BALLAD OF THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER
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,
And the network trails have their hacker tales
But of all the strange sights o'er the ålectronic nights
Is Phiber, Kapor, and Neidorf - and more -
In the last two years, there've been shed bitter tears
By phone phreaks and hackers, by pirates and crackers
The past had wildcat rules for the data pools;
But the Wild West is done - the settlers have come
Crashes litter the network road.; we've viruses, worms, malicious code
Liberty to compute is not the right to pollute
It's been twenty years since the ålectronic frontier
With the interconnection comes the right to protection
Techno-punks, you say, are here to stay.
But they're not very nice: selfish - cold as Black Ice
The sparks of creation and exploration
If we teach in school, if we live the ethical rule:
Law defends freedom to speak, not to steal or to sneak
Law means balance and sharing, fairness and caring
Is this freedom's demise? Must users arise
No! Ours is doing just fine - it's been tested by time
As the past parades into future decades,
To share, to shed light, define the rules and the rights
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