The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier
The AT&T long-distance network crashes, and millions of calls go unanswered. A computer hacker reprograms a switching station, and calls to a Florida probation office are shunted to a New York phone-sex hotline. An underground computer bulletin board publishes a pilfered BellSouth document on the 911 emergency system, making it available to anyone who dials up. How did so much illicit power reach the hands of an undisciplined few - and what should be done about it? You are about to descend into a strange netherworld - one that sprang into existence when computers were first connected to telephones. This place has no physical location; it exists only in the networks that bind together its population. Like any frontier, it is home to a wide range of personalities, from legitimate computer professionals to those known only by their noms de net; denizens like Knight Lightning, Leftist, Compu-Phreak, Major Havoc, and Silver Spy; groups like the Lords of Chaos, Phantom Access Associates, Shadow Brotherhood, and the Coalition of Hi-Tech Pirates. This is not normal space, but "cyberspace". And if you use a computer, cyberspace is moving inexorably closer to you with each passing day. Your guide on this journey is bestselling science fiction author and longtime computer user Bruce Sterling, who was galvanized into action following the massive "hacker crackdowns" of 1990, in which law enforcement officers executed search warrants across the country against lawbreakers - and suspected lawbreakers - in the computer underground. In The Hacker Crackdown, Sterling - respected by hackers, law officers, and civil libertarians alike - uses his unique reportorial access and his considerable powers as anovelist to weave a startling narrative that informs, compels, and appalls. Sterling has researched all corners of this challenging and controversial new world for this book. In it we meet outlaws and cops, bureaucrats and rebels, geniuses and grifters: all denizens of a dazzling electronic land, a vast and fascinating new frontier equally threatened by outlawry and government intervention. The Hacker Crackdown is a laser-sharp dispatch from the edge of technology - and the edge of freedom.