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Podcast Episode: Chronicling Online Communities

EFFector - Volume 2, Issue 2 - Hacker Mania Continues! Excerpts from the Geraldo Circus


EFFector - Volume 2, Issue 2 - Hacker Mania Continues! Excerpts from the Geraldo Circus

########## ########## ########## |                    THE GREAT WORK:|
########## ########## ########## |               By John Perry Barlow|
####       ####       ####       |                                   |
########   ########   ########   |            HACKER MANIA CONTINUES!|
########   ########   ########   |   Excerpts from the Geraldo Circus|
####       ####       ####       |                                   |
########## ####       ####       | DID MORRIS "GET WHAT HE DESERVED?"|
########## ####       ####       |               A Letter to InfoWeek|
EFFector Online           November 27,1992         Volume 2, Number 2|

THE GREAT WORK by John Perry Barlow
MCI FRIENDS & FAMILY by Craig Neidorf


                         The Great Work
          For the January, 1992  Electronic Frontier column
                 in Communications of the ACM
                      by John Perry Barlow

Earlier in this century, the French philosopher and anthropologist
Teilhard de Chardin wrote that evolution was an ascent toward what
he called "The Omega Point," when all consciousness would converge
into unity, creating the collective organism of Mind. When I first
encountered the Net, I had forgotten my college dash through
Teilhard's Phenomenon of Man. It took me a while to remember where
I'd first encountered the idea of this immense and gathering

Whether or not it represents Teilhard's vision, it seems clear we
are about some Great Work here...the physical wiring of collective
human consciousness. The idea of connecting every mind to every
other mind in full-duplex broadband is one which, for a hippie
mystic like me, has clear theological implications, despite the
ironic fact that most of the builders are bit wranglers and
protocol priests, a proudly prosaic lot. What Thoughts will all
this assembled neurology, silicon, and optical fiber Think?

Teilhard was a Roman Catholic priest who never tried to forge a
SLIP connection, so his answers to that question were more
conventionally Christian than mine, but it doesn't really matter.
We'll build it and then we'll find out.

And however obscure our reasons, we do seem determined to build it.
Since 1970, when the Arpanet was established, it has become, as
Internet, one of the largest and fastest growing creations in the
history of human endeavor. Internet is now expanding as much as 25%
a month, a curve which plotted on a linear trajectory would put
every single human being online in a few decades.

Or, more likely, not. Indeed, what we seem to be making at the
moment is something which will unite only the corporate, military,
and academic worlds, excluding the ghettos, hick towns, and suburbs
where most human minds do their thinking. We are rushing toward a
world in which there will be Knows, constituting the Wired Mind,
and the Know Nots, who will count for little but the labor and
consumption necessary to support it.

If that happens, the Great Work will have failed, since,
theological issues aside, its most profound consequence should be
the global liberation of everyone's speech. A truly open and
accessible Net will become an environment of expression which no
single government could stifle.

When Mitch Kapor and I first founded the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, we were eager to assure that the rights established by
the First Amendment would be guaranteed in Cyberspace. But it
wasn't long before we realized that in such borderless terrain, the
First Amendment is a local ordinance.

While we haven't abandoned a constitutional strategy in assuring
free digital commerce, we have also come to recognize that, as
Mitch put it, "Architecture is politics." In other words, if the
Net is ubiquitous, affordable, easy to access, tunnelled with
encrypted passageways, and based on multiple competitive channels,
no local tyranny will be very effective against it.  

A clear demonstration of this principle was visible during the
recent coup in the Soviet Union. Because of the decentralized and
redundant nature of digital media, it was impossible for the
geriatric plotters in the Kremlin to suppress the delivery of
truth. Faxes and e-mail messages kept the opposition more current
with developments than the KGB, with its hierarchical information
systems, could possibly be. Whatever legal restraints the aspiring
dictators might have imposed were impotent against the natural
anarchy of the Net.

Well, I could have myself a swell time here soliloquizing about
such notions as the Great Work or the assurance of better living
through electronics, but all great journeys proceed by tedious
increments. Though the undertaking is grand, it is the nuts and
bolts...the regulatory and commercial politics, the setting of
standards, the technical acceleration of bits...that matter. They
are so complex and boring as to erode the most resolute enthusiasm,
but if they don't get done, It doesn't.

So we need to be thinking about what small steps must be undertaken
today. Even while thinking globally, we must begin, as the bumper
sticker fatuously reminds us, by acting locally. Which is why I
will focus the remainder of this column on near-term conditions,
opportunities, and preferred courses of action within the
boundaries of the United States.

To a large extent, America is the Old Country of Cyberspace. The
first large interconnected networks were developed here as was much
of the supporting technology. Leaving aside the estimable French
Minitel system, Cyberspace is, in is present condition, highly
American in culture and language. Though fortunately this is
increasingly less the case, much of the infrastructure of the Net
still sits on American soil. For this reason, the United States
remains the best place to enact the policies upon which the global
electronic future will be founded.

In the opinion of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the first
order of business is the creation of what we call the National
Public Network...named with the hope that the word "National"
should become obsolete as soon as possible. By this, we mean a
ubiquitous digital web, accessible to every American in practical,
economic, and functional terms.  This network would convey, in
addition to traditional telephone service, e-mail, software, faxes,
such multimedia forms of communication as "video postcards," and,
in time, High Definition Television as well as other media as yet
barely imagined.

Its services should be extended by a broad variety of providers,
including the existing telephone, cable, publishing, broadcast, and
digital network companies. Furthermore, if its architecture is
appropriately open to free enterprise, we can expect the emergence
of both new companies and new kinds of companies. Properly
designed, the National Public Network will constitute a market for
goods and services which will make the $100 billion a year personal
computer business look like a precursor to the Real Thing.

As a first step, we are proposing that Congress and state agencies
establish regulatory mechanisms and incentives that will:

   Establish an open platform for information services by speedy
nation-wide deployment of "Personal ISDN".

   Ensure competition in local exchange services in order to
provide equitable access to communications media.

   Promote free expression by reaffirming principles of common

   Foster innovations that make networks and information services
easier to use.

   Protect personal privacy.

That's a tall bill, most of which I will have to take up in
subsequent columns. I will focus now on the first two.

Personal ISDN

For the last two years, the Internet community has generally
regarded Senator Albert Gore's proposed National Research and
Education Network as the next major component of the Great Work.
This has been regrettable. NREN, as presently envisioned, would do
little to enable the settlement of ordinary folks in Cyberspace.
Rather it would make plusher accommodations for the "mountain men"
already there.

Actually, NREN has been and may continue to be useful as a "policy
testbed." By giving Congress a reason to study such legal connundra
as unregulated common carriage and the intermingling of public and
private networks, NREN may not be a waste of time and focus.  But,
as of this writing, it has become a political football. If the
House version (H656) of the High Performance Computing Act passes
with Dick Gephart's "Buy American" provisions in it, the
Administration will surely veto it, and we'll be back to Square

Meanwhile,  ISDN, a technology available today, has languished.
ISDN or Integrated Services Digital Network is a software-based
system based on standard digital switching. Using ISDN, an ordinary
copper phone line can provide two full-duplex 64 kbs digital
channels. These can be used independently,  concurrently, and
simultaneously for voice and/or data. (Actually,  it's a bit more
complex than that. Garden variety ISDN contains three channels. The
third is a 16 kbs "signal" channel, used for dialing and other

It isn't new technology, and, unlike fiber and wireless systems, it
requires little additional infrastructure beyond the digital
switches, which most telcos, under an FCC mandate, have installed
anyway or will install soon. Even at the currently languid
development rate, the telcos estimate that 60% of the nation's
phones could be ISND ready in two years.

While those who live their lives at the end of a T1 connection may
consider 64 kbs to be a glacial transfer rate, the vast majority of
digital communications ooze along at a pace twenty-seven times
slower, or 2400 baud. We believe that the ordinary modem is both
too slow and too user-hostile to create "critical mass" in the
online market.

We also believe that ISDN, whatever its limitations, is rapid
enough to jump start the greatest free market the world has ever
known. Widespread deployment of ISDN, combined with recent
developments in compression technology, could break us out of what
Adobe's John Warnock calls the "ascii jail", delivering to the home
graphically rich documents, commercial software objects, and real-
time multimedia. Much of the information which is now
inappropriately wedged into physical objects...whether books,
shrink-wrapped software, videos, or CD's...would enter the virtual
world, its natural home. Bringing consumers to Cyberspace would
have the same invigorating effect on online technology which the
advent of the PC had on computing.

We admit that over the long term only fiber has sufficient
bandwidth for the future we imagine. But denying "civilian" access
to Cyberspace until the realization of a megabillion buck end-to-
end fiber network leaves us like the mainframe users in the 60's
waiting for the supercomputer. The real juice came not from the Big
Iron but from user adaptable consumer "toys" like the Apple II and
the original PC.

Just as consumers were oblivious to the advantages of FAX
technology until affordable equipment arrived, we believe there is
a great sleeping demand for both ISDN and the tools which will
exploit it. And then there's the matter of affording the full fiber
national network. Until the use of digital services has become as
common as, say, the use of VCR's, Joe Sixpack's willingness to help
pay fiber's magnificent cost will be understandably restrained.    

Given that most personal modem users are unaware that ISDN even
exists while the old elite of Internet grossly underestimates its
potential benefits, it's not surprising that the telcos have been
able to claim lack of consumer demand in their reluctance to make
it available. A cynic might also point to its convenience as a
hostage in their struggles with Judge Green and the newspaper
publishers. They wanted into the information business and something
like "Allow us to be information providers  or we starve this
technology," has been one of their longest levers.

This issue should now be moot. Judge Greene ruled in July that the
telcos could start selling information. They got what they wanted.
Now we must make them honor their side of the bargain.

Unfortunately it still seems they will only let us use their
playing field if they can be guaranteed to win the game. To this
end, they have managed to convince several state Public Utility
Commissions that they should be allowed to charge tariffs for ISDN
delivery which are grotesquely disproportionate to its actual
costs. In Illinois, for example, customers are paying 10 to 12
cents a minute for an ISDN connection. This, despite evidence that
the actual telco cost of a digitally switched phone connection,
whether voice or data, runs at about a penny a minute. Even in the
computer business, 1200% is not an ethical gross margin. And yet
the telcos claim that more appropriate pricing would require
pensioners to pay for the plaything of a few computer geeks. 

Unfortunately, the computer industry has been either oblivious to
the opportunities which ISDN presents or reluctant to enter the
regulatory fray before Congress, the FCC, and the PUC's. The latter
is understandable. National telecommunications policy has long been
an in-house project of AT&T. It is brain-glazingly prolix by design
and is generally regarded as a game you can't win unless you're on
the home team. The AT&T breakup changed all that, but the industry
has been slow to catch on.

Assurance of Local Competition

In the wake of Ma Bell's dismemberment, the world is a richer and
vastly more complex place. Who provides what services to whom, and
under what conditions, is an open question in most local venues.
Even with a scorecard you can't tell the players since many of them
don't exist yet.

Legislation is presently before the Edward Markey's (D-MA)
Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance (a subset of the
House Energy and Commerce Committee) which would regulate the entry
of the Regional Bells into the information business. The committee
is correctly concerned that the RBOC's will use their
infrastructure advantage to freeze out information providers. In
other words, rather as Microsoft uses DOS and Windows.

Somewhat hysterical over this prospect, the Newspaper Publishers
Association and the cable television companies have seen to the
introduction of a House Bill 3515 by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) which
would essentially cripple telco delivery of information services
for the next decade. The bill would bar existing telephone service
providers from information provision until 50% of subscribers in a
given area had access to alternative infrastructures.

Of course neither approach would serve the public interest. The
telcos have had so little experience with competition that we can't
expect them to welcome it. And while eventually there will be local
phone connection competition through wireless technologies, it's
silly to wait until that distant day.

We need a bill which would require the telcos to make ISDN open and
affordable to all information providers, conditioning their entry
into the information business to the willing delivery of such

The computer industry has an opportunity to break the gridlock
between the telcos and the publishers. By representing consumer
interests, which are, in this case, equivalent to our own, we can
shape legislation which would be to everyone's benefit. What's been
missing in the debate has been technical expertise which serves
neither of the existing contenders.

Finally, the Public Utilities Commissions seem unaware of the
hidden potential demand for digital services to the home. What on
earth would a housewife want with a 64 kbs data line? This is
another area in which both consumers and computer companies need to
be heard from.

What You Can Do

Obviously, the first task upon entering a major public campaign is
informing oneself and others. In this, many Communications readers
have a great advantage. Most of us have access to such online fora
as RISKS digest, Telecom Digest, and the EFFectors regularly
published in the EFF's newsgroup I strongly
recommend that those interested in assisting this effort begin
monitoring those newsgroups. I'm tempted to tell you to join the
EFF and support our Washington lobbying efforts, but I probably
abuse this podium with our message too much as it is.

Once you're up to speed on these admittedly labyrinthine issues,
there are three levers you can start leaning against.

First, Congress will be actively studying these matters for the
remainder of the year and is eagerly soliciting viewpoints other
than those self-servingly extended by the telcos and the
publishers. Rep. Markey said recently in a letter to the EFF,

"Please let me and my staff know what policies you and
others in the computer industry believe would best
serve the public interest in creating a reasonably
priced, widely available network, in which competition
is open and innovation is rewarded. I also want to
learn what lessons from the computer industry over the
past 10 to 15 years should apply to the current debate
on structuring the information and communication
networks of the future."

Second, it is likely that the Public Utility Commission in your
state will be taking up the question of ISDN service and rates
sometime in the next year. They will likely be grateful for your

Finally, you can endeavor to make your own company aware of the
opportunities which ISDN deployment will provide it as well as the
political obstacles to its provision. No matter what region of the
computer business employs your toils, ISDN will eventually provide
a new market for its products.

Though these matters are still on the back pages of public
awareness, we are at the threshold of one of the great passages in
the history of both computing and telecommunications. This is the
eve of the electronic frontier's first land rush, a critical moment
for The Great Work.

Pinedale, Wyoming
Friday, November 15, 1991


                   GETTING WHAT HE DESERVED?
              An Open Letter to Information Week
                        by Mike Godwin

Information Week
600 Community Drive
Manhasset, N.Y. 11030

Dear editors:
Philip Dorn's Final Word column in the November 11 issue of Information 
Week ("Morris Got What He Deserved") is, sadly, only the latest example 
of the kind of irrational and uninformed discourse that too often colors 
public-policy discussions about computer crime. It is a shame that Dorn 
did not think it worthwhile to get his facts straight--if he had, he 
might have written a very different column.

The following are only a few of Dorn's major factual errors:       He 
writes that "It is sophistry to claim [Internet Worm author Robert] 
Morris did not know what he was doing--his mistake was being slovenly." 
Yet even the most casual reading of the case, and of most of the news 
coverage of the case, makes eminently clear that the sophists Dorn 
decries don't exist--no one has argued that Morris didn't know what he 
was doing. This was never even an issue in the Morris case.      Dorn 
also writes that "Any effort to break into a system by an unauthorized 
person, or one authorized only to do certain things only to do certain 
things, should per se be illegal." This is also the position of the 
Electronic Frontier Foundation, which Dorn nevertheless criticizes for 
being "out of step with the industry." Yet the issue of whether 
unauthorized computer access should be illegal also was never an issue 
in the Morris case.

Dorn writes that "Those defending Morris squirm when trying to explain 
why his actions were harmless." No doubt such defenders would squirm, if 
they existed. But none of the people or organizations Dorn quotes has 
ever claimed that his actions were harmless. This too was never an issue 
in the Morris case.

Dorn makes much of the fact that Morris received only "a trivial fine 
and community service." But the focus both in the trial and in its appeal 
was never on the severity of Morris's sentence, but on whether the law 
distinguished between malicious computer vandalism and accidental 
damaged caused by an intrusion. EFF's position has been that the law should be 
construed to make such a distinction.

Dorn writes that "To say that those who intrude and do no lasting damage 
are harmless is to pervert what Congress and those who drafted the 
legislation sought to do: penalize hackers." Indeed, this would be a 
perversion, if anyone were making that argument. Unfortunately, Dorn 
seems unwilling to see the arguments that were made.      "It is 
sickening," writes Dorn, "to hear sobbing voices from the ACLU, the 
gnashing of teeth from Mitch Kapor's Electronic Frontier Foundation 
(EFF), and caterwauling from the Computer Professionals for Social 
Responsibility--all out of step with the industry. They seem so 
frightened that the law may reach them that they elected to defend 
Morris's indefensible actions." Dorn's distortions here verge on libel, 
since we neither defend Morris's actions nor are motivated out of fear 
that the law will apply to us. Instead, we are concerned, as all 
citizens should be, that the law make appropriate distinctions between 
intentional and unintentional harms in the computer arena, just as it
does in all other realms of human endeavor.

A more glaring factual error occurs one paragraph later, when he writes 
that "The Supreme Court says intruders can be convicted under the law 
because by definition an intrusion shows an intent to do harm. That 
takes care of Morris." The Supreme Court has never said any such thing--after 
all, the Court declined to hear the case. Even the lower courts in the 
Morris case made no such claim.

What is far more "sickening" than even Dorn's imaginary versions of our 
concerns about the Morris case is his irresponsibility in making 
unsubstantiated charges that even a cursory familiarity with the facts 
could have prevented. In the course of his article, Dorn manages to get 
one thing right--he writes that "The law is not perfect--it needs 
clarification and reworking." This has been our position all along, and 
it is the basis for our support of Morris's appeal. It is also public 
knowledge--Dorn could have found out our position if he had bothered to 
ask us.

Mike Godwin
Staff Counsel


                     MCI FRIENDS & FAMILY:
                    From Problem To Solution
                       by Craig Neidorf

An alarming situation was brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago. 

A friend called me up and said, "Hey did you know I can get your MCI 
Friends & Family calling list?" I asked him what he was talking about 
and he explained by use of a demonstration. He proceeded to three-way us to 
the 800-FRIENDS (800-374-3637) We were greeted by an automatic 
electronic messaging system:

"Welcome to MCI Friends & Family Circle Update line!" 

"Please enter your telephone number beginning with your area code."

(He did)

"Thank you."

"One moment please while we access your account." 

"To verify your MCI account, Please enter your 5-digit zip code."

(He did)

"Congratulations and thank you for being one of our valued friends and 
family customers."

"Your calling circle consists of 5 members." 

"If you would like to inquire about a specific member or nominee to your 
circle press one (1)."

"To hear the status of each person in your calling circle press two 

(He choose 2)

"The following people are active members of your calling circle. You 
will receive a 20% discount every time you place a call to them.

"Your friend at (XXX)YYY-ZZZZ"
"The person at (XXX)YYY-ZZZZ"
"Your sister at (XXX)YYY-ZZZZ"
"Your mother at (XXX)YYY-ZZZZ"
"Your friend at (XXX)YYY-ZZZZ"

"Your home number is active on your circle so that you will save 20% 
when are traveling and call home." 

"To inquire about a specific circle member press one(1)." 

"To speak to an MCI operator press zero (0)." 

We played with this for a few minutes and then hung up. I could not 
believe what he had found or the potential for invasion of privacy 
against MCI customers that this FRIENDS program created. 

My friend told me that the FRIENDS line also carried status about other 
people you may have chosen, but are not actually on your list. In one 
case, he had found that the FRIENDS automated service even identified a 
number that belonged to another friend's mother in Spain. 

How did you access this information on people? Just by entering their 
telephone number and zip code. After that, their calling list is an open 

I contacted MCI Customer Service at 800-444-3333. I spoke with a 
supervisor named Rose Acri who was very charming, but initially of 
little assistance. She took down my name and number and told me she would pass 
this information on to Alan Postell, a manager at MCI who could help me. 
I was skeptical.

I received a call the next evening from Mr. Postell who was very 
interested in learning about and correcting the situation. He took down 
lots of information about my concerns and said he was sending a full 
report to Julie Smith at the corporate office who is in charge of the 
Circle program. My advice was to use a unique identifier like part of 
the billing identification number found only on the bill the customer 
receives in the mail. It was much better protection than a zip code. 

I was still a little worried that only a few voices may not be enough to 
gain the attention of a major corporation like MCI, but I waited. The 
news circulated across RISKS and Telecom Digest and finally it attracted 
the attention of Emmanuel Goldstein (the editor of 2600 Magazine, 
published in Long Island, New York). Emmanuel hosts a radio program on 
WBAI in New York called "Off The Hook." He proceeded to demonstrate 
MCI's problem very graphically by putting the MCI Friends number on the air 
and calling it up. This incident brought even more attention on the issue 
and along with hundreds of other calls, finally forced MCI to realize that 
changes were necessary.

On November 6, 1991, MCI changed its policy. You can still call 1-800- 
FRIENDS and enter your telephone number, but now instead of your zip 
code, the system asks you for the last three digits of your billing 
identification number. Mr. Postell called me on November 8th to inform 
me about these changes and thank me since it was my idea that they decided 
to implement. Additionally, he claimed that very soon, customers will 
also be able to enter the telephone numbers of people they believe are 
on the list and then the computer service will respond by telling them if 
this is the case.

I was very impressed that MCI had changed its policy with relatively 
little argument. I would still prefer something longer than 3 digits of 
the billing identification number, but I can live with it. 


                      HACKER MANIA CONTINUES!
                 How It Wasn't Told Over the Tube

In early October, Geraldo Rivera's "up market" TV show took a crack at 
Hackers.  A mish-mosh of disinformation, lurid film clips, and 
unrestrained ignorance, the show demonstrated once again how much work 
is left for all of us to do in educating the media and the general public 
to the realities, rather than the fantasies, that are engendered through 
computer-based communications.

For those who might have missed the "report", here's a transcript of key 
sections of the show.

Excerpts from: _Now_It_Can_Be_Told_: "Mad Hackers' Key Party" 
Hosted by Geraldo Rivera (Sept. 30, 1991) 

Geraldo: I'm Geraldo Rivera. And now, It can be told. 


Geraldo: Joining us now via satellite from Oakland, CA is the Assistant 
District Attorney Don Ingraham ... for Alameda County and he has been 
prosecuting computer hackers for years. 


Geraldo: Don, how do you respond to the feeling common among so many 
hackers that what they're doing is a public service; they're exposing 
the flaws in our security systems?

Don: Right, and just like the people who rape a coed on campus are 
exposing the flaws in our nation's higher education security. It's 
absolute nonsense. They are doing nothing more than showing off to each 
other, and satisfying their own appetite to know something that is not 
theirs to know.

Geraldo: Don, you stand by, Craig as well. And when we come back we'll 
hear more from prosecutor Ingraham and from, I guess his archrival here, 
the Mad Hacker Craig Neidorf. 

Geraldo: We're back with Craig Neidorf, a former University of Missouri 
student who ran a widely distributed electronic newsletter for computer 
hackers. He is so proud of being America's Most Wanted computer hacker 
that he has put together this very impressive scrapbook.

Geraldo: Knight Lightning I guess that was your code? 

KL: It was my editor handle.

Geraldo: That's your handle. OK. And from Oakland, CA we are talking 
with the Assistant District Attorney Don Ingraham, who is hard driven, you 
might say, to put people like Craig behind bars. Don, do you think 
Craig's lucky that he's not behind bars right now? 

Don: Yes, I think he's extraordinarily lucky. He was part of a 
conspiracy, in my opinion, to take property that wasn't his and share it 
with others. They charged him with interstate transport of stolen 
property - couldn't make the threshold -and it came out that it had been 
compromised by, unfortunately, released by another Bellcore subsidiary. 
But was certainly not through any doing of HIS that he is a free man.

Geraldo: So you think that his activities stink, then. 

Don: Absolutely. No Question about it.

Geraldo: Craig, you wanna respond? Are you doing something for the 
greater good of society?

KL: Well I was merely publishing a newsletter. I didn't go out and find 
this document. Rather it was sent to me. In many ways it could be 
compared to Daniel Ellsberg sending the Pentagon Papers to the New York 

Geraldo: Do you figure it that way Don? Is he like Daniel Ellsberg? 

Don: No, Ellsberg went to court to deal with it. Daniel Ellsberg's 
release of the Pentagon Papers is the subject of a published court 
decision to point out it was a matter of national security and national 
interest. The E911 codes, which is the citizen's link to the police 
department are not a matter of national security. They're a matter of 
the central service to the community....... 

Geraldo: You broke into the 911 system? He broke into the 911 system!

KL: No, that's not correct. I never entered any 911 telephone system.

Don: I didn't say he entered into it. What I said was that he and Riggs 
conspired together to take a code that they knew was necessary to 911 
and to take it apart to see how it worked. They never had the owner's 
permission, they never asked for it. 

Geraldo: Alright, lemme ask you this.... 

KL: The court found that there was no conspiracy here. 

Geraldo: You were acquitted. You were vindicated at least from criminal 
responsibility. Lemme just quickly ask you this: hackers have been 
inside the White House computer. 

KL: Yes they have.

Geraldo: And they've been inside the Pentagon computer. 

KL: Yes.

Geraldo: And if Saddam Hussein hired some hackers whether they're from 
Holland or any other place, he could've gotten into these computers, 

KL: Presumably, he could've.

Geraldo: And gotten some valuable information. 

KL: It's definitely possible.

Geraldo: And you still think hackers are performing a public service? 

KL: That's not what I said. I think that those kind of activities are 
wrong. But by the same token, the teenagers, or some of the people here 
that are not performing malicious acts, while they should be punished 
should not be published as extreme as the law currently provides.

Geraldo: You're response to that Don?

Don: I don't think they're being punished very much at all. We're having 
trouble even taking away their gear. I don't know one of them has done 
hard time in a prison. The book, Hafner's book on _Cyberpunk_, points 
out that even Mitnick who is a real electronic Hannibal Lecter ... did not 
get near any of the punishment that what he was doing entitled him to.

Geraldo:  An electronic Hannibal Lecter. OK, stand by, we'll 
be back with more of this debate in a moment... 

Geraldo: Back with Craig Neidorf and prosecutor Don Ingraham. Craig, do 
you think hackers are voyeurs or are they potentially terrorists? 

KL: I think they resemble voyeurs more than terrorists. They are often 
times looking at places where they don't belong, but most hackers do not 
intend to cause any damage. 

Geraldo: Do you buy that Don?

Don: If they stopped at voyeurism they would be basically sociopathic, 
but not doing near the harm they do now. But they don't stop at looking, 
that's the point. They take things out and share them with others, and 
they are not being accountable and being responsible as to whom they are 
sharing this information. That is the risk.

Geraldo: Can they find out my credit rating? I know that's not a 
national security issue, but I'm concerned about it. 

Don: Piece of cake.

Geraldo: No problem.

Don: Assuming....

Geraldo: Go ahead. Assuming I have a credit rating...hahahah.... 

Don: Assume that the credit is not carried by someone who is using 
adequate security.

Geraldo: But you think Craig it's not problem. 

KL: I think it's no problem.

Geraldo: Give me quickly the worst case scenario. Say Abu Nidal had you 
working for him.

KL: I'm sorry?

Geraldo: Abu Nidal, notorious .....

KL: As far as your credit rating?

Geraldo: No, not as far as my credit rating.. The world, national 

KL: Well, hackers have gotten into computer systems owned by the 
government before. At this point they've never acknowledged that it was 
anything that was ever classified. But even some unclassified 
information could be used to the detriment of our country. 

Geraldo: Like the counter-terrorist strategy on January 15th, the day of 
the deadline expired in the Persian Gulf. 

KL: Perhaps if Saddam Hussein had somehow known for sure that we were 
going to launch an attack, it might have benefited him in some way, but 
I'm really not sure.

Geraldo: Don, worst case scenario, 30 seconds? 

Don: They wipe out our communications system. Rather easily done. Nobody 
talks to anyone else, nothing moves, patients don't get their medicine. 
We're on our knees.

Geraldo: What do you think of Craig, quickly, and people like him? 

Don: What do I think of Craig? I have a lot of respect for Craig, I 
think he's probably going to be an outstanding lawyer someday. But he is 
contributing to a disease, and a lack of understanding ethically, that 
is causing a lot of trouble.

Geraldo: One word answer. As the computer proliferate won't hackers also 
proliferate? Won't there be more and more people like you to deal with?

Knight Lightning: I think we're seeing a new breed of hacker. And some 
of them will be malicious.

Geraldo: Some of them will be malicious. Yes, well, that's it...for now. 
I'm Geraldo Rivera.



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