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Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   addiction and rebellion collide like atoms in a cyclotron.

 

                            [ ]

  

   After the raids, the arrests and the court cases on three continents,

   what became of the hackers described in this book?

  

   Most of them went on to do interesting and constructive things with

   their lives. Those who were interviewed for this work say they have

   given up hacking for good. After what many of them had been through, I

   would be surprised if any of them continued hacking.

  

   Most of them, however, are not sorry for their hacking activities.

   Some are sorry they upset people. They feel badly that they caused

   system admins stress and unhappiness by hacking their systems. But

   most do not feel hacking is wrong--and few, if any, feel that

   `look-see hacking', as prosecuting barrister Geoff Chettle termed

   non-malicious hacking, should be a crime.

  

   For the most part, their punishments have only hardened their views on

   the subject. They know that in many cases the authorities have sought

   to make examples of them, for the benefit of rest of the computer

   underground. The state has largely failed in this objective. In the

   eyes of many in the computer underground, these prosecuted hackers are

   heroes.

  

   PAR

  

   When I met Par in Tucson, Arizona, he had travelled from a tiny,

   snow-laden Mid-Western town where he was living with his grandparents.

   He was looking for work, but hadn't been able to find anything.

  

   As I drove around the outskirts of Tucson, a little jetlagged and

   disoriented, I was often distracted from the road by the beauty of the

   winter sun on the Sonoran desert cacti. Sitting in the front passenger

   seat, Par said calmly, `I always wondered what it would be like to

   drive on the wrong side of the road'.

  

   I swerved back to the right side of the road.

  

   Par is still like that. Easy-going, rolling with the punches, taking

   what life hands him. He is also on the road again.

  

   He moved back to the west coast for a while, but will likely pack up

   and go somewhere else before long. He picks up temporary work where he

   can, often just basic, dull data-entry stuff. It isn't easy. He can't

   just explain away a four-year gap in his resumé with `Successfully

   completed a telecommuting course for fugitives. Trained by the US

   Secret Service'. He thought he might like to work at a local college

   computer lab, helping out the students and generally keeping the

   equipment running. Without any professional qualifications, that

   seemed an unlikely option these days.

  

   Although he is no longer a fugitive, Par's life hasn't changed that

   much. He speaks to his mother very occasionally, though they don't

   have much in common. Escaping his computer crimes charges proved

   easier than overcoming the effects of being a fugitive for so long on

   his personality and lifestyle. Now and again, the paranoia sets in

   again. It seems to come in waves. There aren't many support mechanisms

   in the US for an unemployed young man who doesn't have health