THE CALLISTI MANIFESTO by Chandra Batra
I Have No Voice But I Must Scream
Commentary by J.D.Abolins, who forwarded to infowar.com and secured
permission to post. Thank you J.D.
One of the ongoing debates is over the definition of "hackers", often
in comparison with "crackers." Once in a while, there are some really
striking texts that encapsulate one perspective or another in the
debate. I consider the "Hacker Ethic" listed in Steve Levy's _Hackers_
to be such a good encapsulation.
Below is an interesting "hacker vs. cracker culture" note from the
Beyondhope maillist. (For more info about the list and a good
conference in NYC this August, check www.hope.net.) I am posting the
item in different places with the permission of the author. (I thank
her for one of the most interesting postings on the maillist.) The
Callisti Manifesto quoted there is a good encapsulation of a viewpoint
of the "hacker or cracker" debates.
This item reminds me of Winn Schwartau's mention of inner city hackers
in_Information Warfare_. Now, I do not know where Chandra Batra is
from but her opening comments is a good reminder that hackers and
crackers encompass diverse groups of people. The popular stereotype of
hackers/crackers as young white males is misleading.
[I removed several lines from the header to save space -JDA]
From: "Chandra Batra"
Subject: [beyondhope] I have no voice but I must scream
Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 13:53:32 -0400
Enough already, I am so very tired of reading so many off topic
postings that I have finally decided to write a few words to clarify
my position on what being a 26 year old black, female cracker means
and how I define my life. After all, how many of you were around in
NYC in the early 80's to learn from the legends anyway.
Callisti Manifesto I.
I do hope this helps to influence others who are mature enough to
understand and accept that to change the world sometimes it is vitally
important to do commit illegal acts of passion and to not regret them.
After all, you are responsible for your own actions.
The Callisti Manifesto
[or how I remember it, by Jon Callisti please e-mail me Jon if this is
To be a hacker or a cracker-as we stand on the edge of the new aeon
peering into the void of forever this question will either define us
or destroy us as people in search of a higher truth through
technology. To answer this question we must first examine what is
actually legal and what are the laws that govern computers and
computer law as these laws are constantly being redefined by people
who would not know a baud from their bed and who certainly are either
not very technologically savvy or even interested in the technology
they are seeking to write laws for or define. It seems silly for me or
anyone else to adhere to such nonsensical copyright and intellectual
property laws set forth by one singly inferior aging industrial
country that is now beyond a doubt ill -equipped and inept to provide
a clear sense or vision for our new Information age. Hence, if the
laws that govern computer law today is absolutely without merit why
should I be inclined to obey them? After all, one would not leave a
succulent apple pie in front of a doghouse and criminally charge the
dog for eatingit. So to if one leaves one's network open they should
expect the Digital Coyotes to do no less than their four legged
Additionally, does walking through an obviously open door and cleaning
up, washing and ironing rumpled clothes and then leaving make one a
criminal. So why would doing the same on a network be considered a
felony? So in the end what is criminal and what is legal are by no
means a cut and dry propositions. So the whole issue of hacking or
cracking becomes vague and muddled. This is why these distinctions are
absolutely silly. In the end it is up to each of us as members of an
elite and growing number of digerati outlaws to question exactly why
we identify with each of these words.
To be a hacker is to identify with a proud past of research scientist
and late night all night hacking parties at universities like MIT and
UCBerkley. However, to be a cracker is to identify with the cold hard
street and street level back alley technology. So choose carefully
wether your identity is that of the dangerou innovative reseach
scientist or the cold hearted street level tech outlaw making phone
calls to Hong Kong on the unaccounted for phones in Alphabet City. Do
you choose to be in a lab or on the street .It is your choice. In
closing, words are power and should be chosen wisely.
I myself am and always will be a cracker.