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The Hacker Crackdown: Law And Disorder On The Electronic Frontier Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1993
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Sterling begins his story at the birth of cyberspace: the invention of the telephone. We meet the first hackers--teenage boys hired as telephone operators--who used their technical mastery, low threshold for boredom, and love of pranks to wreak havoc across the phone lines. From phone-related hi-jinks, Sterling takes us into the broader world of hacking and introduces many of the culprits--some who are fighting for a cause, some who are in it for kicks, and some who are traditional criminals after a fast buck. Sterling then details the triumphs and frustrations of the people forced to deal with the illicit hackers and tells how they developed their own subculture as cybercops. Sterling raises the ethical and legal issues of online law enforcement by questioning what rights are given to suspects and to those who have private e-mail stored on suspects' computers. Additionally, Sterling shows how the online civil liberties movement rose from seemingly unlikely places, such as the counterculture surrounding the Grateful Dead. The Hacker Crackdown informs you of the issues surrounding computer crime and the people on all sides of those issues.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
was born in 1954. Best known for his ten science fiction
novels, he also writes short stories, book reviews,
design criticism, opinion columns, and introductions
for books ranging from Ernst Juenger to Jules Verne.
His nonfiction works include THE HACKER CRACKDOWN:
LAW AND DISORDER ON THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER (1992),
TOMORROW NOW: ENVISIONING THE NEXT FIFTY YEARS (2003),
and SHAPING THINGS (2005).
He is a contributing editor of WIRED magazine
and writes a weblog. During 2005,
he was the "Visionary in Residence" at Art Center
College of Design in Pasadena. In 2008 he
was the Guest Curator for the Share Festival
of Digital Art and Culture in Torino, Italy,
and the Visionary in Residence at the Sandberg
Instituut in Amsterdam. In 2011 he returned to
Art Center as "Visionary in Residence" to run
a special project on Augmented Reality.
He has appeared in ABC's Nightline, BBC's The Late Show,
CBC's Morningside, on MTV and TechTV, and in Time,
Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times,
Fortune, Nature, I.D., Metropolis, Technology Review,
Der Spiegel, La Stampa, La Repubblica, and many other venues.
Top Customer Reviews
Update of 31 May 08 to add links:
The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, Twentieth Anniversary Edition
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
Information Payoff: The Transformation of Work in the Electronic Age
Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace (Helix Books)
...Read more ›
Having said that, the book was still an interesting read, with plenty of background information. The civil liberties section was particularly interesting, especially when you consider where we are today on that matter; same old questions, even 6 years after this book was published.
In short: a tough read, but some interesting facts.
I found the last line of the book to be especially prescient: "It is the End of the Amateurs." This statement applies to offensive as well as defensive players in digital security. Consider the focus of THC: the hunt by law enforcement officials for, essentially, bit players in the digital underground. The offenders were basically joyriders (who no doubt caused plenty of headaches for security professionals) who didn't materially profit from their actions. The offenders also did not serve foreign masters for purposes of espionage. On the other side, many of the defenders were only discovering digital crime and pioneering incident response tradecraft in the heat of battle. In brief, THC is about amateur offenders vs amateur defenders. For the last five to ten years, digital security has been almost strictly a matter of professional offenders (criminal and state-sponsored) vs professional defenders (corporate, military, and improved law enforcement).
The bottom line is that anyone involved with digital security will enjoy reading The Hacker Crackdown.
The book is divided into four parts: crashing the system, the digital underground, law and order, and the Civil Libertarians. Mr. Sterling does a credible job explaining the telco systems and motivations and actions of the people on both sides of the issue - phone phreaks/hackers and law enforcement/district attorneys without succumbing to a lot of jargon or taking sides.
The book is replete with interesting accounts of Alexander Graham Bell and history of telephony, the origins of the Secret Service and its' early battles with "Boodlers", and the dissemination of the E911 document that came to cause grief to many people.
Reading this in 2006 and beyond will cause a few chuckles at his penchant for describing and drooling over advance systems (I have a real urge to drive down to the storage unit for my Commodore 64 and IBM clone), yet the events of the early hacker sub-culture remain relevant to anyone interested in computers, freedom and privacy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting book for a general overview of 1990s case studies regarding criminal activity related to phone phreaks, hackers, and Bell South/AT&T corporations. Read morePublished 3 months ago by a. d. kyles
In a time where Facebook is the principal way of on-line communication, this book shows us how it all began and the real meaning behind the term "hacker", which Hollywood... Read morePublished on August 20, 2013 by Eztigma
The author, Bruce Sterling, has made The Hacker Crackdown available freely in HTML format at mit.edu/hacker and gutenberg.org has it as well in a number of file formats. Enjoy!Published on April 14, 2013 by sansai
Bruce Sterling is a decent journalist. i enjoyed the book a lot. if you want to learn about this stuff from this time period this is a great read.Published on January 20, 2013 by D
Bruce Sterling wrote "The Hacker Crackdown" the year the internet went commercial, 1992, so before the internet as the average person knows it existed. Read morePublished on February 15, 2011 by mirasreviews
While being quite old, this book can still be an interesting read today if you are interested in the early days of the Hacker movement as we know it today or have fond memories of... Read morePublished on September 26, 2010 by Michael Kohl
its a great book at first its a little boring but after passing chapter2 its starts to get alot faster and better,i picked it up because iv been a computer geek since i was 8 and... Read morePublished on March 22, 2010 by Joe N.
This is a good book. I took it to mexico with me and read it on the beach.Published on February 9, 2010 by P. Murphy
A very lively, interesting, and well-written (by Bruce Sterling no less) summer read for those interested in the history of phone phreaking and computer exploration and mischief. Read morePublished on September 16, 2006 by B. Bush