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   Chemistry books, purchased by Pad long before he took any classes in

   the subject, just to satisfy his curiosity. Physics books. An

   oceanography textbook. A geology book bought after a visit to a cave

   excited his interest in the formation of rocks. Pad's mother, a

   nursing sister, and his father, an electronics engineer who tested

   gyros on aircraft, had always encouraged their children's interest in

   the sciences.

  

   The policeman returned those books to the shelves, only picking out

   the computer books, textbooks from programming and maths classes Pad

   had taken at a Manchester university. The officer carefully slid them

   inside plastic bags to be taken away as

   evidence.

  

   Then the police picked through Pad's music tapes--The Stone Roses,

   Pixies, New Order, The Smiths and lots of indie music from the

   flourishing Manchester music scene. No evidence of anything but an

   eclectic taste in music there.

  

   Another policeman opened Pad's wardrobe and peered inside. `Anything

   in here of interest?' he asked.

  

   `No,' Pad answered. `It's all over here.' He pointed to the box of

   computer disks.

  

   Pad didn't think there was much point in the police tearing the place

   to pieces, when they would ultimately find everything they wanted

   anyway. Nothing was hidden. Unlike the Australian hackers, Pad hadn't

   been expecting the police at all. Although part of the data on his

   hard drive was encrypted, there was plenty of incriminating evidence

   in the un-encrypted files.

  

   Pad couldn't hear exactly what his parents were talking about with the

   police in the other room, but he could tell they were calm. Why

   shouldn't they be? It wasn't as if their son had done anything

   terrible. He hadn't beaten someone up in a fist fight at a pub, or

   robbed anyone. He hadn't hit someone while drunk driving. No, they

   thought, he had just been fiddling around with computers. Maybe poking

   around where he shouldn't have been, but that was hardly a serious

   crime. They needn't worry. It wasn't as if he was going to prison or

   anything. The police would sort it all out. Maybe some sort of

   citation, and the matter would be over and done. Pad's mother even

   offered to make cups of tea for the police.

  

   One of the police struck up a conversation with Pad off to the side as

   he paused to drink his tea. He seemed to know that Pad was on the

   dole, and with a completely straight face, he said, `If you wanted a

   job, why didn't you just join the police?'

  

   Pad paused for a reality check. Here he was being raided by nearly a

   dozen law enforcement officers--including representatives from BT and

   Scotland Yard's computer crimes unit--for hacking hundreds of

   computers and this fellow wanted to know why he hadn't just become a

   copper?

  

   He tried not to laugh. Even if he hadn't been busted, there is no way

   he would ever have contemplated joining the police. Never in a million

   years. His family and friends, while showing a pleasant veneer of

   middle-class orderliness, were fundamentally anti-establishment. Many

   knew that Pad had been hacking, and which sites he had penetrated.