Down to Navigation Controls

Computer Underground Digest (CuD)

This electronic journal provides an open forum for sharing information among computerists and for the debate of diverse views regarding tele- communications law and freedom of use. "Computer Underground Digest" also covers ethical and social issues related to the emerging computer culture. It is published at least twice a month or whenever news warrants.

Issues of CuD can be found in the Usenet news
group, on CompuServe in DL0 and DL4 of the IBMBBS SIG, DL1 of LAWSIG, and DL0 and DL12 of TELECOM, on Genie, on the PC-EXEC BBS at (414) 789-4210, and by anonymous ftp from (,, and To use the U. of Chicago email server, send mail with the subject "help" (without the quotes) to archive server@chsun1.spc.uchicago. edu. It is also available on The W.E.L.L. in the Telecommunications Law conference (g tcl).

(G. Branwyn)


Computer Underground Digest
(Available electronically only.
See site addresses above.)

graphic: Whole Earth Review

Here is the TEXT POPUP for Computer Underground Digest (CuD):


Date: 12 Oct 91 11:21:19 CDT
From: Moderators <>
Subject: File 1-- Summary of Geraldo's _Now it can be Told_

On Sept 30, Geraldo Rivera's show focused on "hackers." Not
surprisingly, the commentary was closer to sensationalistic fiction than fact. Those who saw the original airing described Rivera's framing of the issue as reprehensible, and his comments about Craig
Neidorf were described as potentially slanderous. Even by Geraldo standards, Craig could not have expected the grotesque insults to which he was subjected and the bullying and inaccuracies that he endured, according to observers, with reserved dignity.

We are indebted to an anonymous reader who provided us with excerpts from the transcripts. They reveal a consistent pattern of sensationalism--not surprising-- but they also reflect that Rivera had little interest in accuracy and instead resorted to fabrication bordering on lies to depict Craig as a "Mad Hacker." His task was made considerably easier by Alameda County (California) prosecutor Don Ingraham, who contributed to the misconceptions of Craig and played into the sensationalistic "mad hacker" motif that was the format of the show.

Those who viewed the program report, and the transcripts confirm, that the initial portion focused on the potential dangers of hacking to national security, and skillfully juxtaposed film images of terrorism and military violence with discussions and images of hackers.

Rivera continually referred to Craig as the "Mad Hacker," described him as Ingraham's "arch-rival," and used the term "notorious hacker" to remind the audience that his guest was not some run of the mill evil-doer, but "mad," "notorious," and America's "most wanted" hacker. Ingraham implied that Craig was responsible for breaking into and endangering the nation's E911 system, but backed off slightly while leaving the connection between E911 and national security intact. Ingraham's analogy of rape and hacking was in poor taste, and he seemed to join Rivera in competing for outlandish sound-byte of the day.

The media has played a major role in contributing to hacker hysteria by grossly exaggerating the exploits of suspects and defendants. Rivera has taken hyperbole to a new level by imputing dangers where
none exist, by fabricating facts, and by leaving the audience with the impression that--in this case--Craig had actually broken into the E911 system. In a time which Constitutionally protected liberties are threatened, when demagogues enact anti-crime legislation that expands definitions of punishable behavior and increases penalties for offenses, and when the public--still largely technophobic-- does not understand hacking, Geraldo's portrayal is recklessly dangerous and unconscionably irresponsible. It is one thing to engage in self-serving sleaze for ratings. It is quite another to distort truth in ways that create false impressions and tarnish reputations by name-calling. We suggest that Geraldo Rivera has far more in common, both in his actions and in his consequences, with terrorists than do hackers. Rivera, like terrorists, seems to have no hesitation in doing violence if it serves his own narrow interests. On balance, society can survive a "hacker menace" far more easily than it can survive callous disregard of truth.

Date: 12 Oct 91 11:21:19 CDT
From: Moderators <>
Subject: General On-Line and Print Resources

The following "phreak/hacker" newsletters and magazines provide insights into the culture of the CU. Some are defunct, others are still publishing. An (*) indicates continued publication. (E) indicates published in electronic format, (H) indicates hardcopy. Most are available in the CuD ftp archives.

TAP (*H): General phreak/hack information. Contact TAP, PO Box 20264, Louisville, KY 40250.

ATI (*E): Political oriented posts. Appears every few months. Contact:

NIA (Network Information Access) (*E): News digest and p/h information.

NIA (*E): National Information Access, appears every few months.
Contact: nuchat!

P/Hun (E): Five issues appeared. Primarily technical information.

PIRATE (E): News related to software piracy. Five issues appeared.

LoD/TJ (E): Hacker technical journal with occasional news. Four issue appeared.

Weltanschaaung (*E): Political and editorial information focusing on cyber issues. Began August, 1991.


--The Hacker Quarterly (*H): Quarterly issue devoted to
hacker-related technical information and news.

Boardwatch Magazine (*H): Published monthly; Billed as a "guide to the world of online services," focus is on BBS world. Essential reading for serious modemers.

MONDO 2000 (*H): A slick, "postmodernist" oriented magazine, Mondo covers music, art, and other cultural topics as well as cyber culture.

EFFector (*HE): The newsletter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Mainly covers EFF activities and summaries of its involvement in various projects. Contact: eff@org

RISKS Digest (*E): An on-line, moderated newsgroup identifying computer risks to society. Available through Usenet. Contact:

TELECOM Digest (*E): A on-line, moderated newsgroup focusing on telecommunications issues and the related social, ethical, and political problems. Available through Usenet. Contact:

CuD ftp archives (*E): A collection of legal and academic papers and phreak/hacker/ pirate 'zines and newsletters. Collection also includes a variety of state and federal laws and university policies along with other CU-related documents. Contact: or

VIRUS-L Digest: on-line moderated newsgroup for discussions of
computer viruses. Available through Usenet. Contact virus-l@lehiibm1 (*E): Unmoderated newsgroup for discussion of issues related to cyberspace. Available through Usenet.

Computer/Law Journal (*H): Legal journal devoted to all legal aspects of computer technology, including security, privacy, and copyright.

Chalisti (*E): German hacker newsletter (written in German) covering European hacker news and technology.

Navigation Controls

© 1998 The Computer Lab
Gareth Branwyn -

Go to Street Tech, Gar & Pete's Tech Review Site.