The Conscience of a Hacker

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The Conscience of a Hacker
  by Mentor
Written on January 8, 1986

Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers.
"Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker
Arrested after Bank Tampering"...

Damn kids. They're all alike.

But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's
technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker?
Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him,
what may have molded him?

I am a hacker, enter my world...

Mine is a world that begins with school. I'm smarter than
most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me...

Damn underachiever. They're all alike.

I'm in junior high or high school. I've listened to teachers
explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I
understand it. "No, Ms. Smith, I didn't show my
work. I did it in my head."

Damn kid. Probably copied it. They're all alike.

I made a discovery today. I found a computer.

Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to.
If it makes a mistake, it's because I screwed it up.

Not because it doesn't like me...
Or feels threatened by me...
Or thinks I'm a smart ass...
Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...

Damn kid. All he does is play games. They're all alike.

And then it happened. A door opened to a world rushing
through my phone line like heroin through an addict's veins,
an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day
incompetencies is sought... a board is found.

"This is it... this is where I belong."
I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never
talked to them, may never hear from them again... I know you all.

Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They're all alike.

You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby
food at school when we hungered for steak... the bits of
meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless.
We've been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic.
The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils,
but those few are like drops of water in the desert.

This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch,
the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing
without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by
profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals.
We explore... and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge...
and you call us criminals.

We exist without skin color, without nationality, without
religious bias... and you call us criminals. You build atomic
bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and
try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals.

Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is
that of judging people by what they say and think, not what
they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something
that you will never forgive me for.

I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual,
but you can't stop us all...

After all, we're all alike.

22.1.09 15:18

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