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Computers, Hackers, And Phreaks Essay

1519 words - 7 pages

The Internet is a wondrous place. Practically anything you could ever want is

available on the Net. It's like a big city, it has the highly prestigious areas, and the

sex-ridden slums (Mitchell). It has the upstanding citizens, and it has the criminals.

On the Net, crime is more abundant than in a large city, though, mainly because of

the difficulties in tracking and prosecuting offenders. Even from its beginnings, the

Internet has always been a battlefield between phreaks and administrators.

     The Internet hasn't always been a public forum. In fact, the Internet has

been around for years. The Internet is just a new fad (Larson). The Internet
...view middle of the document...

This is mainly due to the fact

that in order to support the very high speed of the Net, a fast computer is needed

and a fast connection. A fast computer can cost in the thousands of dollars, at

least, and a quick connection can cost hundreds dollars or more. Individuals can

still get on the Net through these private institutions. The private institution

spoon-feeds the Net to the slower computers over their delayed connection lines

(Jones). The Internet began very high-class, due to the fact that only super

intelligent college students and professors could access it. The discussions tended

to stay intellectual, with very little, if any, disturbance (Larson). However,

relatively recent changes in the availability of the Net have changed that

atmosphere. Now, almost anyone can access the Internet. Internet access is offered

by every major online service (Himowitz). The fact that the major online services

charge for their use keeps many people away from them. Those people simply

turn to public dial-ups, which are free connections offered by universities that are

available to the general public (Spencer).

     Because accessing the Net is easier, and a lot more people are doing it,

naturally the amount of information on the Net is increasing at the same rate, if not

faster. In what is often referred to by Net users as the Resource Explosion, the

amount of information circulating the Internet has increased with the number of

users (Jones). Of all the other factors contributing to the large percent of online

crimes, perhaps the most influential is the design structure of the Internet. Experts

agree that the underlying structure with no central hub, where each computer is

equally powerful, gives unchecked power to the undeserving (Miller). The design

also makes controlling the frequency of break-ins almost impossible as well. Both

politicians and so-called 'experts' believe the Internet as a whole will be regulated

in the next five years. Hackers disagree, using the arguments that the Internet was

designed to be uncontrollable, that the basic structure doesn't support regulation

(Banja). In a network run by its users, which is designed to be impervious to

attack, not even the government has much muscle there. In fact, the Internet is one

of the few places that the government has little power. Because the Net is

international, any regulations forced upon domestic computer users can be

circumvented by routing through an overseas computer(Savage). The government

doesn't have the power to completely shut down the Net. In order to do that, every

one of the millions of computers on the Net must be disconnected. Even if only

two remain, the Net will continue to exist (Miller).

     The ease of adding something to the Net is also a factor preventing the total

regulation of the Net. A new site can be added to the Net in a matter of seconds,

and can be removed just as...

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