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. They found themselves
organizing, propagandizing, podium- pounding, persuading, touring, negotiat-
ing, 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 hamstrung.

     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 telecommunica-
tions, 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 friends.

     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- pads.

     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

     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 fact, 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 community.

     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 descrip-
tions.  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 world."

     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 open- 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

     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

     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 their 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 "togetherness").

     But if the magazine did not flourish, it was resilient; it 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 countercul-
ture.  *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 Rheingold).

     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

     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 end.

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

                      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 newtops)

                        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
disability) Education              (g ed)                Energy (g energy91)
Entrepreneurs   (g entre)               Homeowners        (g home) Indexing 
      (g indexing)     Investments       (g invest) 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 arc) Berkeley           
   (g berk)     Buddhist          (g wonderland) Christian              (g
cross)                  Couples (g couples) Current Events         (g curr) 
      Dreams            (g dream) Drugs                  (g dru)            
          East Coast        (g east) Emotional Health****   (g private)     
Erotica           (g eros) Environment            (g env)     Firearms      
   (g firearms) 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

                             Grateful Dead                             
------------- Grateful Dead          (g gd)          Deadplan*         (g dp)
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
amiga) Apple                  (g app)       Computer Books    (g cbook) 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 mactech) Microtimes   (g microx)            Muchomedia        (g
mucho) 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) Telecommuni-
cations(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 untutored 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 conferenc-
es was a little cyberspace world in itself, 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 1990. 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 utter 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 darling.

     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 to envision themselves suffering much the same

     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: "I've 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 were *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. A 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 fondness 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 unconstitu-

     "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 Foundation.

     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 gain 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 is 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 an 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 of 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 system.

     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 Prophet, 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 2314).

     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 devices (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 Amendment.

     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 stolen property by wire  in something
purporting to be a "publication."

     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 a 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 courts."

     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 intimate.

     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 denizen of the digital criminal under-
ground, was a 36-year-old Canadian woman, convicted and jailed for telecommu-
nications 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," special-
ized 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 Union.

     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 fellow 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 computers."

     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 crooks.

     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 "Summercons."

     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

     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 figure 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:

     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 $129.

     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

     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; in fact it provoked open scorn and a torrent of

     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 raid had not been "theft," but was
better understood as illicit copying.

     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 person 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, party 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 stockholder.

     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 free 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

     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 team.

     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

     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 search 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 itself.

                                 ==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 requirements.

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 PSAP    (1004 Section K,
L, M) o  Network configuration o  Any vendor information (name, telephone
number, equipment)

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 deletions.

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 definition.

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 Implementa-
tion Team to set up guidelines for and to secure service commitments of
interfacing organizations.  A SSC/MAC supervisor should chair this subcommit-
tee and include the following organizations:

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 host troubles         - 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
circuits 5) Installation and Maintenance (SSIM/I&M)         - Repair and
maintenance of PSAP equipment and Telco owned sets 6) Minicomputer Mainte-
nance 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

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 resolution.

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
also 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 responsibili-
ty 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 parts.

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 E911 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

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 number)     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 subcommittee.

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 isolated.

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

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 to 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 tester 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 on every ANI

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 is 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 screens.

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 required.

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

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 Terms.              
              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
it about using a personal computer or a modem for any purpose at all, good or

     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 *people.*

      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 differentia-
tion" 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 jargon.)

     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 don't understand."

     "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 material 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 distribut-
ing 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

     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 trapper.

     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 intentionally 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 first 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

     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, photo-
graphs, 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" "approxi-
mately $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 supervi-
sion.  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 vindicated.

     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

     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 honor.

     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, Massachusetts.


     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 and
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. Nevertheless, 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 libertarian 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
had 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 well 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

     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 damages 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 centuries 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 simulation.

     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 struggle).

     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 PARKING DURING DECLARED SNOW 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

     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 it could easily break your
foot, but it was state-of-the-art computation in the 1940s.   (It would take
exactly 157,184 of 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 wiring.

     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 interest-
ed," 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 -- if 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 Enlighten-
ment 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
who 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 tax.

     "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 think I can help
you, I've been listening, this is what you need to 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 says.

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

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

     "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 transfor-
mation in cyberspace politics.  In its first 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, and 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 involve-
ments  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 carry
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 editorials."

     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,
'IP 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 that 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 the 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

     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 the 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* there
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 empowerment."

     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"

     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

     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 extraordinarily 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 narrow. "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 of 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 attic 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 their newly installed Macintosh System 7
software.  The next day is Saturday.  EFF is closed.  I pay a few visits to
points 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 John 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 telephone. 
"BIRTHPLACE OF THE TELEPHONE," it 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, slowly, 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 ENGLAND TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY -- 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

     "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 single 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 politics.

     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 1983.

     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 Roundtable.

     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 journal-
ist, 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- the- 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 later.


     "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 death; 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

     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 score 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, this 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 of 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 hackers,
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 so 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. All 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 *defen-
dants.*"   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 actually blushes with pleasure.

     Neidorf has grown up a lot in the past year.  The kid is 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 Congressman.

     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 besides, 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 PROSECUTING COMPUTER CRIME!  You
can put your 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
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

     "I also think you're quaint, Dorothy," I say, novelist to the rescue,
the journo gift of gab...  She is neat and dapper 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

     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, a 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 measures...

     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 criminal's 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 simulated.

     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 help.

     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 this 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 players 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 multimedia, 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 1993, 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, was 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 it, while AT&T,
by contrast, was boldly speculating on the possibilities of personal
communicators and hedging its bets with investments in handwritten interfac-
es.  In 1990 AT&T had 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 billion 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 not even exist, had no advertising budget at all.  And yet,
almost below the level of governmental and corporate awareness, the 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 passwords seemed rather a waste of

     By 1993, there had not been a solid, knock 'em down, panic-striking,
teenage-hacker  computer-intrusion scandal in 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 clear 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 of boards had fully doubled since Operation
Sundevil in 1990. The 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 to be obscure.

     The specter of cyberspace in the late 1980s, of outwitted authorities
trembling in fear before teenage hacker whiz- kids, 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
children, the digital child pornographer.  "Operation Longarm,"  a child-
pornography computer raid carried out by the previously little- known
cyberspace rangers of the U.S. Customs Service, was almost the size of
Operation Sundevil, but received very little 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 its brief moment in the sun of publicity, and then
vanished utterly. 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 the
Chicago Computer Fraud and Abuse Task Force.  But the life of 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 finger- hackers sold,
and still sell, stolen long-distance phone service to a captive clientele of
illegal aliens in New York City. This clientele is desperate to call home,
yet as a group, illegal aliens have few legal means of obtaining standard
phone service, since their very presence in the United States is against the
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 single- 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 stolen 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 crime
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. They provided a service no one else would
give to a clientele with little to lose.

     With such a vast supply of electronic crime  at hand, Don Delaney
rocketed from a background in homicide to teaching telecom crime at FLETC in
less than three years.  Few can rival Delaney's hands-on, street-level
experience in phone fraud. Anyone in 1993 who still believes telecommunica-
tions crime to be something rare and arcane should have a few words with Mr
Delaney.  Don Delaney has also written two fine essays, on 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 able 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 gotten back any of his property
from the seizure raids of March 1, 1990.  Neither has the Mentor, who is
still the managing editor of Steve Jackson Games.

     Nor has Robert Izenberg, who has suspended his court struggle to get his
machinery back.  Mr Izenberg has calculated that his $20,000 of equipment
seized in 1990 is, in 1993, worth $4,000 at most.  The missing software, also
gone out his door, was long ago replaced.   He might, he says, sue for the
sake of principle, but he feels that the people who seized his machinery 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 worthless 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 on March 12, 1993,
just over three years after the federal raid on his enterprise.   Thanks to
the delaying tactics available through the legal doctrine of "qualified
immunity," Jackson was tactically forced to drop his suit against the
individuals William Cook, Tim Foley, Barbara Golden and Henry Kluepfel.  
(Cook, Foley, Golden and Kluepfel did, however, testify during the trial.)

     The Secret Service fought vigorously in the case, battling Jackson's
lawyers right down the line, on the (mostly previously untried) legal turf of
the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Privacy Protection Act of
1980.  The Secret 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 inside 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, but only electronic mail that was
quietly sitting on a disk inside Jackson's computer.  They also claimed that
USSS agents hadn't read any of the private mail on Illuminati; and anyway,
even supposing that they had, they were allowed to do that by 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 electronic law, but by the fact that
the Secret Service could have avoided almost all the consequent trouble
simply by giving Jackson his computers back in short order.   The Secret
Service easily could 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 the 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 have computers.  Golden and Foley
claimed that they had both never even heard of the Privacy Protection Act. 
Cook had heard of the Act, but he'd decided on his own that the Privacy
Protection Act had nothing to do with Steve Jackson.

     The Jackson case was also a very politicized trial, both sides
deliberately angling for a long-term legal precedent that would stake-out big
claims for their interests in cyberspace. Jackson and his EFF advisors tried
hard to establish that the 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 Secret Service's attorneys
argued boldly that the contents of an electronic bulletin board have no more
expectation of privacy than a heap of postcards.  In the final analysis, very
little was firmly nailed down.  Formally, the legal rulings in the Jackson
case apply only in the federal Western District of Texas. It was, however,
established that these were real civil- liberties issues that powerful people
were prepared to go to the courthouse over; the seizure of bulletin board
systems, though 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 offended board users.  And Steve
Jackson, rather than owning the single-line bulletin board system
"Illuminati" seized in 1990, now rejoices in possession of a huge
privately-owned Internet node, "," with dozens of phone-lines on its 
own T-1 trunk.

     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 seems 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 WELL
are now taking a decided back-seat to the current hot topic in digital civil
liberties, unbreakable public-key encryption for 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 the computer and
telecommunications industry.  EFF's pro- encryption lobby and
anti-wiretapping initiative were especially impressive, successfully
assembling a herd of highly variegated industry camels under the same EFF
tent, in open and powerful opposition to the electronic ambitions of the FBI
and the NSA.

     EFF had transmuted at light-speed from an insurrection to an institu-
tion.  EFF Co-Founder Mitch Kapor once again sidestepped the bureaucratic
consequences of his own success, by remaining in Boston and adapting the role
of EFF guru and gray eminence.   John Perry Barlow, for his part, left
Wyoming, 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.
However, no amount of public uproar seemed to swerve the "quaint" Dr. Denning
in the slightest.  She not only made up her own mind, she made it up in
public and then stuck to her guns.

     In 1993, the stalwarts of the Masters of Deception, Phiber 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, facing the possibility of ten years in
jail, he finally did so.  He was 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 repaying 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 leaving
prison.  He has lost contact with Prophet and Leftist. Unfortunately, so have
I, though not through lack of honest effort.

     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 his share of time in the company of attorneys,
he's come to think that maybe an MBA would be more to the point.   He still
owes 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 married.

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

     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 are 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 still vigorously prosecuting electronic racketeering in
Phoenix, Arizona.

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

     As for Bruce Sterling... well *8-).  I thankfully abandoned 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 *The Magazine of  Fantasy and Science Fiction.*

     I like life better on the far side of the boundary between fantasy and
reality;  but I've come to recognize that reality has an unfortunate  way of
annexing fantasy for its own purposes. 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 life.

     It wouldn't be hard to find material for another book on 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, far more than can be adequately covered by the tiny, though
growing, cadre of network-literate reporters.  I do wish I could do more work
on this topic, because the various people of cyberspace are an element of our
society that definitely requires sustained study and attention.

     But there's only one of me, and I have a lot on my mind, 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 real 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

     The electronic landscape changes with astounding speed. We are living
through the fastest technological transformation 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 years. 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 ever 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
subject header: SUB CuD and a message that says:  SUB CuD your name    
your.full.internet@address).  I also read Jack Rickard's bracingly iconoclas-
tic *Boardwatch  Magazine* for print news of the BBS and online community. 
And, needless to say, I read *Wired,* the first magazine of the 1990s that
actually looks and acts like it really belongs in this decade.  There are
other ways 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 found there.  I think it is a worthwhile act to let this work go

     From thence, one's bread floats out onto the dark waters of cyberspace,
only to return someday, tenfold.  And of course, 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