"Mentor's Last Words"

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 the 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.

+++The Mentor+++

The text is also known as just the Hacker Manifesto, but was originally titled Conscience of a Hacker. It was written in 1986 by Loyd Blankenship at age 21 while going through hacking withdrawl after his arrest. Found everywhere on the internet now, it was first published in Phrack: Volume One, Issue 7.

Part of the manifesto was read in a small scene in the 1995 move Hackers. Two cops sitting in their car are on a stakeout for the reckless newbie hacker who couldn't cover his tracks very well. They go through "evidence" and read some of the above piece. As it is read, the younger cop's face shows a concealed appreciation for the gist of the manifesto while the other, more elder cop just gives a snide laugh.

In 2002 during H2K2, Loyd gave a reading of the text and spoke at length about it. He says he still gets 5-10 emails a week from people regarding the text.

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