out of
commission.  This was a federal case, and Neidorf was
charged with the fraudulent theft of property worth almost
eighty thousand dollars.

     William Cook was a strong believer in high-profile
prosecutions with symbolic overtones.  He often published
articles on his work in the security trade press, arguing
that "a clear message had to be sent to the public at large
and the computer community in particular that
unauthorized attacks on computers and the theft of
computerized information would not be tolerated by the

     The issues were complex, the prosecution's tactics
somewhat unorthodox, but the Chicago Task Force had
proved sure-footed to date.  "Shadowhawk"  had been
bagged on the wing in 1989 by the Task Force, and
sentenced to nine months in prison, and a $10,000 fine.
The Shadowhawk case involved charges under Section
1030, the "federal interest computer" section.

     Shadowhawk had not in fact been a devotee of
"federal-interest" computers per se.  On the contrary,
Shadowhawk, who owned an AT&T home computer,
seemed to cherish a special aggression toward AT&T.  He
had bragged on the underground boards "Phreak Klass
2600" and "Dr. Ripco"  of his skills at raiding AT&T, and of
his intention to crash AT&T's national phone system.
Shadowhawk's brags were noticed by Henry Kluepfel of
Bellcore Security, scourge of the outlaw boards, whose
relations with the Chicago Task Force were long and

     The Task Force successfully established that Section
1030 applied to the teenage Shadowhawk, despite the
objections of his defense attorney.  Shadowhawk had
entered a computer "owned" by U.S. Missile Command
and merely "managed" by AT&T.   He had also entered an
AT&T computer located at Robbins Air Force Base in
Georgia.   Attacking AT&T was of "federal interest"
whether Shadowhawk had intended it or not.

     The Task Force also convinced the court that a piece
of AT&T software that Shadowhawk had illicitly copied
from Bell Labs, the "Artificial Intelligence C5 Expert
System," was worth a cool one million dollars.
Shadowhawk's attorney had argued that Shadowhawk had
not sold the program and had made no profit from the
illicit copying.  And in point of fact, the C5 Expert System
was experimental software, and had no established
market value because it had never been on the market in
the first place.   AT&T's own assessment of a "one million
dollar" figure for its own  intangible property was accepted
without challenge by the court, however.  And the court
concurred with the government prosecutors that
Shadowhawk showed clear "intent to defraud" whether
he'd gotten any money or not.   Shadowhawk went to jail.

     The Task Force's other best-known triumph had been
the conviction and jailing of "Kyrie."  Kyrie, a true
of the digital criminal underground, was a 36-year-old
Canadian woman, convicted and jailed for
telecommunications fraud in Canada.   After her release
from prison, she had fled the wrath of Canada Bell and the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and eventually settled,
very unwisely, in Chicago.

     "Kyrie," who also called herself "Long Distance
Information," specialized in voice-mail abuse.   She
assembled large numbers of hot long-distance codes, then
read them aloud into a series of corporate voice-mail
systems.   Kyrie and her friends were electronic squatters
in corporate voice-mail systems, using them much as if
they were pirate bulletin boards, then moving on when
their vocal chatter clogged the system and the owners
necessarily wised up.   Kyrie's camp followers were a loose
tribe of some hundred and fifty phone-phreaks, who
followed her trail of piracy from machine to machine,
ardently begging for her services and expertise.

     Kyrie's disciples passed her stolen credit-card
numbers, in exchange for her stolen "long distance
information."  Some of Kyrie's clients paid her off in cash,
by scamming credit-card cash advances from Western

     Kyrie travelled incessantly, mostly through airline
tickets and hotel rooms that she scammed through stolen
credit cards.  Tiring of this, she found refuge with a
female phone phreak in Chicago.  Kyrie's hostess, like a
surprising number of phone phreaks, was blind.  She was
also physically disabled.   Kyrie allegedly made the best of
her new situation by applying for, and receiving, state
welfare funds under a false identity as a qualified
caretaker for the handicapped.

     Sadly, Kyrie's two children by a former marriage had
also vanished underground with her; these pre-teen digital
refugees had no legal American identity, and had never
spent a day in school.

     Kyrie was addicted to technical mastery and
enthralled by her own cleverness and the ardent worship
of her teenage followers.  This  foolishly led her to phone
up Gail Thackeray in Arizona, to boast, brag, strut, and
offer to play informant.   Thackeray, however, had already
learned far more than enough about Kyrie, whom she
roundly despised as an adult criminal corrupting minors, a
"female Fagin."   Thackeray passed her tapes of Kyrie's
boasts to the Secret Service.

     Kyrie was raided and arrested in Chicago in May
1989.  She confessed at great length and pled guilty.

     In August 1990, Cook and his Task Force colleague
Colleen Coughlin sent Kyrie to jail for 27 months, for
computer and telecommunications fraud.  This was a
markedly severe sentence by the usual wrist-slapping
standards of "hacker" busts.  Seven of Kyrie's foremost
teenage disciples were also indicted and convicted.   The
Kyrie "high-tech street gang," as Cook described it,  had
been crushed.   Cook and his colleagues had been the first
ever to put someone in prison for voice-mail abuse.   Their
pioneering efforts had won them attention and kudos.

     In his article on Kyrie, Cook drove the message home
to the readers of *Security Management* magazine, a
trade journal for corporate security professionals.  The
case, Cook said, and Kyrie's stiff sentence,  "reflect a new
reality for hackers and computer crime victims in the
'90s....  Individuals and corporations who report computer
and telecommunications crimes can now expect that their
cooperation with federal law enforcement will result in
meaningful punishment.  Companies and the public at
large must report computer-enhanced crimes if they want
prosecutors and the course to protect their rights to the
tangible and intangible property developed and stored on

     Cook had made it his business to construct this "new
reality for hackers."  He'd also made it his business to
police corporate property rights to the intangible.

     Had the Electronic Frontier Foundation been a
"hacker defense fund" as that term was generally
understood, they presumably would have stood up for
Kyrie.   Her 1990 sentence did indeed send a "message"
that federal heat was coming down on "hackers."   But
Kyrie found no defenders at EFF, or anywhere else, for
that matter.  EFF was not a bail-out fund for electronic

     The Neidorf case paralleled the Shadowhawk case in
certain ways.  The victim once again was allowed to set the
value of the "stolen" property.  Once again Kluepfel was
both investigator and technical advisor.  Once again no
money had changed hands, but the "intent to defraud"
was central.

     The prosecution's case showed signs of weakness
early on.  The Task Force had originally hoped to prove
Neidorf the center of a nationwide Legion of Doom
criminal conspiracy.   The *Phrack* editors threw physical
get-togethers every summer, which attracted hackers
from across the country; generally two dozen or so of the
magazine's favorite contributors and readers.  (Such
conventions were common in the hacker community; 2600
Magazine, for instance, held public meetings of hackers in
New York, every month.)   LoD heavy-dudes were always a
strong presence at these *Phrack*-sponsored

     In July 1988, an Arizona hacker named "Dictator"
attended Summercon in Neidorf's home town of St. Louis.
Dictator was one of Gail Thackeray's underground
informants; Dictator's underground board in Phoenix was
a sting operation for the Secret Service.   Dictator brought
an undercover crew of Secret Service agents to
Summercon.  The agents bored spyholes through the wall
of Dictator's hotel room in St Louis, and videotaped the
frolicking hackers through a one-way mirror.   As it
happened, however, nothing illegal had occurred on
videotape, other than the guzzling of beer by a couple of
minors.   Summercons were social events, not sinister
cabals.  The tapes showed fifteen hours of raucous
laughter, pizza-gobbling, in-jokes and back-slapping.

     Neidorf's lawyer, Sheldon Zenner, saw the Secret
Service tapes before the trial.  Zenner was shocked by the
complete harmlessness of this meeting, which Cook had
earlier characterized as a sinister interstate conspiracy to
commit fraud.   Zenner wanted to show the Summercon
tapes to the jury.  It took protracted maneuverings by the
Task Force to keep the tapes from the jury as "irrelevant."

     The E911 Document was also proving a weak reed.  It
had originally been valued at $79,449.   Unlike
Shadowhawk's arcane Artificial Intelligence booty, the
E911 Document  was not software -- it was written in
English.  Computer-knowledgeable people found this
value -- for a twelve-page bureaucratic document --
frankly incredible.   In his "Crime and Puzzlement"
manifesto for EFF, Barlow commented:  "We will probably
never know how this figure was reached or by whom,
though I like to imagine an appraisal team consisting of
Franz Kafka, Joseph Heller, and Thomas Pynchon."

     As it happened, Barlow was unduly pessimistic.  The
EFF did, in fact, eventually discover exactly  how this
was reached, and by whom -- but only in 1991, long after
the Neidorf trial was over.

       Kim Megahee, a Southern Bell security manager,
had arrived at the document's value by simply adding up
the "costs associated with the production" of the E911
Document.  Those "costs" were as follows:

     1.  A technical writer had been hired to research and
write the E911 Document.  200 hours of work, at $35 an
hour, cost : $7,000.  A Project Manager had overseen the
technical writer.  200 hours, at $31 an hour, made: $6,200.

     2.  A week of typing had cost $721 dollars.  A week of
formatting had cost $721.  A week of graphics formatting
had cost $742.

     3.  Two days of editing cost $367.

`    4.  A box of order labels cost five dollars.

     5.  Preparing a purchase order for the Document,
including typing and the obtaining of an authorizing
signature from within the BellSouth bureaucracy, cost

     6.  Printing cost $313.  Mailing the Document to fifty
people took fifty hours by a clerk, and cost $858.

     7.  Placing the Document in an index took two clerks
an hour each, totalling $43.

     Bureaucratic overhead alone, therefore, was alleged
to have cost a whopping $17,099.   According to Mr.
Megahee, the typing of a twelve-page document had
taken a full week.   Writing it had taken five weeks,
including an overseer who apparently did nothing else but
watch the author for five weeks.  Editing twelve pages had
taken two days.  Printing and mailing an electronic
document (which was already available on the Southern
Bell Data Network to any telco employee who needed it),
had cost over a thousand dollars.

     But this was just the beginning.  There were also the
*hardware expenses.*   Eight hundred fifty dollars for a
VT220 computer monitor.  *Thirty-one thousand dollars*
for a sophisticated VAXstation II computer.  Six thousand
dollars for a computer printer.  *Twenty-two thousand
dollars*  for a copy of "Interleaf" software.  Two thousand
five hundred dollars for VMS software.  All this to create
the twelve-page Document.

     Plus ten percent of the cost of the software and the
hardware, for maintenance.  (Actually, the ten percent
maintenance costs, though mentioned, had been left off
the final $79,449 total, apparently through a merciful

     Mr. Megahee's letter had been mailed directly to
William Cook himself, at the office of the Chicago federal
attorneys.  The United States Government accepted these
telco figures without question.

     As incredulity mounted, the value of the E911
Document was officially revised downward.  This time,
Robert Kibler of BellSouth Security estimated the value of
the twelve pages as a mere $24,639.05 -- based,
purportedly, on "R&D costs."   But this specific estimate,
right down to the nickel, did not move the skeptics at all;
fact it provoked open scorn and a torrent of sarcasm.

     The financial issues concerning theft of proprietary
information have always been peculiar.  It could be
argued that BellSouth had not "lost" its E911 Document at
all in the first place, and therefore had not suffered any
monetary damage from this "theft."  And Sheldon Zenner
did in fact argue this at Neidorf's trial -- that Prophet's
had not been "theft," but was better understood as illicit

     The money, however, was not central to anyone's true
purposes in this trial.   It was not Cook's strategy to
convince the jury that the E911 Document was a major act
of theft and should be punished for that reason alone.
His strategy was to argue that the E911 Document was
*dangerous.*   It was his intention to establish that the
E911 Document was "a road-map" to the Enhanced 911
System.   Neidorf had deliberately and recklessly
distributed a dangerous weapon.   Neidorf and the
Prophet did not care (or perhaps even gloated at the
sinister idea) that the E911 Document could be used by
hackers to disrupt 911 service, "a life line for every
certainly in the Southern Bell region of the United States,
and indeed, in many communities throughout the United
States," in Cook's own words.  Neidorf had put people's
lives in danger.

     In pre-trial maneuverings, Cook had established that
the E911 Document was too hot to appear in the public
proceedings of the Neidorf trial.  The *jury itself*  would
not be allowed to ever see this Document, lest it slip into
the official court records, and thus into the hands of the
general public, and, thus, somehow, to malicious hackers
who might lethally abuse it.

     Hiding the E911 Document from the jury may have
been a clever legal maneuver, but it had a severe flaw.
There were, in point of fact, hundreds, perhaps thousands,
of people, already in possession of the E911 Document,
just as *Phrack* had published it.   Its true nature was
already obvious to a wide section of the interested public
(all of whom, by the way, were, at least theoretically,
to a gigantic wire-fraud conspiracy).   Most everyone in the
electronic community who had a modem and any interest
in the Neidorf case already  had a copy of the Document.
It had already been available in *Phrack* for over a year.

     People, even quite normal people without any
particular prurient interest in forbidden knowledge, did
not shut their eyes in terror at the thought of beholding a
"dangerous" document from a telephone company.   On
the contrary, they tended to trust their own judgement and
simply read the Document for themselves.  And they were
not impressed.

     One such person was John Nagle.  Nagle was a  forty-
one-year-old professional programmer with a masters'
degree in computer science from Stanford.  He had
worked for Ford Aerospace, where he had invented a
computer-networking technique known as the "Nagle
Algorithm," and for the prominent Californian computer-
graphics firm "Autodesk," where he was a major

     Nagle was also a prominent figure on the Well, much
respected for his technical knowledgeability.

     Nagle had followed the civil-liberties debate closely,
for he was an ardent telecommunicator.  He was no
particular friend of computer intruders, but he believed
electronic publishing had a great deal to offer society at
large, and attempts to restrain its growth, or to censor
electronic expression, strongly roused his ire.

     The Neidorf case, and the E911 Document, were both
being discussed  in detail on the Internet, in an electronic
publication called *Telecom Digest.*  Nagle, a longtime
Internet maven, was a regular reader of  *Telecom
Digest.*    Nagle had never seen a copy of *Phrack,*  but
the implications of the case disturbed him.

     While in a Stanford bookstore hunting books on
robotics, Nagle happened across a book called *The
Intelligent Network.*   Thumbing through it at random,
Nagle came across an entire chapter meticulously
detailing the workings of E911 police emergency systems.
This extensive text was being sold openly, and yet in
Illinois a young man was in danger of going to prison for
publishing a thin six-page document about 911 service.

     Nagle made an ironic comment to this effect in
*Telecom Digest.*   From there, Nagle was put in touch
with Mitch Kapor,  and then with Neidorf's lawyers.

     Sheldon Zenner was delighted to find a computer
telecommunications expert willing to speak up for
Neidorf,  one who was not a wacky teenage "hacker."
Nagle was fluent, mature, and respectable; he'd once had
a federal security clearance.

     Nagle was asked to fly to  Illinois to join the defense

     Having joined the defense as an expert witness,
Nagle read the entire E911 Document for himself.  He
made his own judgement about its potential for menace.

     The time has now come for you yourself, the reader,
to have a look at the E911 Document.   This six-page piece
of work was the pretext for a federal prosecution that could
have sent an electronic publisher to prison for thirty, or
even sixty,  years.  It was the pretext for the search and
seizure of Steve Jackson Games, a legitimate publisher of
printed books.  It was also the formal pretext for the
and seizure of the Mentor's bulletin board, "Phoenix
Project," and for the raid on the home of Erik Bloodaxe.  It
also had much to do with the seizure of Richard Andrews'
Jolnet node and the shutdown of Charles Boykin's AT&T
node.  The E911 Document was the single most important
piece of evidence in the Hacker Crackdown.   There can
be no real and legitimate substitute for the Document

                                ==Phrack Inc.==

                      Volume Two, Issue 24, File 5 of 13

     Control Office Administration
     Of Enhanced 911 Services For
     Special Services and Account Centers

          by the Eavesdropper

               March, 1988

Description of Service
The control office for Emergency 911 service is assigned in
accordance with the existing standard guidelines to one of
the following centers:

     o  Special Services Center (SSC)
     o  Major Accounts Center (MAC)
     o  Serving Test Center (STC)
     o  Toll Control Center (TCC)

The SSC/MAC designation is used in this document
interchangeably for any of these four centers.  The Special
Services Centers (SSCs) or Major Account Centers
(MACs) have been designated as the trouble reporting
contact for all E911 customer (PSAP) reported troubles.
Subscribers who have trouble on an E911 call will continue
to contact local repair service (CRSAB) who will refer the
trouble to the SSC/MAC, when appropriate.

Due to the critical nature of E911 service, the control and
timely repair of troubles is demanded.  As the primary
E911 customer contact, the SSC/MAC is in the unique
position to monitor the status of the trouble and insure its

System Overview
The number 911 is intended as a nationwide universal
telephone number which provides the public with direct
access to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).  A PSAP
is also referred to as an Emergency Service Bureau (ESB).
A PSAP is an agency or facility which is authorized by a
municipality to receive and respond to police, fire and/or
ambulance services.  One or more attendants are located
at the PSAP facilities to receive and handle calls of an
emergency nature in accordance with the local municipal

An important advantage of E911 emergency service is
improved (reduced) response times for emergency
services.  Also close coordination among agencies
providing various emergency services is a valuable
capability provided by E911 service.

1A ESS is used as the tandem office for the E911 network to
route all 911 calls to the correct (primary) PSAP designated
to serve the calling station.  The E911 feature was
developed primarily to provide routing to the correct PSAP
for all 911 calls.  Selective routing allows a 911 call
originated from a particular station located in a particular
district, zone, or town, to be routed to the primary PSAP
designated to serve that customer station regardless of
wire center boundaries.  Thus, selective routing eliminates
the problem of wire center boundaries not coinciding with
district or other political boundaries.

The services available with the E911 feature include:

       Forced Disconnect         Default Routing
       Alternative Routing       Night Service
       Selective Routing         Automatic Number
Identification (ANI)
       Selective Transfer        Automatic Location
Identification (ALI)

Preservice/Installation Guidelines
When a contract for an E911 system has been signed, it is
the responsibility of Network Marketing to establish an
implementation/cutover committee which should include
a representative from the SSC/MAC.  Duties of the E911
Implementation Team include coordination of all phases
of the E911 system deployment and the formation of an
on-going E911 maintenance subcommittee.

Marketing is responsible for providing the following
customer specific information to the SSC/MAC prior to
the start of call through testing:

o  All PSAP's (name, address, local contact)
o  All PSAP circuit ID's
o  1004 911 service request including PSAP details on each
   (1004 Section K, L, M)
o  Network configuration
o  Any vendor information (name, telephone number,

The SSC/MAC needs to know if the equipment and sets at
the PSAP are maintained by the BOCs, an independent
company, or an outside vendor, or any combination. This
information is then entered on the PSAP profile sheets
and reviewed quarterly for changes, additions and

Marketing will secure the Major Account Number (MAN)
and provide this number to Corporate Communications
so that the initial issue of the service orders carry the
MAN and can be tracked by the SSC/MAC via
CORDNET.  PSAP circuits are official services by

All service orders required for the installation of the E911
system should include the MAN assigned to the
city/county which has purchased the system.

In accordance with the basic SSC/MAC strategy for
provisioning, the SSC/MAC will be Overall Control Office
(OCO) for all Node to PSAP circuits (official services) and
any other services for this customer.  Training must be
scheduled for all SSC/MAC involved personnel during the
pre-service stage of the project.

The E911 Implementation Team will form the on-going
maintenance subcommittee prior to the initial
implementation of the E911 system.  This sub-committee
will establish post implementation quality assurance
procedures to ensure that the E911 system continues to
provide quality service to the customer.
Customer/Company training, trouble reporting interfaces
for the customer, telephone company and any involved
independent telephone companies needs to be addressed
and implemented prior to E911 cutover.  These functions
can be best addressed by the formation of a sub-
committee of the E911 Implementation Team to set up
guidelines for and to secure service commitments of
interfacing organizations.  A SSC/MAC supervisor should
chair this subcommittee and include the following

1) Switching Control Center
        - E911 translations
        - Trunking
        - End office and Tandem office hardware/software
2) Recent Change Memory Administration Center
        - Daily RC update activity for TN/ESN translations
        - Processes validity errors and rejects
3) Line and Number Administration
        - Verification of TN/ESN translations
4) Special Service Center/Major Account Center
        - Single point of contact for all PSAP and Node to
        - Logs, tracks & statusing of all trouble reports
        - Trouble referral, follow up, and escalation
        - Customer notification of status and restoration
        - Analyzation of "chronic" troubles
        - Testing, installation and maintenance of E911
5) Installation and Maintenance (SSIM/I&M)
        - Repair and maintenance of PSAP equipment and
Telco owned sets
6) Minicomputer Maintenance Operations Center
        - E911 circuit maintenance (where applicable)
7) Area Maintenance Engineer
        - Technical assistance on voice (CO-PSAP) network
related E911 troubles

Maintenance Guidelines
The CCNC will test the Node circuit from the 202T at the
Host site to the 202T at the Node site.  Since Host to Node
(CCNC to MMOC) circuits are official company services,
the CCNC will refer all Node circuit troubles to the
SSC/MAC. The SSC/MAC is responsible for the testing
and follow up to restoration of these circuit troubles.

Although Node to PSAP circuit are official services, the
MMOC will refer PSAP circuit troubles to the appropriate
SSC/MAC.  The SSC/MAC is responsible for testing and
follow up to restoration of PSAP circuit troubles.

The SSC/MAC will also receive reports from
CRSAB/IMC(s) on subscriber 911 troubles when they are
not line troubles.  The SSC/MAC is responsible for testing
and restoration of these troubles.

Maintenance responsibilities are as follows:

SCC*            Voice Network (ANI to PSAP)
                *SCC responsible for tandem switch
SSIM/I&M        PSAP Equipment (Modems, CIU's, sets)
Vendor          PSAP Equipment (when CPE)
SSC/MAC         PSAP to Node circuits, and tandem to
PSAP voice circuits (EMNT)
MMOC            Node site (Modems, cables, etc)

Note:  All above work groups are required to resolve
troubles by interfacing with appropriate work groups for

The Switching Control Center (SCC) is responsible for
E911/1AESS translations in tandem central offices.  These
translations route E911 calls, selective transfer, default
routing, speed calling, etc., for each PSAP.  The SCC is
responsible for troubleshooting on the voice network (call
originating to end office tandem equipment).

For example, ANI failures in the originating offices would
be a responsibility of the SCC.

Recent Change Memory Administration Center
(RCMAC) performs the daily tandem translation updates
(recent change) for routing of individual telephone

Recent changes are generated from service order activity
(new service, address changes, etc.) and compiled into a
daily file by the E911 Center (ALI/DMS E911 Computer).

SSIM/I&M is responsible for the installation and repair of
PSAP equipment. PSAP equipment includes ANI
Controller, ALI Controller, data sets, cables, sets, and
other peripheral equipment that is not vendor owned.
SSIM/I&M is responsible for establishing maintenance
test kits, complete with spare parts for PSAP maintenance.
This includes test gear, data sets, and ANI/ALI Controller

Special Services Center (SSC) or Major Account Center
(MAC) serves as the trouble reporting contact for all
(PSAP) troubles reported by customer.  The SSC/MAC
refers troubles to proper organizations for handling and
tracks status of troubles, escalating when necessary.  The
SSC/MAC will close out troubles with customer.  The
SSC/MAC will analyze all troubles and tracks "chronic"
PSAP troubles.

Corporate Communications Network Center (CCNC) will
test and refer troubles on all node to host circuits.  All
circuits are classified as official company property.

The Minicomputer Maintenance Operations Center
(MMOC) maintains the E911 (ALI/DMS) computer
hardware at the Host site.  This MMOC is also responsible
for monitoring the system and reporting certain PSAP and
system problems to the local MMOC's, SCC's or
SSC/MAC's.  The MMOC personnel also operate software
programs that maintain the TN data base under the
direction of the E911 Center. The maintenance of the
NODE computer (the interface between the PSAP and the
ALI/DMS computer) is a function of the MMOC at the
NODE site.  The MMOC's at the NODE sites may also be
involved in the testing of NODE to Host circuits. The
MMOC will also assist on Host to PSAP and data network
related troubles not resolved through standard trouble
clearing procedures.

Installation And Maintenance Center (IMC) is
responsible for referral of E911 subscriber troubles that
are not subscriber line problems.

E911 Center - Performs the role of System Administration
and is responsible for overall operation of the E911
computer software.  The E911 Center does A-Z trouble
analysis and provides statistical information on the
performance of the system.

This analysis includes processing PSAP inquiries (trouble
reports) and referral of network troubles.  The E911 Center
also performs daily processing of tandem recent change
and provides information to the RCMAC for tandem
input.  The E911 Center is responsible for daily processing
of the ALI/DMS computer data base and provides error
files, etc. to the Customer Services department for
investigation and correction.  The E911 Center participates
in all system implementations and on-going maintenance
effort and assists in the development of procedures,
training and education of information to all groups.

Any group receiving a 911 trouble from the SSC/MAC
should close out the trouble with the SSC/MAC or provide
a status if the trouble has been referred to another group.
This will allow the SSC/MAC to provide a status back to
the customer or escalate as appropriate.

Any group receiving a trouble from the Host site (MMOC
or CCNC) should close the trouble back to that group.

The MMOC should notify the appropriate SSC/MAC
when the Host, Node, or all Node circuits are down so that
the SSC/MAC can reply to customer reports that may be
called in by the PSAPs.  This will eliminate duplicate
reporting of troubles. On complete outages the MMOC
will follow escalation procedures for a Node after two (2)
hours and for a PSAP after four (4) hours.  Additionally the
MMOC will notify the appropriate SSC/MAC when the
Host, Node, or all Node circuits are down.

The PSAP will call the SSC/MAC to report E911 troubles.
The person reporting the E911 trouble may not have a
circuit I.D. and will therefore report the PSAP name and
address.  Many PSAP troubles are not circuit specific.  In
those instances where the caller cannot provide a circuit
I.D., the SSC/MAC will be required to determine the
circuit I.D. using the PSAP profile.  Under no
circumstances will the SSC/MAC Center refuse to take
the trouble.  The E911 trouble should be handled as
quickly as possible, with the SSC/MAC providing as much
assistance as possible while taking the trouble report from
the caller.

The SSC/MAC will screen/test the trouble to determine
the appropriate handoff organization based on the
following criteria:

    PSAP equipment problem:  SSIM/I&M
    Circuit problem:  SSC/MAC
    Voice network problem:  SCC (report trunk group
    Problem affecting multiple PSAPs (No ALI report from
all PSAPs):  Contact the MMOC to check for NODE or
Host computer problems before further testing.

The SSC/MAC will track the status of reported troubles
and escalate as appropriate.  The SSC/MAC will close out
customer/company reports with the initiating contact.
Groups with specific maintenance responsibilities,
defined above, will investigate "chronic" troubles upon
request from the SSC/MAC and the ongoing maintenance

All "out of service" E911 troubles are priority one type
reports.  One link down to a PSAP is considered a priority
one trouble and should be handled as if the PSAP was

The PSAP will report troubles with the ANI controller, ALI
controller or set equipment to the SSC/MAC.

NO ANI:  Where the PSAP reports NO ANI (digital
display screen is blank) ask if this condition exists on all
screens and on all calls.  It is important to differentiate
between blank screens and screens displaying 911-00XX,
or all zeroes.

When the PSAP reports all screens on all calls, ask if there
is any voice contact with callers.  If there is no voice
contact the trouble should be referred to the SCC
immediately since 911 calls are not getting through which
may require alternate routing of calls to another PSAP.

When the PSAP reports this condition on all screens but
not all calls and has voice contact with callers, the report
should be referred to SSIM/I&M for dispatch.  The
SSC/MAC should verify with the SCC that ANI is pulsing
before dispatching SSIM.

When the PSAP reports this condition on one screen for
all calls (others work fine) the trouble should be referred
SSIM/I&M for dispatch, because the trouble is isolated to
one piece of equipment at the customer premise.

An ANI failure (i.e. all zeroes) indicates that the ANI has
not been received by the PSAP from the tandem office or
was lost by the PSAP ANI controller.  The PSAP may
receive "02" alarms which can be caused by the ANI
controller logging more than three all zero failures on the
same trunk.  The PSAP has been instructed to report this
condition to the SSC/MAC since it could indicate an
equipment trouble at the PSAP which might be affecting
all subscribers calling into the PSAP.  When all zeroes are
being received on all calls or "02" alarms continue, a
should analyze the condition to determine the appropriate
action to be taken.  The tester must perform cooperative
testing with the SCC when there appears to be a problem
on the Tandem-PSAP trunks before requesting dispatch.

When an occasional all zero condition is reported, the
SSC/MAC should dispatch SSIM/I&M to routine
equipment on a "chronic" troublesweep.

The PSAPs are instructed to report incidental ANI failures
to the BOC on a PSAP inquiry trouble ticket (paper) that is
sent to the Customer Services E911 group and forwarded
to E911 center when required.  This usually involves only a
particular telephone number and is not a condition that
would require a report to the SSC/MAC.  Multiple ANI
failures which our from the same end office (XX denotes
end office), indicate a hard trouble condition may exist in
the end office or end office tandem trunks.  The PSAP will
report this type of condition to the SSC/MAC and the
SSC/MAC should refer the report to the SCC responsible
for the tandem office.  NOTE: XX is the ESCO (Emergency
Service Number) associated with the incoming 911 trunks
into the tandem.  It is important that the C/MAC tell the
SCC what is displayed at the PSAP (i.e. 911-0011) which
indicates to the SCC which end office is in trouble.

Note:  It is essential that the PSAP fill out inquiry form
every ANI failure.

The PSAP will report a trouble any time an address is not
received on an address display (screen blank) E911 call.
(If a record is not in the 911 data base or an ANI failure
encountered, the screen will provide a display noticing
such condition).  The SSC/MAC should verify with the
PSAP whether the NO ALI condition is on one screen or all

When the condition is on one screen (other screens
receive ALI information) the SSC/MAC will request
SSIM/I&M to dispatch.

If no screens are receiving ALI information, there is
usually a circuit trouble between the PSAP and the Host
computer.  The SSC/MAC should test the trouble and
refer for restoral.

Note:  If the SSC/MAC receives calls from multiple
PSAP's, all of which are receiving NO ALI, there is a
problem with the Node or Node to Host circuits or the
Host computer itself.  Before referring the trouble the
SSC/MAC should call the MMOC to inquire if the Node
or Host is in trouble.

Alarm conditions on the ANI controller digital display at
the PSAP are to be reported by the PSAP's.  These alarms
can indicate various trouble conditions so the SSC/MAC
should ask the PSAP if any portion of the E911 system is
not functioning properly.

The SSC/MAC should verify with the PSAP attendant that
the equipment's primary function is answering E911 calls.
If it is, the SSC/MAC should request a dispatch
SSIM/I&M.  If the equipment is not primarily used for
E911, then the SSC/MAC should advise PSAP to contact
their CPE vendor.

Note:  These troubles can be quite confusing when the
PSAP has vendor equipment mixed in with equipment
that the BOC maintains.  The Marketing representative
should provide the SSC/MAC information concerning any
unusual or exception items where the PSAP should
contact their vendor.  This information should be included
in the PSAP profile sheets.

ANI or ALI controller down:  When the host computer
sees the PSAP equipment down and it does not come back
up, the MMOC will report the trouble to the SSC/MAC;
the equipment is down at the PSAP, a dispatch will be

PSAP link (circuit) down:  The MMOC will provide the
SSC/MAC with the circuit ID that the Host computer
indicates in trouble.  Although each PSAP has two circuits,
when either circuit is down the condition must be treated
as an emergency since failure of the second circuit will
cause the PSAP to be isolated.

Any problems that the MMOC identifies from the Node
location to the Host computer will be handled directly with
the appropriate MMOC(s)/CCNC.

Note:  The customer will call only when a problem is
apparent to the PSAP. When only one circuit is down to
the PSAP, the customer may not be aware there is a
trouble, even though there is one link down, notification
should appear on the PSAP screen.  Troubles called into
the SSC/MAC from the MMOC or other company
employee should not be closed out by calling the PSAP
since it may result in the customer responding that they
do not have a trouble.  These reports can only be closed
out by receiving  information that the trouble was fixed
and by checking with the company employee that
reported the trouble.  The MMOC personnel will be able
to verify that the trouble has cleared by reviewing a
printout from the host.

When the CRSAB receives a subscriber complaint (i.e.,
cannot dial 911) the RSA should obtain as much
information as possible while the customer is on the line.

For example, what happened when the subscriber dialed
911?  The report is automatically directed to the IMC for
subscriber line testing.  When no line trouble is found, the
IMC will refer the trouble condition to the SSC/MAC.  The
SSC/MAC will contact Customer Services E911 Group and
verify that the subscriber should be able to call 911 and
obtain the ESN.  The SSC/MAC will verify the ESN via
2SCCS.  When both verifications match, the SSC/MAC
will refer the report to the SCC responsible for the 911
tandem office for investigation and resolution.  The MAC
is responsible for tracking the trouble and informing the
IMC when it is resolved.

For more information, please refer to E911 Glossary of
                            End of Phrack File

     The reader is forgiven if he or she was entirely unable
to read this document.   John Perry Barlow had a great
deal of fun at its expense, in "Crime and Puzzlement:"
"Bureaucrat-ese of surpassing opacity.... To read the whole
thing straight through without entering coma requires
either a machine or a human who has too much practice
thinking like one.  Anyone who can understand it fully and
fluidly had altered his consciousness beyone the ability to
ever again read Blake, Whitman, or Tolstoy.... the
document contains little of interest to anyone who is not a
student of advanced organizational sclerosis."

     With the Document itself to hand, however, exactly
as it was published (in its six-page edited form) in
*Phrack,*  the reader may be able to verify a few
statements of fact about its nature.   First, there is no
software, no computer code, in the Document.  It is not
computer-programming language like FORTRAN or C++,
it is English; all the sentences have nouns and verbs and
punctuation.  It does not explain how to break into the
E911 system.  It does not suggest ways to destroy or
damage the E911 system.

     There are no access codes in the Document.  There
are no computer passwords.  It does not explain how to
steal long distance service.  It does not explain how to
break in to telco switching stations.  There is nothing in
about using a personal computer or a modem for any
purpose at all, good or bad.

     Close study will reveal that this document is not
about machinery.  The E911 Document is about
*administration.*  It describes how one creates and
administers certain units of telco bureaucracy:  Special
Service Centers and Major Account Centers (SSC/MAC).
It describes how these centers should distribute
responsibility for the E911 service, to other units of telco
bureaucracy, in a chain of command, a formal hierarchy.
It describes who answers customer complaints, who
screens calls, who reports equipment failures, who answers
those reports, who handles maintenance, who chairs
subcommittees, who gives orders, who follows orders,
*who*  tells *whom*  what to do.   The Document is not a
"roadmap" to computers.  The Document is a roadmap to

      As an aid to breaking into computer systems, the
Document is *useless.*   As an aid to harassing and
deceiving telco people, however, the Document might
prove handy (especially with its Glossary, which I have not
included).   An intense and protracted study of this
Document and its Glossary, combined with many other
such documents, might teach one to speak like a telco
employee.   And telco people live by *speech* --  they live
by phone communication.  If you can mimic their
language over the phone, you can "social-engineer" them.
If you can con telco people, you can wreak havoc among
them.  You can force them to no longer trust one another;
you can break the telephonic ties that bind their
community; you can make them paranoid.   And people
will fight harder to defend their community than they will
fight to defend their individual selves.

     This was the genuine, gut-level threat posed by
*Phrack* magazine.  The real struggle was over the control
of telco language, the control of telco knowledge.  It was a
struggle to defend the social "membrane of
differentiation" that forms the walls of the telco
community's ivory tower  -- the special jargon that allows
telco professionals to recognize one another, and to
exclude charlatans, thieves, and upstarts.  And the
prosecution brought out this fact.  They repeatedly made
reference to the threat posed to telco professionals by
hackers using "social engineering."

     However, Craig Neidorf was not on trial for learning
to speak like a professional telecommunications expert.
Craig Neidorf was on trial for access device fraud and
transportation of stolen property.  He was on trial for
stealing a document that was purportedly highly sensitive
and purportedly worth tens of thousands of dollars.


     John Nagle read the E911 Document.   He drew his
own conclusions.  And he  presented Zenner and his
defense team with an overflowing box of similar material,
drawn mostly from Stanford University's engineering
libraries.   During the trial, the defense team -- Zenner,
half-a-dozen other attorneys, Nagle, Neidorf, and
computer-security expert Dorothy Denning, all pored
over the E911 Document line-by-line.

      On the afternoon of July 25, 1990, Zenner began to
cross-examine a woman named Billie Williams, a service
manager for Southern Bell in Atlanta.  Ms. Williams had
been responsible for the E911 Document.  (She was not its
author -- its original "author" was a Southern Bell staff
manager named Richard Helms.  However, Mr. Helms
should not bear the entire blame; many telco staff people
and maintenance personnel had amended the
Document.  It had not been so much "written" by a single
author, as built by committee out of concrete-blocks of

     Ms. Williams had been called as a witness for the
prosecution, and had gamely tried to explain the basic
technical structure of the E911 system, aided by charts.

     Now it was Zenner's turn.  He first established that
the "proprietary stamp" that BellSouth had used on the
E911 Document was stamped on *every single document*
that BellSouth wrote -- *thousands*  of documents.  "We
do not publish anything other than for our own company,"
Ms. Williams explained.  "Any company document of this
nature is considered proprietary."  Nobody was in charge
of singling out special high-security publications for
special high-security protection.  They were *all*  special,
no matter how trivial, no matter what their subject matter -
- the stamp was put on as soon as any document was
written, and the stamp was never removed.

     Zenner now asked whether the charts she had been
using to explain the  mechanics of E911 system were
"proprietary," too.  Were they *public information,*  these
charts, all about PSAPs, ALIs, nodes, local end switches?
Could he take the charts out in the street and show them
to anybody, "without violating some proprietary notion
that BellSouth has?"

     Ms Williams showed some confusion, but finally
agreed that the charts were, in fact, public.

     "But isn't this what you said was basically what
appeared in *Phrack?*"

     Ms. Williams denied this.

     Zenner now pointed out that the E911 Document as
published in Phrack was only half the size of the original
E911 Document (as Prophet had purloined it).  Half of it
had been deleted -- edited by Neidorf.

     Ms. Williams countered that "Most of the
information that is in the text file is redundant."

     Zenner continued to probe.  Exactly what bits of
knowledge in the Document were, in fact, unknown to the
public?  Locations of E911 computers?  Phone numbers for
telco personnel?  Ongoing maintenance subcommittees?
Hadn't Neidorf removed much of this?

     Then he pounced.  "Are you familiar with Bellcore
Technical Reference Document TR-TSY-000350?"  It was,
Zenner explained, officially titled "E911 Public Safety
Answering Point Interface Between 1-1AESS Switch and
Customer Premises Equipment."  It contained highly
detailed and specific technical information about the E911
System.  It was published by Bellcore and publicly
available for about $20.

     He showed the witness a Bellcore catalog which listed
thousands of documents from Bellcore and from all the
Baby Bells, BellSouth included.   The catalog, Zenner
pointed out, was free.  Anyone with a credit card could call
the Bellcore toll-free 800 number and simply order any of
these documents, which would be shipped to any
customer without question.  Including, for instance,
"BellSouth E911 Service Interfaces to Customer Premises
Equipment at a Public Safety Answering Point."

     Zenner gave the witness a copy of "BellSouth E911
Service Interfaces," which cost, as he pointed out, $13,
straight from the catalog.  "Look at it carefully," he urged
Ms. Williams, "and tell me if it doesn't contain about twice
as much detailed information about the E911 system of
BellSouth than appeared anywhere in *Phrack.*"

     "You want me to...."  Ms. Williams trailed off.  "I

     "Take a careful look," Zenner persisted.  "Take a look
at that document, and tell me when you're done looking at
it if, indeed, it doesn't contain much more detailed
information about the E911 system than appeared in

     "*Phrack* wasn't taken from this," Ms. Williams said.

     "Excuse me?" said Zenner.

     "*Phrack* wasn't taken from this."

     "I can't hear you," Zenner said.

     "*Phrack* was not taken from this document.  I don't
understand your question to me."

     "I guess you don't," Zenner said.

     At this point, the prosecution's case had been
gutshot.  Ms. Williams was distressed.  Her confusion was
quite genuine.  *Phrack* had not been taken from any
publicly available Bellcore document.  *Phrack*'s  E911
Document had been stolen from her own company's
computers, from her own company's text files, that her
own colleagues had written, and revised, with much labor.

     But the "value" of the Document had been blown to
smithereens.  It wasn't worth eighty grand.  According to
Bellcore it was worth thirteen bucks.  And the looming
menace that it supposedly posed had been reduced in
instants to a scarecrow.  Bellcore itself was selling
far more detailed and "dangerous," to anybody with a
credit card and a phone.

     Actually, Bellcore was not giving this information to
just anybody.  They gave it to *anybody who asked,* but
not many did ask.   Not many people knew that Bellcore
had a free catalog and an 800 number.  John Nagle knew,
but certainly the average teenage phreak didn't know.
"Tuc," a friend of Neidorf's and sometime *Phrack*
contributor, knew, and Tuc had been very helpful to the
defense, behind the scenes.  But the Legion of Doom
didn't know -- otherwise, they would never have wasted so
much time raiding dumpsters.  Cook didn't know.  Foley
didn't know.  Kluepfel didn't know.   The right hand of
Bellcore knew not what the left hand was doing.  The right
hand was battering hackers without mercy, while the left
hand was distributing Bellcore's intellectual property to
anybody who was interested in telephone technical trivia --
apparently, a pathetic few.

     The digital underground was so amateurish and
poorly organized that they had never discovered this heap
of unguarded riches.  The ivory tower of the telcos was so
wrapped-up in the fog of its own technical obscurity that it
had left all the windows open and flung open the doors.
No one had even noticed.

     Zenner sank another nail in the coffin.  He produced
a printed issue of *Telephone Engineer & Management,*
a prominent industry journal that comes out twice a
month and costs $27 a year.  This particular issue of
*TE&M,* called "Update on 911," featured a galaxy of
technical details on 911 service and a glossary far more
extensive than *Phrack*'s.

     The trial rumbled on, somehow, through its own
momentum.  Tim Foley testified about his interrogations
of Neidorf.  Neidorf's written admission that he had known
the E911 Document was pilfered was officially read into
the court record.

     An interesting side issue came up:  "Terminus" had
once passed Neidorf a piece of UNIX AT&T software, a
log-in sequence, that had been cunningly altered so that it
could trap passwords.   The UNIX software itself was
illegally copied AT&T property,  and the alterations
"Terminus" had made to it, had transformed it into a
device for facilitating computer break-ins.  Terminus
himself would eventually plead guilty to theft of this piece
of software, and the Chicago group would send Terminus
to prison for it.  But it was of dubious relevance in the
Neidorf case.  Neidorf hadn't written the program.  He
wasn't accused of ever having used it.  And Neidorf wasn't
being charged with  software theft or owning a password

     On the next day, Zenner took the offensive.  The civil
libertarians now had their own arcane, untried legal
weaponry to launch into action  -- the Electronic
Communications Privacy Act of 1986, 18 US Code, Section
2701 et seq.   Section 2701 makes it a crime to
access without authorization a facility in which an
electronic communication service is provided -- it is, at
heart, an anti-bugging and anti-tapping law, intended to
carry the traditional protections of telephones into other
electronic channels of communication.   While providing
penalties for amateur snoops, however, Section 2703 of the
ECPA also lays some formal difficulties on the bugging
and tapping activities of police.

     The Secret Service, in the person of Tim Foley, had
served Richard Andrews with a federal grand jury
subpoena, in their pursuit of Prophet, the E911 Document,
and the Terminus software ring.  But according to the
Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a "provider of
remote computing service" was legally entitled to "prior
notice" from the government if a subpoena was used.
Richard Andrews and his basement UNIX node, Jolnet,
had not received any "prior notice."  Tim Foley had
purportedly violated the ECPA and committed an
electronic crime!  Zenner now sought the judge's
permission to cross-examine Foley on the topic of Foley's
own electronic misdeeds.

     Cook argued that Richard Andrews' Jolnet was a
privately owned bulletin board, and not within the purview
of ECPA.   Judge Bua granted the motion of the
government to prevent cross-examination on that point,
and Zenner's offensive fizzled.   This, however, was the
direct assault on the legality of the actions of the
Computer Fraud and Abuse Task Force itself -- the first
suggestion that they themselves had broken the law, and
might, perhaps, be called to account.

     Zenner, in any case, did not really need the ECPA.
Instead, he grilled Foley on the glaring contradictions in
the supposed value of the E911 Document.  He also
brought up the embarrassing fact that the supposedly red-
hot E911 Document had been sitting around for months,
in Jolnet, with Kluepfel's knowledge, while Kluepfel had
done nothing about it.

     In the afternoon, the Prophet was brought in to testify
for the prosecution.  (The Prophet, it will be recalled, had
also been indicted in the case as partner in a fraud
scheme with Neidorf.)   In Atlanta, the Prophet had
already pled guilty to one charge of conspiracy, one
charge of wire fraud and one charge of interstate
transportation of stolen property.   The wire fraud charge,
and the stolen property charge, were both directly based
on the E911 Document.

     The twenty-year-old Prophet proved a sorry
customer, answering questions politely but in a barely
audible mumble, his voice trailing off at the ends of
sentences.   He was constantly urged to speak up.

      Cook, examining Prophet, forced him to admit that
he had once had a "drug problem," abusing
amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, and LSD.  This may
have established to the jury that "hackers" are, or can be,
seedy lowlife characters, but it may have damaged
Prophet's credibility somewhat.  Zenner later suggested
that drugs might have damaged Prophet's memory.   The
interesting fact also surfaced that Prophet had never
physically met Craig Neidorf.  He didn't even know
Neidorf's last name -- at least, not until the trial.

     Prophet confirmed the basic facts of his hacker
career.  He was a member of the Legion of Doom.  He had
abused codes, he had broken into switching stations and
re-routed calls, he had hung out on pirate bulletin boards.
He had raided the BellSouth AIMSX computer, copied
the E911 Document, stored it on Jolnet, mailed it to
Neidorf.  He and Neidorf had edited it, and Neidorf had
known where it came from.

     Zenner, however, had Prophet confirm that Neidorf
was not a member of the Legion of Doom, and had not
urged Prophet to break into BellSouth computers.
Neidorf had never urged Prophet to defraud anyone, or to
steal anything.  Prophet also admitted that he had never
known Neidorf to break in to any computer.  Prophet said
that no one in the Legion of Doom considered Craig
Neidorf a "hacker" at all.   Neidorf was not a UNIX maven,
and simply lacked the necessary skill and ability to break
into computers.  Neidorf just published a magazine.

     On Friday, July 27, 1990, the case against Neidorf
collapsed.  Cook moved to dismiss the indictment, citing
"information currently available to us that was not
available to us at the inception of the trial."  Judge Bua
praised the prosecution for this action, which he described
as "very responsible," then dismissed a juror and declared
a mistrial.

     Neidorf was a free man.  His defense, however, had
cost himself and his family dearly.  Months of his life had
been consumed in anguish; he had seen his closest
friends shun him as a federal criminal.  He owed his
lawyers over a hundred thousand dollars, despite a
generous payment to the defense by Mitch Kapor.

     Neidorf was not found innocent.  The trial was simply
dropped.  Nevertheless, on September 9, 1991, Judge Bua
granted Neidorf's motion for the "expungement and
sealing" of his indictment record.  The United States
Secret Service was ordered to delete and destroy all
fingerprints, photographs, and other records of arrest or
processing relating to Neidorf's indictment, including
their paper documents and their computer records.

     Neidorf went back to school, blazingly determined to
become a lawyer.   Having seen the justice system at work,
Neidorf lost much of his enthusiasm for merely technical
power.  At this writing, Craig Neidorf is working in
Washington as a salaried researcher for the American
Civil Liberties Union.


       The outcome of the Neidorf trial changed the EFF
from voices-in-the-wilderness to the media darlings of the
new frontier.

     Legally speaking, the Neidorf case was not a
sweeping triumph for anyone concerned.  No
constitutional principles had been established.  The issues
of "freedom of the press" for electronic publishers
remained in legal limbo.  There were public
misconceptions about the case.  Many people thought
Neidorf had been found innocent and relieved of all his
legal debts by Kapor.  The truth was that the government
had simply dropped the case, and Neidorf's family had
gone deeply into hock to support him.

     But the Neidorf case did provide a single,
devastating, public sound-bite:  *The feds said it was worth
eighty grand, and it was only worth thirteen bucks.*

     This is the Neidorf case's single most memorable
element.  No serious report of the case missed this
particular element.  Even cops could not read this without
a wince and a shake of the head.  It left the public
credibility of the crackdown agents in tatters.

     The crackdown, in fact, continued, however.   Those
two charges against Prophet, which had been based on the
E911 Document, were quietly forgotten at his sentencing --
even though Prophet had already pled guilty to them.
Georgia federal prosecutors strongly argued for jail time
for the Atlanta Three, insisting on "the need to send a
message to the community,"  "the message that hackers
around the country need to hear."

     There was a great deal in their sentencing
memorandum about the awful things that various other
hackers had done  (though the Atlanta Three themselves
had not, in fact, actually committed these crimes).  There
was also much speculation about the awful things that the
Atlanta Three *might*  have done and *were capable*  of
doing  (even though they had not, in fact, actually done
them).  The prosecution's argument carried the day.  The
Atlanta Three were sent to prison:  Urvile and Leftist both
got 14 months each, while Prophet (a second offender) got
21 months.

     The Atlanta Three were also assessed staggering
fines as "restitution":  $233,000 each.  BellSouth claimed
that the defendants had "stolen" "approximately $233,880
worth"  of "proprietary computer access information" --
specifically,  $233,880 worth of computer passwords and
connect addresses.  BellSouth's astonishing claim of the
extreme value of its own computer passwords and
addresses was accepted at face value by the Georgia
court.   Furthermore (as if to emphasize its theoretical
nature)  this enormous sum was not divvied up among the
Atlanta Three, but each of them had to pay all of it.

      A striking aspect of the sentence was that the Atlanta
Three were specifically forbidden to use computers,
except for work or under supervision.  Depriving hackers
of home computers and modems makes some sense if
one considers hackers as "computer addicts," but EFF,
filing an amicus brief in the case, protested that this
punishment was unconstitutional --  it deprived the
Atlanta Three of their rights of free association and free
expression through electronic media.

     Terminus, the "ultimate hacker,"  was finally sent to
prison for a year through the dogged efforts of the Chicago
Task Force.   His crime, to which he pled guilty,  was the
transfer of the UNIX password trapper, which was
officially valued by AT&T at $77,000, a figure which
aroused intense skepticism among those familiar with
UNIX "login.c"  programs.

     The jailing of Terminus and the Atlanta Legionnaires
of Doom, however, did not cause the EFF any sense of
embarrassment or defeat.   On the contrary, the civil
libertarians were rapidly gathering strength.

     An early and potent supporter was Senator Patrick
Leahy, Democrat from Vermont, who had been a Senate
sponsor of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
Even before the Neidorf trial, Leahy had spoken out in
defense of hacker-power and freedom of the keyboard:
"We cannot unduly inhibit the inquisitive 13-year-old who,
if left to experiment today, may tomorrow develop the
telecommunications or computer technology to lead the
United States into the 21st century.  He represents our
future and our best hope to remain a technologically
competitive nation."

     It was a handsome statement, rendered perhaps
rather more effective by the fact that the crackdown
raiders *did not have*  any Senators speaking out for
*them.*   On the contrary, their highly secretive actions
and tactics, all "sealed search warrants" here and
"confidential ongoing investigations" there, might have
won them a burst of glamorous publicity at first, but were
crippling them in the on-going propaganda war.   Gail
Thackeray was reduced to unsupported bluster:  "Some of
these people who are loudest on the bandwagon may just
slink into the background," she predicted in *Newsweek*  -
- when all the facts came out, and the cops were

     But all the facts did not come out.  Those facts that
did, were not very flattering.  And the cops were not
vindicated.  And Gail Thackeray lost her job.  By the end of
1991, William Cook had also left public employment.

     1990 had belonged to the crackdown, but by '91 its
agents were in severe disarray, and the libertarians were
on a roll.   People were flocking to the cause.

     A particularly interesting ally had been Mike Godwin
of Austin, Texas.  Godwin was an individual almost as
difficult to describe as Barlow; he had been editor of the
student newspaper of the University of Texas, and a
computer salesman, and a programmer, and in 1990 was
back in law school, looking for a law degree.

     Godwin was also a bulletin board maven.   He was
very well-known in the Austin board community under his
handle "Johnny Mnemonic," which he adopted from a
cyberpunk science fiction story by William Gibson.
Godwin was an ardent cyberpunk science fiction fan.   As a
fellow Austinite of similar age and similar interests, I
myself had known Godwin socially for many years.   When
William Gibson and myself had been writing our
collaborative SF novel,  *The Difference Engine,*  Godwin
had been our technical advisor in our effort to link our
Apple word-processors from Austin to Vancouver.  Gibson
and I were so pleased by his generous expert help that we
named a character in the novel "Michael Godwin" in his

     The handle "Mnemonic" suited Godwin very well.
His erudition and his mastery of trivia were impressive to
the point of stupor; his ardent curiosity seemed insatiable,
and his desire to debate and argue seemed the central
drive of his life.  Godwin had even started his own Austin
debating society, wryly known as the "Dull Men's Club."
In person, Godwin could be overwhelming; a flypaper-
brained polymath  who could not seem to let any idea go.
On bulletin boards, however, Godwin's closely reasoned,
highly grammatical, erudite posts suited the medium well,
and he became a local board celebrity.

     Mike Godwin was the man most responsible for the
public national exposure of the Steve Jackson case.   The
Izenberg seizure in Austin had received no press coverage
at all.  The March 1 raids on Mentor, Bloodaxe, and Steve
Jackson Games had received a  brief front-page splash in
the front page of the *Austin American-Statesman,*  but it
was confused and ill-informed:  the warrants were sealed,
and the Secret Service wasn't talking.  Steve Jackson
seemed doomed to obscurity.   Jackson had not been
arrested; he was not charged with any crime; he was not on
trial.   He had lost some computers in an ongoing
investigation -- so what?  Jackson tried hard to attract
attention to the true extent of his plight, but he was
drawing a blank; no one in a position to help him seemed
able to get a mental grip on the issues.

     Godwin, however, was uniquely, almost magically,
qualified to carry Jackson's case to the outside world.
Godwin was a board enthusiast, a science fiction fan, a
former journalist, a computer salesman, a lawyer-to-be,
and an Austinite.   Through a coincidence yet more
amazing, in his last year of law school Godwin had
specialized in federal prosecutions and criminal
procedure.  Acting entirely on his own, Godwin made up a
press packet which summarized the issues and provided
useful contacts for reporters.  Godwin's behind-the-scenes
effort (which he carried out mostly to prove a point in a
local board debate) broke the story again in the *Austin
American-Statesman*  and then in *Newsweek.*

     Life was never the same for Mike Godwin after that.
As he joined the growing civil liberties debate on the
Internet, it was obvious to all parties involved that here
was one guy who, in the midst of complete murk and
confusion, *genuinely understood everything he was
talking about.*   The disparate elements of Godwin's
dilettantish existence suddenly fell together as neatly as
the facets of a Rubik's cube.

     When the time came to hire a full-time EFF staff
attorney, Godwin was the obvious choice.  He took the
Texas bar exam, left Austin, moved to Cambridge,
became a full-time, professional, computer civil
libertarian, and was soon touring the nation on behalf of
EFF, delivering well-received addresses on the issues to
crowds as disparate as academics, industrialists, science
fiction fans, and federal cops.

     Michael Godwin is currently the chief legal counsel of
the Electronic Frontier Foundation in Cambridge,


     Another early and influential participant in the
controversy was Dorothy Denning.   Dr. Denning was
unique among investigators of the computer underground
in that she did not enter the debate with any set of
politicized motives.  She was a professional cryptographer
and computer security expert whose primary interest in
hackers was *scholarly.*   She had a B.A. and M.A. in
mathematics,  and  a Ph.D. in computer science from
Purdue.  She had worked for SRI International, the
California think-tank that was also the home of computer-
security maven Donn Parker, and had authored an
influential text called  *Cryptography and Data Security.*
In 1990, Dr. Denning was working for  Digital Equipment
Corporation in their Systems Reseach Center.   Her
husband, Peter Denning, was also  a computer security
expert, working for NASA's Research Institute for
Advanced Computer Science.  He had edited the well-
received *Computers Under Attack:  Intruders, Worms
and Viruses.*

      Dr. Denning took it upon herself to contact the
digital underground, more or less with an anthropological
interest.  There she discovered that these computer-
intruding hackers, who had been characterized as
unethical, irresponsible, and a serious danger to society,
did in fact have their own subculture and their own rules.
They were not particularly well-considered rules, but they
were, in fact, rules.   Basically, they didn't take money
they didn't break anything.

     Her dispassionate reports on her researches did a
great deal to influence serious-minded computer
professionals -- the sort of people who merely rolled their
eyes at the cyberspace rhapsodies of a John Perry Barlow.

     For young hackers of the digital underground,
meeting Dorothy Denning was a genuinely mind-boggling
experience.   Here was this neatly coiffed, conservatively
dressed, dainty little personage, who reminded most
hackers of their moms or their aunts.  And yet she was an
IBM systems programmer with profound expertise in
computer architectures and high-security information
flow, who had personal friends in the FBI and the National
Security Agency.

     Dorothy Denning was a shining example of the
American mathematical intelligentsia, a genuinely
brilliant person from the central ranks of the computer-
science elite.  And here she was, gently questioning
twenty-year-old hairy-eyed phone-phreaks over the
deeper ethical implications of their behavior.

     Confronted by this genuinely nice lady, most hackers
sat up very straight and did their best to keep the anarchy-
file stuff down to a faint whiff of brimstone.
the hackers *were*  in fact prepared to seriously discuss
serious issues with Dorothy Denning.  They were willing to
speak the unspeakable and defend the indefensible,  to
blurt out their convictions that information cannot be
owned, that the databases of governments and large
corporations were a threat to the rights and privacy of

     Denning's articles made it clear to many that
"hacking" was not simple vandalism by some evil clique of
psychotics.   "Hacking" was not an aberrant menace that
could be charmed away by ignoring it, or swept out of
existence by jailing a few ringleaders.   Instead, "hacking"
was symptomatic of a growing, primal struggle over
knowledge and power in the  age of information.

     Denning pointed out that the attitude of hackers
were at least partially  shared by forward-looking
management theorists in the business community: people
like Peter Drucker and Tom Peters.  Peter Drucker, in his
book *The New Realities,*  had stated that "control of
information by the government is no longer possible.
Indeed, information is now transnational.  Like money, it
has no 'fatherland.'"

     And management maven Tom Peters had chided
large corporations for uptight, proprietary attitudes in his
bestseller, *Thriving on Chaos:*   "Information hoarding,
especially by politically motivated, power-seeking staffs,
had been commonplace throughout American industry,
service and manufacturing alike. It will be an impossible
millstone aroung the neck of tomorrow's organizations."

     Dorothy Denning had shattered the social
membrane of the digital underground.   She attended the
Neidorf trial, where she was prepared to testify for the
defense as an expert witness.   She was a behind-the-
scenes organizer of two of the most important national
meetings of the computer civil libertarians.   Though not a
zealot of any description, she brought disparate elements
of the electronic community into a surprising and fruitful

     Dorothy Denning is currently the Chair of the
Computer Science Department at Georgetown University
in Washington, DC.


     There were many stellar figures in the civil
community.   There's no question, however, that its single
most influential figure was Mitchell D. Kapor.  Other
people might have formal titles, or governmental
positions, have more experience with crime, or with the
law, or with the arcanities of computer security or
constitutional theory.  But by 1991 Kapor had transcended
any such narrow role.  Kapor had become "Mitch."

     Mitch had become the central civil-libertarian ad-
hocrat.   Mitch had stood up first, he had spoken out
loudly, directly, vigorously and angrily, he had put his own
reputation, and his very considerable personal fortune, on
the line.   By mid-'91 Kapor was the best-known advocate
of his cause and was known *personally* by almost every
single human being in America with any direct influence
on the question of civil liberties in cyberspace.   Mitch
built bridges, crossed voids, changed paradigms, forged
metaphors, made phone-calls and swapped business
cards to such spectacular effect that it had become
impossible for anyone to take any action in the "hacker
question" without wondering what Mitch might think --
and say -- and tell his friends.

      The EFF had simply *networked*  the situation into
an entirely new status quo.  And in fact this had been EFF's
deliberate strategy from the beginning.  Both Barlow and
Kapor loathed bureaucracies and had deliberately chosen
to work almost entirely through the electronic spiderweb
of "valuable personal contacts."

     After a year of EFF, both Barlow and Kapor had every
reason to look back with satisfaction.   EFF had established
its own Internet node, ","  with a well-stocked
electronic archive of documents on electronic civil rights,
privacy issues, and academic freedom.   EFF was also
publishing  *EFFector,*  a quarterly printed journal, as
as *EFFector Online,*  an electronic  newsletter with over
1,200 subscribers.  And EFF was thriving on the Well.

       EFF had a national headquarters in Cambridge and
a full-time staff.  It had become a membership
organization and was attracting grass-roots support.   It
had also attracted the support of some thirty civil-rights
lawyers, ready and eager to do pro bono work in defense of
the Constitution in Cyberspace.

     EFF had lobbied successfully in Washington and in
Massachusetts to change state and federal legislation on
computer networking.   Kapor in particular had become a
veteran expert witness, and had joined the Computer
Science and Telecommunications Board of the National
Academy of Science and Engineering.

     EFF had sponsored meetings such as "Computers,
Freedom and Privacy" and the CPSR Roundtable.   It had
carried out a press offensive that, in the words of
*EFFector,*  "has affected the climate of opinion about
computer networking and begun to reverse the slide into
'hacker hysteria' that was beginning to grip the nation."

     It had helped Craig Neidorf avoid prison.

     And, last but certainly not least, the Electronic
Frontier Foundation had filed a federal lawsuit in the
name of Steve Jackson, Steve Jackson Games Inc., and
three users of the Illuminati bulletin board system.  The
defendants were, and are, the United States Secret
Service, William Cook, Tim Foley, Barbara Golden and
Henry Kleupfel.

     The case, which is in pre-trial procedures in an Austin
federal court as of this writing, is a civil action for
to redress alleged violations of the First and Fourth
Amendments to the United States Constitution, as well as
the Privacy Protection Act of 1980 (42 USC 2000aa et seq.),
and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (18 USC
2510 et seq and 2701 et seq).

     EFF had established that it had credibility.  It had
also established that it had teeth.

     In the fall of 1991 I travelled to Massachusetts to
speak personally with Mitch Kapor.  It was my final
interview for this book.


     The city of Boston has always been one of the major
intellectual centers of the American republic.  It is a very
old city by American standards, a place of skyscrapers
overshadowing seventeenth-century graveyards, where
the high-tech start-up companies of Route 128 co-exist
with the hand-wrought pre-industrial grace of "Old
Ironsides," the USS *Constitution.*

     The Battle of Bunker Hill, one of the first and
bitterest armed clashes of the American Revolution, was
fought in Boston's environs.   Today there is a
monumental spire on Bunker Hill, visible throughout
much of the city.    The willingness of the republican
revolutionaries to take up arms and fire on their
oppressors has left a  cultural legacy that two full
have not effaced.   Bunker Hill is still a potent center of
American political symbolism, and the Spirit of '76  is
still a
potent image for those who seek to mold public opinion.

     Of course, not everyone who wraps himself in the flag
is necessarily a patriot.  When I visited the spire in
September 1991, it bore a huge, badly-erased, spray-can
grafitto around its bottom reading "BRITS OUT -- IRA
PROVOS."   Inside this hallowed edifice was a glass-cased
diorama of thousands of tiny toy soldiers, rebels and
redcoats, fighting and dying over the green hill, the
riverside marshes, the rebel trenchworks.   Plaques
indicated the movement of troops, the shiftings of
strategy.  The Bunker Hill Monument is occupied at its
very center by the toy soldiers of a military war-game

     The Boston metroplex is a place of great universities,
prominent among the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, where the term "computer hacker" was first
coined.  The Hacker Crackdown of 1990 might be
interpreted as a political struggle among American cities:
traditional strongholds of longhair intellectual liberalism,
such as Boston, San Francisco, and Austin, versus the
bare-knuckle industrial pragmatism of Chicago and
Phoenix  (with Atlanta and New York wrapped in internal

     The headquarters of the Electronic Frontier
Foundation is on 155 Second Street in Cambridge, a
Bostonian suburb north of the River Charles.  Second
Street has weedy sidewalks of dented, sagging brick and
elderly cracked asphalt; large street-signs warn "NO
EMERGENCY."   This is an old area of modest
manufacturing industries; the EFF is catecorner from the
Greene Rubber Company.   EFF's building is two stories of
red brick; its large wooden windows feature gracefully
arched tops and stone sills.

     The glass window beside the Second Street entrance
bears three sheets of neatly laser-printed paper, taped
against the glass.  They read:  ON Technology.  EFF.  KEI.

     "ON Technology" is Kapor's software company, which
currently specializes in "groupware" for the Apple
Macintosh computer.  "Groupware" is intended to
promote efficient social interaction among office-workers
linked by computers.  ON Technology's most successful
software products to date are "Meeting Maker" and
"Instant Update."

     "KEI" is Kapor Enterprises Inc., Kapor's personal
holding company, the commercial entity that formally
controls his extensive investments in other hardware and
software corporations.

     "EFF" is a political action group -- of a special sort.

     Inside, someone's bike has been chained to the
handrails of a modest flight of stairs.  A wall of modish
glass brick separates this anteroom from the offices.
Beyond the brick, there's an alarm system mounted on
the wall, a sleek, complex little number that resembles a
cross between a thermostat and a CD player.  Piled
against the wall are box after box of a recent special issue
of *Scientific American,* "How to Work, Play, and Thrive
in Cyberspace," with extensive coverage of electronic
networking techniques and political issues, including an
article by Kapor himself.   These boxes are addressed to
Gerard Van der Leun, EFF's Director of Communications,
who will shortly mail those magazines to every member of
the EFF.

     The joint headquarters of EFF, KEI, and ON
Technology, which Kapor currently rents, is a modestly
bustling place.   It's very much the same physical size as
Steve Jackson's gaming company.  It's certainly a far cry
from the gigantic gray steel-sided railway shipping barn,
on the Monsignor O'Brien Highway, that is owned by
Lotus Development Corporation.

     Lotus is, of course, the software giant that Mitchell
Kapor founded in the late 70s.  The software program
Kapor co-authored, "Lotus 1-2-3," is still that company's
most profitable product.  "Lotus 1-2-3" also bears a
singular distinction in the digital underground: it's
probably the most pirated piece of application software in
world history.

     Kapor greets me cordially in his own office, down a
hall.   Kapor, whose name is pronounced KAY-por, is in his
early forties, married and the father of two.   He has a
round face, high forehead, straight nose, a slightly tousled
mop of black hair peppered with gray.  His large brown
eyes are wideset,  reflective, one might almost say soulful.
He disdains ties, and commonly wears Hawaiian shirts
and tropical prints, not so much garish as simply  cheerful
and just that little bit anomalous.

     There is just the whiff of hacker brimstone about
Mitch Kapor.  He may not have the hard-riding, hell-for-
leather, guitar-strumming charisma of his Wyoming
colleague John Perry Barlow, but there's something about
the guy that still stops one short.   He has the air of the
Eastern city dude in the bowler hat, the dreamy,
Longfellow-quoting poker shark who only *happens*  to
know the exact mathematical odds against drawing to an
inside straight.  Even among his computer-community
colleagues, who are hardly known for mental sluggishness,
Kapor strikes one forcefully as a very intelligent man.  He
speaks rapidly, with vigorous gestures, his Boston accent
sometimes slipping to the sharp nasal tang of his youth in
Long Island.

     Kapor, whose Kapor Family Foundation does much
of his philanthropic work, is a strong supporter of Boston's
Computer Museum.   Kapor's interest in the history of his
industry has brought him some remarkable curios, such
as the "byte" just outside his office door.  This "byte"  --
eight digital bits -- has been salvaged from the wreck of an
electronic computer of the pre-transistor age.  It's a
standing gunmetal rack about the size of a small toaster-
oven:  with eight slots of hand-soldered breadboarding
featuring thumb-sized vacuum tubes.  If it fell off a table
could easily break your foot, but it was state-of-the-art
computation in the 1940s.   (It would take exactly 157,184
these primordial toasters to hold the first part of this

     There's also a coiling, multicolored, scaly dragon that
some inspired techno-punk artist has cobbled up entirely
out of transistors, capacitors, and brightly plastic-coated

     Inside the office, Kapor excuses himself briefly to do
a little mouse-whizzing housekeeping on his personal
Macintosh IIfx.  If its giant  screen were an open window,
an agile person could climb through it without much
trouble at all.  There's a coffee-cup at Kapor's elbow, a
memento of his recent trip to Eastern Europe, which has a
black-and-white stencilled photo and the legend
CAPITALIST FOOLS TOUR.   It's Kapor, Barlow, and two
California venture-capitalist luminaries of their
acquaintance, four windblown, grinning Baby Boomer
dudes in leather jackets, boots, denim, travel bags,
standing on airport tarmac somewhere behind the
formerly Iron Curtain.  They look as if they're having the
absolute time of their lives.

     Kapor is in a reminiscent mood.  We talk a bit about
his youth -- high school days as a "math nerd,"  Saturdays
attending Columbia University's high-school science
honors program, where he had his first experience
programming computers.  IBM 1620s, in 1965 and '66.   "I
was very interested," says Kapor, "and then I went off to
college and got distracted by drugs sex and rock and roll,
like anybody with half a brain would have then!"  After
college he was a progressive-rock DJ in Hartford,
Connecticut, for a couple of years.

     I ask him if he ever misses his rock and roll days --
he ever wished he could go back to radio work.

     He shakes his head flatly.  "I stopped thinking about
going back to be a DJ the day after Altamont."

     Kapor moved to Boston in 1974 and got a job
programming mainframes in COBOL.  He hated it.  He
quit and became a teacher of transcendental meditation.
(It was Kapor's long flirtation with Eastern mysticism that
gave the world "Lotus.")

     In 1976 Kapor went to Switzerland, where the
Transcendental Meditation movement had rented a
gigantic Victorian hotel in St-Moritz.  It was an all-male
group -- a hundred and twenty of them -- determined
upon Enlightenment or Bust.   Kapor had given the
transcendant his best shot.  He was becoming
disenchanted by "the nuttiness in the organization."  "They
were teaching people to levitate," he says, staring at the
floor.  His voice drops an octave, becomes flat.  "*They
don't levitate.*"

      Kapor chose Bust.  He went back to the States and
acquired a degree in counselling psychology.  He worked a
while in a hospital, couldn't stand that either.  "My rep
was," he says  "a very bright kid with a lot of potential
hasn't found himself.  Almost thirty.  Sort of lost."

     Kapor was unemployed when he bought his first
personal computer -- an Apple II.  He sold his stereo to
raise cash and drove to New Hampshire to avoid the sales

     "The day after I purchased it," Kapor tells me,  "I was
hanging out in a computer store and I saw another guy, a
man in his forties, well-dressed guy, and eavesdropped on
his conversation with the salesman.  He didn't know
anything  about computers.  I'd had a year programming.
And I could program in BASIC.  I'd taught myself.  So I
went up to him, and I actually sold myself to him as a
consultant."  He pauses.  "I don't know where I got the
nerve to do this.  It was uncharacteristic.  I just said, 'I
I can help you, I've been listening, this is what you need
do and I think I can do it for you.'  And he took me on!  He
was my first client!  I became a computer consultant the
first day after I bought the Apple II."

     Kapor had found his true vocation.  He attracted
more clients for his consultant service, and started an
Apple users' group.

     A friend of Kapor's, Eric Rosenfeld, a graduate
student at MIT, had a problem.  He was doing a thesis on
an arcane form of financial statistics, but could not wedge
himself into the crowded queue for time on MIT's
mainframes.  (One might note at this point that if Mr.
Rosenfeld had dishonestly broken into the MIT
mainframes, Kapor himself might have never invented
Lotus 1-2-3 and the PC business might have been set back
for years!)   Eric Rosenfeld did have an Apple II, however,
and he thought it might be possible to scale the problem
down.  Kapor, as favor, wrote a program for him in BASIC
that did the job.

     It then occurred to the two of them, out of the blue,
that it might be possible to *sell*  this program.  They
marketed it themselves, in plastic baggies, for about a
hundred bucks a pop, mail order.    "This was a total
cottage industry by a marginal consultant," Kapor says
proudly.  "That's how I got started, honest to God."

     Rosenfeld, who later became a very prominent figure
on Wall Street, urged Kapor to go to MIT's business
school for an MBA.   Kapor  did seven months there, but
never got his MBA.  He picked up some useful tools --
mainly a firm grasp of the principles of accounting -- and,
in his own words, "learned to talk MBA."   Then he
dropped out and went to Silicon Valley.

     The inventors of VisiCalc, the Apple computer's
premier business program, had shown an interest in
Mitch Kapor.   Kapor worked diligently for them for six
months, got tired of California, and went back to Boston
where they had better bookstores.   The VisiCalc group
had made the critical error of bringing in "professional
management."  "That drove them into the ground," Kapor

     "Yeah, you don't hear a lot about VisiCalc these days,"
I muse.

     Kapor looks surprised.  "Well, Lotus.... we *bought*

     "Oh.  You *bought*  it?"


     "Sort of like the Bell System buying Western Union?"

     Kapor grins.  "Yep!  Yep!  Yeah, exactly!"

     Mitch Kapor was not in full command of the destiny
of himself or his industry.  The hottest software
commodities of the early 1980s were *computer games*  --
the Atari seemed destined to enter every teenage home in
America.  Kapor got into business software simply
because he didn't have any particular feeling for
computer games.  But he was supremely fast on his feet,
open to new ideas and inclined to trust his instincts.   And
his instincts were good.  He chose good people to deal with
-- gifted programmer Jonathan Sachs (the co-author of
Lotus 1-2-3).   Financial wizard Eric Rosenfeld, canny Wall
Street analyst and venture capitalist Ben Rosen.  Kapor
was the founder and CEO of Lotus, one of the most
spectacularly successful business ventures of the later
twentieth century.

     He is now an extremely wealthy man.  I ask him if he
actually knows how much money he has.

     "Yeah," he says.  "Within a percent or two."

     How much does he actually have, then?

     He shakes his head.  "A lot.  A lot.  Not something I
talk about.  Issues of money and class are  things that cut
pretty close to the bone."

     I don't pry.  It's beside the point.  One might
presume, impolitely, that Kapor has at least forty million -
that's what he got the year he left Lotus.  People who ought
to know claim Kapor has about a hundred and fifty
million, give or take a market swing in his stock holdings.
If Kapor had stuck with Lotus, as his colleague friend and
rival Bill Gates has stuck with his own software start-up,
Microsoft, then Kapor would likely have much the same
fortune Gates has -- somewhere in the neighborhood of
three billion, give or take a few hundred million.   Mitch
Kapor has all the money he wants.  Money has lost
whatever charm it ever held for him -- probably not much
in the first place.    When Lotus became too uptight, too
bureaucratic, too far from the true sources of his own
satisfaction, Kapor walked.   He simply severed all
connections with the company and went out the door.  It
stunned everyone -- except those who knew him best.

     Kapor has not had to strain his resources to wreak a
thorough transformation in cyberspace politics.  In its
year, EFF's budget was about a quarter of a million dollars.
Kapor is running EFF out of his pocket change.

     Kapor takes pains to tell me that he does not
consider himself a civil libertarian per se.  He has spent
quite some time with true-blue civil libertarians lately,
there's a political-correctness to them that bugs him.  They
seem to him to spend entirely too much time in legal
nitpicking and not enough vigorously exercising civil
rights in the everyday real world.

      Kapor is an entrepreneur.  Like all hackers, he
prefers his involvements  direct, personal, and hands-on.
"The fact that EFF has a node on the Internet is a great
thing.  We're a publisher.  We're a distributor of
information."  Among the items the Internet node
carries is back issues of *Phrack.*  They had an internal
debate about that in EFF, and finally decided to take the
plunge.  They might carry other digital underground
publications -- but if they do, he says, "we'll certainly
Donn Parker, and anything Gail Thackeray wants to put
up.  We'll turn it into a public library, that has the whole
spectrum of use.  Evolve in the direction of people making
up their own minds."  He grins.  "We'll try to label all the

     Kapor is determined to tackle the technicalities of
the Internet in the service of the public interest.   "The
problem with being a node on the Net today is that you've
got to have a captive technical specialist.  We have Chris
Davis around, for the care and feeding of the balky beast!
We couldn't do it ourselves!"

     He pauses.  "So one direction in which technology has
to evolve is much more standardized units, that a non-
technical person can feel comfortable with.  It's the same
shift as from minicomputers to PCs.  I can see a future in
which any person can have a Node on the Net.  Any
person can be a publisher.  It's better than the media we
now have.  It's possible.  We're working actively."

     Kapor is in his element now, fluent, thoroughly in
command in his material.   "You go tell a hardware
Internet hacker that everyone should have a node on the
Net," he says, "and the first thing they're going to say is,
doesn't scale!'"  ("IP" is the interface protocol for the
Internet.  As it currently exists, the IP software is simply
not capable of indefinite expansion; it will run out of
usable addresses, it will saturate.)   "The answer," Kapor
says,  "is:  evolve the protocol!  Get the smart people
together and figure out what to do.  Do we add ID?  Do we
add new protocol?  Don't just say, *we can't do it.*"

     Getting smart people together to figure out what to
do is a skill at which Kapor clearly excels.   I counter
people on the Internet rather enjoy their elite technical
status, and don't seem particularly anxious to democratize
the Net.

     Kapor agrees, with a show of scorn.  "I tell them that
this is the snobbery of the people on the *Mayflower*
looking down their noses at the people who came over *on
the second boat!*   Just because they got here a year, or
five years, or ten years before everybody else, that doesn't
give them ownership of cyberspace!  By what right?"

     I remark that the telcos are an electronic network,
too, and they seem to guard their specialized knowledge
pretty closely.

     Kapor ripostes that the telcos and the Internet are
entirely different animals.  "The Internet is an open
system, everything is published, everything gets argued
about, basically by anybody who can get in.  Mostly, it's
exclusive and elitist just because it's so difficult.  Let's
make it easier to use."

     On the other hand, he allows with a swift change of
emphasis, the so-called elitists do have a point as well.
"Before people start coming in, who are new, who want to
make suggestions, and criticize the Net as 'all screwed
up'....  They should at least take the time to understand
culture on its own terms.  It has its own history -- show
some respect for it.  I'm a conservative, to that extent."

     The Internet is Kapor's paradigm for the future of
telecommunications.  The Internet is decentralized, non-
heirarchical, almost anarchic.  There are no bosses, no
chain of command, no secret data.  If each node obeys the
general interface standards, there's simply no need for
any central network authority.

     Wouldn't that spell the doom of AT&T as an
institution?  I ask.

     That prospect doesn't faze Kapor for a moment.
"Their  big advantage, that they have now, is that they have
all of the wiring.  But two things are happening.  Anyone
with right-of-way is putting down fiber -- Southern Pacific
Railroad, people like that -- there's enormous 'dark fiber'
laid in."  ("Dark Fiber" is fiber-optic cable, whose
enormous capacity so exceeds the demands of current
usage that much of the fiber still has no light-signals on
it -
- it's still 'dark,' awaiting future use.)

     "The other thing that's happening is the local-loop
stuff is going to go wireless.  Everyone from Bellcore to
cable TV companies to AT&T wants to put in these things
called 'personal communication systems.'  So you could
have local competition -- you could have multiplicity of
people, a bunch of neighborhoods, sticking stuff up on
poles.  And a bunch of other people laying in dark fiber.
So what happens to the telephone companies?  There's
enormous pressure on them from both sides.

     "The more I look at this, the more I believe that in a
post-industrial, digital world, the idea of regulated
monopolies is bad.  People will look back on it and say that
in the 19th and 20th centuries the idea of public utilities
was an okay compromise.  You needed one set of wires in
the ground.  It was too economically inefficient, otherwise.
And that meant one entity running it.  But now, with pieces
being wireless -- the connections are going to be via high-
level interfaces, not via wires.  I mean, *ultimately*
are going to be wires -- but the wires are just a commodity.
Fiber, wireless.  You no longer *need*  a utility."

     Water utilities?  Gas utilities?

     Of course we still need those, he agrees.   "But when
what you're moving is information, instead of physical
substances, then you can play by a different set of rules.
We're evolving those rules now!   Hopefully you can have
a much more decentralized system, and one in which
there's more competition in the marketplace.

     "The role of government will be to make sure that
nobody cheats.  The proverbial 'level playing field.'   A
policy that prevents monopolization.  It should result in
better service, lower prices, more choices, and local
empowerment."  He smiles.  "I'm very big on local

     Kapor is a man with a vision.  It's a very novel vision
which he and his allies are working out in considerable
detail and with great energy.  Dark, cynical, morbid
cyberpunk that I am, I cannot avoid considering some of
the darker implications of "decentralized, nonhierarchical,
locally empowered" networking.

     I remark that some pundits have suggested that
electronic networking -- faxes, phones, small-scale
photocopiers -- played a strong role in dissolving the
power of centralized communism and causing the
collapse of the Warsaw Pact.

     Socialism is totally discredited, says Kapor, fresh
back from the Eastern Bloc.  The idea that faxes did it, all
by themselves, is rather wishful thinking.

     Has it occurred to him that electronic networking
might corrode America's industrial and political
infrastructure to the point where the whole thing becomes
untenable, unworkable -- and the old order just collapses
headlong, like in Eastern Europe?

     "No," Kapor says flatly.  "I think that's
unlikely.  In part, because ten or fifteen years ago, I had
similar hopes about personal computers -- which utterly
failed to materialize." He grins wryly, then his eyes
"I'm *very* opposed to techno-utopias.  Every time I see
one, I either run away, or try to kill it."

     It dawns on me then that Mitch Kapor is not trying to
make the world safe for democracy.  He certainly is not
trying to make it safe for anarchists or utopians -- least
all for computer intruders or electronic rip-off artists.
What he really hopes to do is make the world safe for
future Mitch Kapors.  This world of decentralized, small-
scale nodes, with instant global access for the best and
brightest, would be a perfect milieu for the shoestring
capitalism that made Mitch Kapor what he is today.

     Kapor is a very bright man.  He has a rare
combination of visionary intensity with a strong practical
streak.  The Board of the EFF:  John Barlow, Jerry Berman
of the ACLU, Stewart Brand, John Gilmore, Steve
Wozniak, and Esther Dyson, the doyenne of East-West
computer entrepreneurism -- share his gift, his vision, and
his formidable networking talents.   They are people of the
1960s,  winnowed-out by its turbulence and rewarded with
wealth and influence.   They are some of the best and the
brightest that the electronic community has to offer.  But
can they do it, in the real world?  Or are they only
dreaming?   They are so few.  And there is so much against

     I leave Kapor and his networking employees
struggling cheerfully with the promising intricacies of
newly installed Macintosh System 7 software.  The next
day is Saturday.  EFF is closed.  I pay a few visits to
of interest downtown.

     One of them is the birthplace of the telephone.

     It's marked by a bronze plaque in a plinth of black-
and-white speckled granite.  It sits in the plaza of the
F. Kennedy Federal Building, the very place where Kapor
was once fingerprinted by the FBI.

     The plaque has a bas-relief picture of Bell's original
reads.  "Here, on June 2, 1875, Alexander Graham Bell and
Thomas A. Watson first transmitted sound over wires.

     "This successful experiment was completed in a fifth
floor garret at what was then 109 Court Street and marked
the beginning of world-wide telephone service."

     109 Court Street is long gone.  Within sight of Bell's
plaque, across a street, is one of the central offices of
NYNEX, the local  Bell RBOC, on 6 Bowdoin Square.

     I cross the street and circle the telco building,
hands in my jacket pockets.  It's a bright, windy, New
England autumn day.   The central office is a handsome
1940s-era megalith in late Art Deco, eight stories high.

     Parked outside the back is a power-generation truck.
The generator strikes me as rather anomalous.  Don't they
already have their own generators in this eight-story
monster?  Then the suspicion strikes me that NYNEX
must have heard of the September 17 AT&T power-outage
which crashed New York City.  Belt-and-suspenders, this
generator.  Very telco.

     Over the glass doors of the front entrance is a
handsome bronze bas-relief of Art Deco vines, sunflowers,
and birds, entwining the Bell logo and the legend NEW
-- an entity which no longer officially exists.

     The doors are locked securely.  I peer through the
shadowed glass.  Inside is an official poster reading:

     "New England Telephone a NYNEX Company


     "All persons while on New England Telephone
Company premises are required to visibly wear their
identification cards (C.C.P. Section 2, Page 1).

     "Visitors, vendors, contractors, and all others are
required to visibly wear a daily pass.
                    "Thank you.
                    Kevin C. Stanton.
                    Building Security Coordinator."

     Outside, around the corner, is a pull-down ribbed
metal security door, a locked delivery entrance.  Some
passing stranger has grafitti-tagged this door, with a
word in red spray-painted cursive:



     My book on the Hacker Crackdown is almost over
now.  I have deliberately saved the best for last.

     In February 1991, I attended the CPSR Public Policy
Roundtable, in Washington, DC.   CPSR, Computer
Professionals for Social Responsibility, was a sister
organization of EFF, or perhaps its aunt, being older and
perhaps somewhat wiser in the ways of the world of

     Computer Professionals for  Social Responsibility
began in 1981 in Palo Alto, as an informal discussion group
of Californian computer scientists and technicians, united
by nothing more than an electronic mailing list.   This
typical high-tech ad-hocracy received the dignity of its
own acronym in 1982, and was formally incorporated in

     CPSR lobbied government and public alike with an
educational outreach effort, sternly warning against any
foolish and unthinking trust in complex computer
systems.  CPSR insisted that mere computers should
never be considered a magic panacea for humanity's
social, ethical or political problems.  CPSR members were
especially troubled about the stability, safety, and
dependability of military computer systems, and very
especially troubled by those systems controlling nuclear
arsenals.  CPSR was best-known for its persistent and well-
publicized attacks on the scientific credibility of the
Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars").

     In 1990, CPSR was the nation's veteran cyber-political
activist group, with over two thousand members in twenty-
one local chapters across the US.  It was especially active
in Boston, Silicon Valley, and Washington DC, where its
Washington office sponsored the Public Policy

     The Roundtable, however, had been funded by EFF,
which had passed CPSR an extensive grant for operations.
This was the first large-scale, official meeting of what was
to become the electronic civil libertarian community.

     Sixty people attended, myself included -- in this
instance, not so much as a journalist as a cyberpunk
author.   Many of the luminaries of the field took part:
Kapor and Godwin as a matter of course.  Richard Civille
and Marc Rotenberg of CPSR.  Jerry Berman of the ACLU.
John Quarterman, author of *The Matrix.*  Steven Levy,
author of *Hackers.*   George Perry and Sandy Weiss of
Prodigy Services, there to network about the civil-liberties
troubles their young commercial network was
experiencing.  Dr. Dorothy Denning.  Cliff Figallo,
manager of the Well.  Steve Jackson was there, having
finally found his ideal target audience, and so was Craig
Neidorf, "Knight Lightning" himself, with his attorney,
Sheldon Zenner.  Katie Hafner, science journalist, and co-
author of *Cyberpunk:  Outlaws and Hackers on the
Computer Frontier.*  Dave Farber, ARPAnet pioneer and
fabled Internet guru.  Janlori Goldman of the ACLU's
Project on Privacy and Technology.  John Nagle of
Autodesk and the Well.  Don Goldberg of the House
Judiciary Committee.  Tom Guidoboni, the defense
attorney in the Internet Worm case.  Lance Hoffman,
computer-science professor at The George Washington
University.  Eli Noam of Columbia.  And a host of others
no less distinguished.

     Senator Patrick Leahy delivered the keynote address,
expressing his determination to keep ahead of the curve
on the issue of electronic free speech.  The address was
well-received, and the sense of excitement was palpable.
Every panel discussion was interesting -- some were
entirely compelling.  People networked with an almost
frantic interest.

     I myself had a most interesting and cordial lunch
discussion with Noel and Jeanne Gayler, Admiral Gayler
being a former director of the National Security Agency.
As this was the first known encounter between an actual
no-kidding cyberpunk and a chief executive of America's
largest and best-financed electronic espionage apparat,
there was naturally a bit of eyebrow-raising on both sides.

     Unfortunately, our discussion was off-the-record.  In
fact all  the discussions at the CPSR were officially off-
record, the idea being to do some serious networking in an
atmosphere of complete frankness, rather than to stage a
media circus.

     In any case, CPSR Roundtable, though interesting
and intensely valuable, was as nothing compared to the
truly mind-boggling event that transpired a mere month


     "Computers, Freedom and Privacy."  Four hundred
people from every conceivable corner of America's
electronic community.  As a science fiction writer, I have
been to some weird gigs in my day, but this thing is truly
*beyond the pale.*   Even "Cyberthon," Point Foundation's
"Woodstock of Cyberspace" where Bay Area psychedelia
collided headlong with the emergent world of
computerized virtual reality, was like a Kiwanis Club gig
compared to this astonishing do.

     The "electronic community" had reached an apogee.
Almost every principal in this book is in attendance.  Civil
Libertarians.  Computer Cops.  The Digital Underground.
Even a few discreet telco people.   Colorcoded dots for
lapel tags are distributed.  Free Expression issues.  Law
Enforcement.  Computer Security.  Privacy.  Journalists.
Lawyers.  Educators.  Librarians.  Programmers.  Stylish
punk-black dots for the hackers and phone phreaks.
Almost everyone here seems to wear eight or nine dots, to
have six or seven professional hats.

     It is a community.  Something like Lebanon perhaps,
but a digital nation. People who had feuded all year in the
national press, people who entertained the deepest
suspicions of one another's motives and ethics, are now in
each others' laps.   "Computers, Freedom and Privacy"
had every reason in the world to turn ugly, and yet except
for small irruptions of puzzling nonsense from the
convention's token lunatic, a surprising bonhomie
reigned.  CFP was like a wedding-party in which two lovers,
unstable bride and charlatan groom, tie the knot in a
clearly disastrous matrimony.

     It is clear to both families -- even to neighbors and
random guests -- that this is not a workable relationship,
and yet the young couple's desperate attraction can brook
no further delay.   They simply cannot help themselves.
Crockery will fly, shrieks from their newlywed home will
wake the city block, divorce waits in the wings like a
vulture over the Kalahari, and yet this is a wedding, and
there is going to be a child from it.  Tragedies end in
comedies in marriage.  The Hacker Crackdown is ending
in marriage.  And there will be a child.

     From the beginning, anomalies reign.  John Perry
Barlow, cyberspace ranger, is here.  His color photo in
*The New York Times Magazine,* Barlow scowling in a
grim Wyoming snowscape, with long black coat, dark hat,
a Macintosh SE30 propped on a fencepost and an
awesome frontier rifle tucked under one arm,  will be the
single most striking visual image of the Hacker
Crackdown.   And he is CFP's guest of honor -- along with
Gail Thackeray of the FCIC!   What on earth do they
expect these dual guests to do with each other?  Waltz?

     Barlow delivers the first address.
Uncharacteristically, he is hoarse -- the sheer volume of
roadwork has worn him down.  He speaks briefly,
congenially, in a plea for conciliation, and takes his leave
to a storm of applause.

     Then Gail Thackeray takes the stage.  She's visibly
nervous.  She's been on the Well a lot lately.  Reading
those Barlow posts.   Following Barlow is a challenge to
anyone.  In honor of the famous lyricist for the Grateful
Dead, she announces reedily, she is going to read -- *a
poem.*  A poem she has composed herself.

     It's an awful poem, doggerel in the rollicking meter of
Robert W. Service's *The Cremation of Sam McGee,*  but
it is in fact, a poem.  It's the *Ballad of the Electronic
Frontier!*  A poem about the Hacker Crackdown and the
sheer unlikelihood of CFP.   It's full of in-jokes.  The
or so cops in the audience, who are sitting together in a
nervous claque, are absolutely cracking-up.  Gail's poem is
the funniest goddamn thing they've ever heard.  The
hackers and civil-libs, who had this woman figured for Ilsa
She-Wolf of the SS, are staring with their jaws hanging
loosely.  Never in the wildest reaches of their imagination
had they figured Gail Thackeray was capable of such a
totally off-the-wall move.  You can see them punching
their mental CONTROL-RESET buttons.   Jesus!  This
woman's a hacker weirdo!  She's  *just like us!*    God,
changes everything!

       Al Bayse, computer technician for the FBI, had been
the only cop at the CPSR Roundtable, dragged there with
his arm bent by Dorothy Denning.  He was guarded and
tightlipped at CPSR Roundtable; a "lion thrown to the

     At CFP, backed by a claque of cops, Bayse suddenly
waxes eloquent and even droll, describing the FBI's
"NCIC 2000", a gigantic digital catalog of criminal records,
as if he has suddenly become some weird hybrid of
George Orwell and George Gobel.   Tentatively, he makes
an arcane joke about statistical analysis.  At least a third
the crowd laughs aloud.

     "They didn't laugh at that at my last speech,"  Bayse
observes.  He had been addressing cops -- *straight*  cops,
not computer people.  It had been a worthy meeting,
useful one supposes, but nothing like *this.*  There has
never been *anything*  like this.  Without any prodding,
without any preparation, people in the audience simply
begin to ask questions.  Longhairs, freaky people,
mathematicians.  Bayse is answering, politely, frankly,
fully, like a man walking on air.  The ballroom's
atmosphere crackles with surreality.   A female lawyer
behind me breaks into a sweat and a hot waft of
surprisingly potent and musky perfume flows off her

     People are giddy with laughter.  People are
interested, fascinated, their eyes so wide and dark that
they seem eroticized.  Unlikely daisy-chains form in the
halls, around the bar, on the escalators:  cops with
civil rights with FBI, Secret Service with phone phreaks.

     Gail Thackeray is at her crispest in a white wool
sweater with a tiny Secret Service logo.  "I found Phiber
Optik at the payphones, and when he saw my sweater, he
turned into a *pillar of salt!*" she chortles.

     Phiber discusses his case at much length with his
arresting officer, Don Delaney of the New York State
Police.  After an hour's chat, the two of them look ready to
begin singing "Auld Lang Syne."  Phiber finally finds the
courage to get his worst complaint off his chest.  It isn't
much the arrest.  It was the *charge.*  Pirating service off
900 numbers.  I'm a *programmer,* Phiber insists.  This
lame charge is going to hurt my reputation.  It would have
been cool to be busted for something happening, like
Section 1030 computer intrusion.  Maybe some kind of
crime that's scarcely been invented yet.  Not lousy phone
fraud.  Phooey.

     Delaney seems regretful.  He had a mountain of
possible criminal charges against Phiber Optik.  The kid's
gonna plead guilty anyway.  He's a first timer, they always
plead.  Coulda charged the kid with most anything, and
gotten the same result in the end.  Delaney seems
genuinely sorry not to have gratified Phiber in this
harmless fashion.  Too late now.  Phiber's pled already.
water under the bridge.  Whaddya gonna do?

     Delaney's got a good grasp on the hacker mentality.
He held a press conference after he busted a bunch of
Masters of Deception kids.  Some journo had asked him:
"Would you describe these people as *geniuses?*"
Delaney's deadpan answer, perfect:  "No, I would describe
these people as *defendants.*"   Delaney busts a kid for
hacking codes with repeated random dialling.  Tells the
press that NYNEX can track this stuff in no time flat
nowadays, and a kid has to be *stupid*  to do something so
easy to catch.   Dead on again:  hackers don't mind being
thought of as Genghis Khan by the straights,  but if there's
anything that really gets 'em where they live, it's being
called *dumb.*

     Won't be as much fun for Phiber next time around.
As a second offender he's gonna see prison.   Hackers
break the law.  They're not geniuses, either.  They're gonna
be defendants.  And yet, Delaney muses over a drink in
the hotel bar, he has found it impossible to treat them as
common criminals.   Delaney knows criminals.  These
kids, by comparison, are clueless -- there is just no crook
vibe off of them, they don't smell right, they're just not

     Delaney has seen a lot of action.  He did Vietnam.
He's been shot at, he has shot people.  He's a homicide
cop from New York.  He has the appearance of a man who
has not only seen the shit hit the fan but has seen it
splattered across whole city blocks and left to ferment for
years.  This guy has been around.

     He listens to Steve Jackson tell his story.  The dreamy
game strategist has been dealt a bad hand.  He has played
it for all he is worth.  Under his nerdish SF-fan exterior
is a
core of iron.   Friends of his say Steve Jackson believes in
the rules, believes in fair play.  He will never compromise
his principles, never give up.  "Steve," Delaney says to
Steve Jackson, "they had some balls, whoever busted you.
You're all right!"   Jackson, stunned, falls silent and
blushes with pleasure.

     Neidorf has grown up a lot in the past year.  The kid
a quick study, you gotta give him that.   Dressed by his
mom, the fashion manager for a national clothing chain,
Missouri college techie-frat Craig Neidorf out-dappers
everyone at this gig but the toniest East Coast lawyers.
The iron jaws of prison clanged shut without him and now
law school beckons for Neidorf.  He looks like a larval

     Not a "hacker," our Mr. Neidorf.  He's not interested
in computer science.  Why should he be?  He's not
interested in writing C code the rest of his life, and
he's seen where the chips fall.  To the world of computer
science he and *Phrack*  were just a curiosity.  But to the
world of law....  The kid has learned where the bodies are
buried.  He carries his notebook of press clippings
wherever he goes.

     Phiber Optik makes fun of Neidorf for a Midwestern
geek, for believing that "Acid Phreak" does acid and
listens to acid rock.  Hell no.  Acid's never done *acid!*
Acid's into *acid house music.*  Jesus.  The very idea of
doing LSD.  Our *parents*  did LSD, ya clown.

       Thackeray suddenly turns upon Craig Neidorf the
full lighthouse glare of her attention and begins a
determined half-hour attempt to *win the boy over.*  The
Joan of Arc of Computer Crime is *giving career advice to
Knight Lightning!*   "Your experience would be very
valuable -- a real asset," she tells him with unmistakeable
sixty-thousand-watt sincerity.  Neidorf is fascinated.  He
listens with unfeigned attention.  He's nodding and saying
yes ma'am.  Yes, Craig, you too can forget all about money
and enter the glamorous and horribly underpaid world of
former friends in prison -- ooops....

     You cannot go on dueling at modem's length
indefinitely.   You cannot beat one another senseless with
rolled-up press-clippings.  Sooner or later you have to
come directly to grips.  And yet the very act of assembling
here has changed the entire situation drastically.   John
Quarterman, author of *The Matrix,* explains the Internet
at his symposium.  It is the largest news network in the
world, it is growing by leaps and bounds, and yet you
cannot measure Internet because you cannot stop it in
place.  It cannot stop, because there is no one anywhere in
the world with the authority to stop Internet.  It changes,
yes, it grows, it embeds itself across the post-industrial,
postmodern world and it generates community wherever
it touches, and it is doing this all by itself.

     Phiber is different.  A very fin de siecle kid, Phiber
Optik.  Barlow says he looks like an Edwardian dandy.   He
does rather.  Shaven neck, the sides of his skull cropped
hip-hop close, unruly tangle of black hair on top that looks
pomaded, he stays up till four a.m.  and misses all the
sessions, then hangs out in payphone booths with his
acoustic coupler gutsily CRACKING SYSTEMS RIGHT IN
DUDES IN THE U.S., or at least *pretending* to....  Unlike
"Frank Drake."  Drake, who wrote Dorothy Denning out of
nowhere, and asked for an interview for his cheapo
cyberpunk fanzine, and then started grilling her on her
ethics.   She was squirmin', too....   Drake, scarecrow-tall
with his floppy blond mohawk, rotting tennis shoes and
black leather jacket lettered ILLUMINATI in red, gives off
an unmistakeable air of the bohemian literatus.  Drake is
the kind of guy who reads British industrial design
magazines and appreciates William Gibson because the
quality of the prose is so tasty.  Drake could never touch a
phone or a keyboard again, and he'd still have the nose-
ring and the blurry photocopied fanzines and the sampled
industrial music.  He's a radical punk with a desktop-
publishing rig and an Internet address.  Standing next to
Drake, the diminutive Phiber looks like he's been
physically coagulated out of phone-lines.  Born to phreak.

     Dorothy Denning approaches Phiber suddenly.  The
two of them are about the same height and body-build.
Denning's blue eyes flash behind the round window-
frames of her glasses.  "Why did you say I was 'quaint?'"
she asks Phiber, quaintly.

     It's a perfect description but Phiber is nonplussed...
"Well, I uh, you know...."

     "I also think you're quaint, Dorothy," I say, novelist
the rescue, the journo gift of gab...  She is neat and
and yet there's an arcane quality to her, something like a
Pilgrim Maiden behind leaded glass; if she were six inches
high Dorothy Denning would look great inside a china
cabinet...  The Cryptographeress....  The Cryptographrix...
whatever...   Weirdly, Peter Denning looks just like his
wife, you could pick this gentleman out of a thousand guys
as the soulmate of Dorothy Denning.  Wearing tailored
slacks, a spotless fuzzy varsity sweater, and a neatly
knotted academician's tie.... This fineboned, exquisitely
polite, utterly civilized and hyperintelligent couple seem
to have emerged from some cleaner and finer parallel
universe, where humanity exists to do the Brain Teasers
column in Scientific American.   Why does this Nice Lady
hang out with these unsavory characters?

     Because the time has come for it, that's why.
Because she's the best there is at what she does.

     Donn Parker is here, the Great Bald Eagle of
Computer Crime....  With his bald dome, great height, and
enormous Lincoln-like hands, the great visionary pioneer
of the field plows through the lesser mortals like an
icebreaker....  His eyes are fixed on the future with the
rigidity of a bronze statue....  Eventually, he tells his
audience, all business crime will be computer crime,
because businesses will do everything through computers.
"Computer crime" as a category will vanish.

     In the meantime,  passing fads will flourish and fail
and evaporate....  Parker's commanding, resonant voice is
sphinxlike, everything is viewed from some eldritch valley
of deep historical abstraction...  Yes, they've come and
they've gone, these passing flaps in the world of digital
computation....  The radio-frequency emanation scandal...
KGB and MI5 and CIA do it every day, it's easy, but
nobody else ever has....  The salami-slice fraud, mostly
mythical...  "Crimoids," he calls them....  Computer viruses
are the current crimoid champ, a lot less dangerous than
most people let on, but the novelty is fading and there's a
crimoid vacuum at the moment, the press is visibly
hungering for something more outrageous....  The Great
Man shares with us a few speculations on the coming
crimoids....  Desktop Forgery!  Wow....  Computers stolen
just for the sake of the information within them -- data-
napping!  Happened in Britain a while ago, could be the
coming thing....  Phantom nodes in the Internet!

     Parker handles his overhead projector sheets with an
ecclesiastical air...  He wears a grey double-breasted suit,
light blue shirt, and a very quiet tie of understated maroon
and blue paisley...  Aphorisms emerge from him with slow,
leaden emphasis...  There is no such thing as an
adequately secure computer when one faces a sufficiently
powerful adversary.... Deterrence is the most socially
useful aspect of security...  People are the primary
weakness in all information systems...  The entire baseline
of computer security must be shifted upward....  Don't ever
violate your security by publicly describing your security

     People in the audience are beginning to squirm, and
yet there is something about the elemental purity of this
guy's philosophy that compels uneasy respect....  Parker
sounds like the only sane guy left in the lifeboat,
sometimes.  The guy who can prove rigorously, from deep
moral principles, that Harvey there, the one with the
broken leg and the checkered past, is the one who has to
be, err.... that is, Mr. Harvey is best placed to make the
necessary sacrifice for the security and indeed the very
survival of the rest of this lifeboat's crew....   Computer
security, Parker informs us mournfully, is a nasty topic,
and we wish we didn't have to have  it...  The security
expert, armed with method and logic, must think --
imagine -- everything that the adversary might do before
the adversary might actually do it.   It is as if the
dark brain were an extensive subprogram within the
shining cranium of Donn Parker.   He is a Holmes whose
Moriarty does not quite yet exist and so must be perfectly

     CFP is a stellar gathering, with the giddiness of a
wedding.  It is a happy time, a happy ending, they know
their world is changing forever tonight, and they're proud
to have been there to see it happen, to talk, to think, to

     And yet as night falls, a certain elegiac quality
manifests itself, as the crowd gathers beneath the
chandeliers with their wineglasses and dessert plates.
Something is ending here, gone forever, and it takes a
while to pinpoint it.

     It is the End of the Amateurs.


Afterword:  The Hacker Crackdown Three Years Later

     Three years in cyberspace is like thirty years anyplace
real.  It feels as if a generation has passed since I wrote
book.  In terms of the generations of computing machinery
involved, that's pretty much the case.

     The basic shape of cyberspace has changed drastically
since 1990.  A new U.S. Administration is in power whose
personnel are, if anything, only too aware of the nature and
potential of electronic networks.  It's now clear to all
concerned that the status quo is dead-and-gone in American
media and telecommunications, and almost any territory on
the electronic frontier is up for grabs.  Interactive
cable-phone alliances, the Information Superhighway, fiber-
to-the-curb, laptops and palmtops, the explosive growth of
cellular and the Internet -- the earth trembles visibly.

     The year 1990 was not a pleasant one for AT&T.  By
however, AT&T had successfully devoured the computer
company NCR in an unfriendly takeover, finally giving the
pole-climbers a major piece of the digital action.  AT&T
managed to rid itself of ownership of the troublesome UNIX
operating system, selling it to Novell, a netware company,
which was itself preparing for a savage market dust-up with
operating-system titan Microsoft.  Furthermore, AT&T
acquired McCaw Cellular in a gigantic merger, giving AT&T a
potential wireless whip-hand over its former progeny, the
RBOCs.  The RBOCs themselves were now AT&T's clearest
potential rivals, as the Chinese firewalls between regulated
monopoly and frenzied digital entrepreneurism began to melt
and collapse headlong.

     AT&T, mocked by industry analysts in 1990, was reaping
awestruck praise by commentators in 1993.   AT&T had
managed to avoid any more major software crashes in its
switching stations.  AT&T's newfound reputation as "the
nimble giant" was all the sweeter, since AT&T's traditional
rival giant in the world of multinational computing, IBM,
almost prostrate by 1993.  IBM's vision of the commercial
computer-network of the future, "Prodigy," had managed to
spend $900 million without a whole heck of a lot to show for
while AT&T, by contrast, was boldly speculating on the
possibilities of personal communicators and hedging its bets
with investments in handwritten interfaces.  In 1990 AT&T
looked bad; but in 1993 AT&T looked like the future.

     At least, AT&T's *advertising* looked like the future.
Similar public attention was riveted on the massive $22
megamerger between RBOC Bell Atlantic and cable-TV giant
Tele-Communications Inc.   Nynex was buying into cable
company Viacom International.  BellSouth was buying stock in
Prime Management, Southwestern Bell acquiring a cable
company in Washington DC, and so forth.   By stark contrast,
the Internet, a noncommercial entity which officially did
even exist, had no advertising budget at all.  And yet,
below the level of governmental and corporate awareness,
Internet was stealthily devouring everything in its path,
growing at a rate that defied comprehension.  Kids who might
have been eager computer-intruders a mere five years earlier
were now surfing the Internet, where their natural urge to
explore led them into cyberspace landscapes of such
mindboggling vastness that the very idea of hacking
seemed rather a waste of time.

     By 1993, there had not been a solid, knock 'em down,
panic-striking, teenage-hacker  computer-intrusion scandal
many long months.  There had, of course, been some striking
and well-publicized acts of illicit computer access, but
they had
been committed by adult white-collar industry insiders in
pursuit of personal or commercial advantage.  The kids, by
contrast, all seemed to be on IRC, Internet Relay Chat.

     Or, perhaps, frolicking out in the endless glass-roots
network of personal bulletin board systems.  In 1993, there
were an estimated 60,000 boards in America; the population
boards had fully doubled since Operation Sundevil in 1990.
hobby was transmuting fitfully into a genuine industry.  The
board community were no longer obscure hobbyists; many
were still hobbyists and proud of it, but board sysops and
advanced board users had become a far more cohesive and
politically aware community, no longer allowing themselves
be obscure.

     The specter of cyberspace in the late 1980s, of
authorities trembling in fear before teenage hacker whiz-
seemed downright antiquated by 1993.  Law enforcement
emphasis had changed, and the favorite electronic villain of
1993 was not the vandal child, but  the victimizer of
the digital child pornographer.  "Operation Longarm,"  a
pornography computer raid carried out by the previously
known cyberspace rangers of the U.S. Customs Service, was
almost the size of Operation Sundevil, but received very
notice by comparison.

     The huge and well-organized "Operation Disconnect,"
an FBI strike against telephone rip-off con-artists, was
actually larger than Sundevil.  "Operation Disconnect" had
brief moment in the sun of publicity, and then vanished
It was unfortunate that a law-enforcement affair as
apparently well-conducted as Operation Disconnect, which
pursued telecom adult career criminals a hundred times more
morally repugnant than teenage hackers, should have received
so little attention and fanfare, especially compared to the
abortive Sundevil and the basically disastrous efforts of
Chicago Computer Fraud and Abuse Task Force.  But the life
an electronic policeman is seldom easy.

     If any law enforcement event truly deserved full-scale
press coverage (while somehow managing to escape it), it was
the amazing saga of New York State Police Senior
Investigator Don Delaney Versus the Orchard Street Finger-
Hackers.  This story  probably represents the real future of
professional telecommunications crime in America.  The
hackers sold, and still sell, stolen long-distance phone
to a captive clientele of illegal aliens in New York City.
clientele is desperate to call home, yet as a group, illegal
have few legal means of obtaining standard phone service,
since their very presence in the United States is against
law.  The finger-hackers of Orchard Street were very unusual
"hackers," with an astonishing lack of any kind of genuine
technological knowledge.  And yet these New York call-sell
thieves showed a street-level ingenuity appalling in its
minded sense of larceny.

     There was no dissident-hacker rhetoric about  freedom-
of-information among the finger-hackers.  Most of them came
out of the cocaine-dealing fraternity, and they retailed
calls with the same street-crime techniques of lookouts and
bagholders that a crack gang would employ.  This was down-
and-dirty, urban, ethnic, organized crime, carried out by
families every day, for cash on the barrelhead, in the harsh
world of the streets.  The finger-hackers dominated certain
payphones in certain strikingly unsavory neighborhoods.
provided a service no one else would give to a clientele
little to lose.

     With such a vast supply of electronic crime  at hand,
Delaney rocketed from a background in homicide to teaching
telecom crime at FLETC in less than three years.  Few can
Delaney's hands-on, street-level experience in phone fraud.
Anyone in 1993 who still believes telecommunications crime
be something rare and arcane should have a few words with
Mr Delaney.  Don Delaney has also written two fine essays,
telecom fraud and computer crime, in Joseph Grau's *Criminal
and Civil Investigations Handbook* (McGraw Hill 1993).

     *Phrack* was still publishing in 1993, now under the
editorship of Erik Bloodaxe.  Bloodaxe made a determined
attempt to get law enforcement and corporate security to pay
real money for their electronic copies of *Phrack,* but, as
usual, these stalwart defenders of intellectual property
preferred to pirate the magazine.  Bloodaxe has still not
back any of his property from the seizure raids of March 1,
1990.  Neither has the Mentor, who is still the managing
of Steve Jackson Games.

     Nor has Robert Izenberg, who has suspended his court
struggle to get his machinery back.  Mr Izenberg has
that his $20,000 of equipment seized in 1990 is, in 1993,
$4,000 at most.  The missing software, also gone out his
was long ago replaced.   He might, he says, sue for the sake
principle, but he feels that the people who seized his
have already been discredited, and won't be doing any more
seizures.  And even if his machinery were returned -- and in
good repair, which is doubtful -- it will  be essentially
by 1995.  Robert Izenberg no longer works for IBM, but has a
job programming for a major telecommunications company in

     Steve Jackson won his case against the Secret Service
March 12, 1993, just over three years after the federal raid
his enterprise.   Thanks to the delaying tactics available
through the legal doctrine of "qualified immunity," Jackson
tactically forced to drop his suit against the individuals
Cook, Tim Foley, Barbara Golden and Henry Kluepfel.   (Cook,
Foley, Golden and Kluepfel did, however, testify during the

     The Secret Service fought vigorously in the case,
Jackson's lawyers right down the line, on the (mostly
previously untried) legal turf of the Electronic
Privacy Act and the Privacy Protection Act of 1980.  The
Service denied they were legally or morally responsible for
seizing the work of a publisher.   They claimed that (1)
Jackson's gaming "books" weren't real books anyhow, and (2)
the Secret Service didn't realize SJG Inc was a "publisher"
when they raided his offices, and (3) the books only
vanished by
accident because they merely happened to be inside the
computers the agents were appropriating.

     The Secret Service also denied any wrongdoing in
reading and erasing all the supposedly "private" e-mail
Jackson's seized board, Illuminati.  The USSS attorneys
claimed the seizure did not violate the Electronic
Communications Privacy Act, because they weren't actually
"intercepting" electronic mail that was moving on a wire,
only electronic mail that was quietly sitting on a disk
Jackson's computer.  They also claimed that USSS agents
hadn't read any of the private mail on Illuminati; and
even supposing that they had, they were allowed to do that
the subpoena.

     The Jackson case became even more peculiar when the
Secret Service attorneys went so far as to allege that the
federal raid against the gaming company had actually
*improved Jackson's business*  thanks to the ensuing
nationwide publicity.

     It was a long and rather involved trial.  The judge
seemed most perturbed, not by the arcane matters of
law, but by the fact that the Secret Service could have
almost all the consequent trouble simply by giving Jackson
computers back in short order.   The Secret Service easily
have looked at everything in Jackson's computers, recorded
everything, and given the machinery back, and there would
have been no major scandal or federal court suit.  On the
contrary, everybody simply would have had a good laugh.
Unfortunately, it appeared that this idea had never entered
heads of the Chicago-based investigators.  They seemed to
have concluded unilaterally, and without due course of law,
that the world would be better off if Steve Jackson didn't
computers.  Golden and Foley claimed that they had both
even heard of the Privacy Protection Act.  Cook had heard of
the Act, but he'd decided on his own that the Privacy
Act had nothing to do with Steve Jackson.

     The Jackson case was also a very politicized trial,
sides deliberately angling for a long-term legal precedent
would stake-out big claims for their interests in
Jackson and his EFF advisors tried hard to establish that
least e-mail remark of the lonely electronic pamphleteer
deserves the same somber civil-rights protection as that
afforded *The New York Times.*  By stark contrast, the
Service's attorneys argued boldly that the contents of an
electronic bulletin board have no more expectation of
than a heap of postcards.  In the final analysis, very
little was
firmly nailed down.  Formally, the legal rulings in the
case apply only in the federal Western District of Texas.
was, however, established that these were real civil-
issues that powerful people were prepared to go to the
courthouse over; the seizure of bulletin board systems,
it still goes on, can be a perilous act for the seizer.
The Secret
Service owes Steve Jackson $50,000 in damages, and a
thousand dollars each to three of Jackson's angry and
board users.  And Steve Jackson, rather than owning the
single-line bulletin board system "Illuminati" seized in
now rejoices in possession of a huge privately-owned
node, "," with dozens of phone-lines on its  own T-1

     Jackson has made the entire blow-by-blow narrative of
his case available electronically, for interested parties.
And yet, the
Jackson case may still not be over; a Secret Service appeal
likely and the EFF is also gravely dissatisfied with the
ruling on
electronic interception.

     The WELL, home of the American electronic civil
libertarian movement, added two thousand more users and
dropped its aging Sequent computer in favor of a snappy new
Sun Sparcstation.  Search-and-seizure discussions on the
are now taking a decided back-seat to the current hot topic
digital civil liberties, unbreakable public-key encryption
private citizens.

     The Electronic Frontier Foundation left its modest home
in Boston to move inside the Washington Beltway of the
Clinton Administration.  Its new executive director, ECPA
pioneer and longtime ACLU activist Jerry Berman, gained a
reputation of a man adept as dining with tigers, as the EFF
devoted its attention to networking at the highest levels of
computer and telecommunications industry.  EFF's pro-
encryption lobby and anti-wiretapping initiative were
especially impressive, successfully assembling a herd of
variegated industry camels under the same EFF tent, in open
and powerful opposition to the electronic ambitions of the
and the NSA.

     EFF had transmuted at light-speed from an insurrection
to an institution.  EFF Co-Founder Mitch Kapor once again
sidestepped the bureaucratic consequences of his own
by remaining in Boston and adapting the role of EFF guru and
gray eminence.   John Perry Barlow, for his part, left
quit the Republican Party, and moved to New York City,
accompanied by his swarm of cellular phones.   Mike Godwin
left Boston for Washington as EFF's official legal adviser
to the
electronically afflicted.

     After the Neidorf trial, Dorothy Denning further proved
her firm scholastic independence-of-mind by speaking up
boldly on the usefulness and social value of federal
wiretapping.  Many civil libertarians, who regarded the
practice of wiretapping with deep occult horror,  were
crestfallen to the point of comedy when nationally known
"hacker sympathizer" Dorothy Denning sternly defended
police and public interests in official eavesdropping.
no amount of public uproar seemed to swerve the "quaint" Dr.
Denning in the slightest.  She not only made up her own
she made it up in public and then stuck to her guns.

     In 1993, the stalwarts of the Masters of Deception,
Optik, Acid Phreak and Scorpion, finally fell afoul of the
machineries of legal prosecution.  Acid Phreak and Scorpion
were sent to prison for six months, six months of home
detention, 750 hours of community service, and, oddly, a $50
fine for conspiracy to commit computer crime.  Phiber Optik,
the computer intruder with perhaps the highest public
profile in
the entire world, took the longest to plead guilty, but,
the possibility of ten years in jail, he finally did so.  He
sentenced to a year and a day in prison.

     As for the Atlanta wing of the Legion of Doom, Prophet,
Leftist and Urvile...   Urvile now works for a software
company in Atlanta.  He is still on probation and still
his enormous fine.  In fifteen months, he will once again be
allowed to own a personal computer.  He is still a convicted
federal felon, but has not had any legal difficulties since
prison.  He has lost contact with Prophet and Leftist.
Unfortunately, so have I, though not through lack of honest

     Knight Lightning, now 24,  is a technical writer for
the federal government in Washington DC.  He has still not
been accepted into law school, but having spent more than
share of time in the company of attorneys, he's come to
that maybe an MBA would be more to the point.   He still
his attorneys $30,000, but the sum is dwindling steadily
since he
is manfully working two jobs.  Knight Lightning customarily
wears a suit and tie and carries a valise.  He has a federal
security clearance.

     Unindicted *Phrack* co-editor Taran King is also a
technical writer in Washington DC,  and recently got

     Terminus did his time, got out of prison, and currently
lives in Silicon Valley where he is running a full-scale
node, ""   He programs professionally for a
company specializing in satellite links for the Internet.

     Carlton Fitzpatrick still teaches at the Federal Law
Enforcement Training Center, but FLETC found that the issues
involved in sponsoring and running a bulletin board system
rather more complex than they at first appear to be.

     Gail Thackeray  briefly considered going into private
security, but then changed tack, and joined the Maricopa
County District Attorney's Office (with a salary).  She is
vigorously prosecuting electronic racketeering in Phoenix,

     The fourth consecutive Computers, Freedom and Privacy
Conference will take place in March 1994 in Chicago.

     As for Bruce Sterling... well *8-).  I thankfully
my brief career as  a true-crime journalist and wrote a new
science fiction novel, *Heavy Weather,* and assembled a new
collection of short stories, *Globalhead.*  I also write
nonfiction regularly,  for the popular-science column in
Magazine of  Fantasy and Science Fiction.*

     I like life better on the far side of the boundary
fantasy and reality;  but I've come to recognize that
reality has
an unfortunate  way of annexing fantasy for its own
That's why I'm on the Police Liaison Committee for  EFF-
Austin, a local electronic civil liberties group (eff-  I don't think I will ever get over my
experience of the Hacker Crackdown, and I expect to be
involved in electronic civil liberties activism for the rest
of my

     It wouldn't be hard to find material for another book
computer crime and civil liberties issues.   I truly believe
that I
could write another book much like this one, every year.
Cyberspace is very big.  There's a lot going on out there,
more than can be adequately covered by the tiny, though
growing, cadre of network-literate reporters.  I do wish I
do more work on this topic, because the various people of
cyberspace are an element of our society that definitely
sustained study and attention.

     But there's only one of me, and I have a lot on my
and, like most science fiction writers, I have a lot more
imagination than discipline.  Having done my stint as an
electronic-frontier reporter, my hat is off to those
stalwart few
who do it every day.  I may return to this topic some day,
but I
have no real plans to do so.  However, I didn't have any
plans to write "Hacker Crackdown," either.  Things happen,
nowadays.  There are landslides in cyberspace.  I'll just
have to
try and stay alert and on my feet.

     The electronic landscape changes with astounding speed.
We are living through the fastest technological
in human history.  I was glad to have a chance to document
cyberspace during one moment in its long mutation; a kind of
strobe-flash of the maelstrom.  This book is already out-of-
date, though, and it will be quite obsolete in another five
It seems a pity.

     However, in about fifty years, I think this book might
seem quite interesting.  And in a hundred years, this book
should seem mind-bogglingly archaic and bizarre, and will
probably seem far weirder to an audience in 2092 than it
seemed to the contemporary readership.

     Keeping up in cyberspace requires a great deal of
sustained attention.   Personally, I keep tabs with the
milieu by
reading the invaluable electronic magazine  Computer
underground Digest  ( with the
header: SUB CuD and a message that says:  SUB CuD your
name     your.full.internet@address).  I also read Jack
bracingly iconoclastic *Boardwatch  Magazine* for print news
of the BBS and online community.  And, needless to say, I
*Wired,* the first magazine of the 1990s that actually looks
acts like it really belongs in this decade.  There are other
to learn, of course, but these three outlets will guide your
efforts very well.

     When I myself want to publish something electronically,
which I'm doing with increasing frequency, I generally put
it on
the gopher at Texas Internet Consulting, who are my, well,
Texan Internet consultants  (  This book can be
there.  I think it is a worthwhile act to let this work go

     From thence, one's bread floats out onto the dark
of cyberspace, only to return someday, tenfold.  And of
thoroughly soggy, and riddled with an entire amazing
ecosystem of bizarre and gnawingly hungry cybermarine life-
forms.  For this author at least, that's all that really

     Thanks for your attention  *8-)

     Bruce Sterling  -- New Years' Day
1994, Austin Texas


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