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CFP'91 -


by Gail Thackeray (with apologies to Robert Service)

Copyright (c) 1991 IEEE. Reprinted, with permission, from The First Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy, held March 26-28, 1991, in Burlingame, California. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the IEEE copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that copying is by permission of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires a fee and specific permission.

Published in 1991 by IEEE Computer Society Press, order number 2565. Library of Congress number 91-75772. Order hard copies from IEEE Computer Society Press, Customer Service Center, 10662 Los Vaqueros Circle, PO Box 3014, Los Alamitos, CA 90720-1264.

[Two of the best-known spokes-people for "differing" groups offered informal remarks at the event's opening-night reception - EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow (a Wyoming cattle rancher, former Chair of his county's Republican Central Committee and lyricist for the Grateful Dead), and prosecutor Gail Thackeray, nationally known for her aggressive efforts to prosecute computer crime.

Tredding gently into lyricist Barlow's turf, Gail presented the following delightful ditty. -JW]

There are strange things done 'neath the silicon sun,

By techies who moil for gold,

And the network trails have their hacker tales

That would make your blood run cold.

But of all the strange sights o'er the ålectronic nights

The strangest I ever did see

Is Phiber, Kapor, and Neidorf - and more -

In a room with Ingraham, the Feds, and me.

In the last two years, there've been shed bitter tears

Over freedom, computers and crime,

By phone phreaks and hackers, by pirates and crackers

Complaining they shouldn't do time.

The past had wildcat rules for the data pools;

Then, nary a sheriff we saw.

But the Wild West is done - the settlers have come

And with them, computer law.

Crashes litter the network road.; we've viruses, worms, malicious code

Is this the freedom you'd spare?

Liberty to compute is not the right to pollute

The datastream we all must share.

It's been twenty years since the ålectronic frontier

Cybernet all our lives interweaves.

With the interconnection comes the right to protection

From predators, vandals and thieves.

Techno-punks, you say, are here to stay.

They're creative! The economy they'll save!

But they're not very nice: selfish - cold as Black Ice

D'you really think they'll just choose to behave?

The sparks of creation and exploration

Need not conflict with order.

If we teach in school, if we live the ethical rule:

Respect for each other's border.

Law defends freedom to speak, not to steal or to sneak

Into a private file or a -base.

Law means balance and sharing, fairness and caring

For individual space.

Is this freedom's demise? Must users arise

A new Constitution to seek?

No! Ours is doing just fine - it's been tested by time

Then why else are we here, this week?

As the past parades into future decades,

We're here now - in real-time - to plan,

To share, to shed light, define the rules and the rights

For the Age of Electronic Man.

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