Laptop Cops

IN FEBRUARY 1996, hot on the heels of ill-conceived Hollywood artifacts The Net and Hackers, Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick delivers a rambling, paranoid speech on the specter of computer hackers and “info warfare” to a closed session of the National Security in the Information Age conference at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Menacing her audience with an extended rap sheet of malicious hacking incidents (as well as bizarre digressions on alienation and loneliness in the Computer Age), Gorelick calls for “the equivalent of the Manhattan Project” to combat the mounting cyberthreat. On June 5, Richard Power of the Computer Security Institute testifies before the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, further reinforcing this climate of creeping fear (“There is a serious problem”) with statistics from the 1996 CSI/FBI Computer Crime and Security Survey; using curious lingo,

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