Chapter 5. The Magic of the Corporate World

We've always had a very special relationship with our friends on the corporate side of the aisle. We like to laugh at them and they pretty much want to eliminate us. It's been like this since Day One.

We've rounded up some of the best exchanges about and between hackers and corporate environments of various sorts. You'll find that the dialogue varies quite a bit over time and as the playing field changed.

In the early days, it was almost all about the phone company. Companies, actually. In fact, that's what made it all so fascinating. The monopolistic Bell System had just been broken up and the entire telecommunications industry was in turmoil. What was once one phone company was now seven regional companies and one long distance company. Brand new non-Bell companies were emerging all the time. It was a hacker's dream.

Throughout it all, we were the ones in the midst of figuring out what kinds of security systems all of these new entities had to keep people from what was then the ultimate goal: a free phone call. This was why they hated us so much. But if you take a look at what it used to cost in those days to simply communicate, was it any wonder that people were eager to figure out alternatives? And as time went on, the marketplace eventually reached the same conclusion and communications became dirt cheap—even free under many circumstances.

But our role wasn't simply to figure out their security systems. We also became a de facto watchdog ...

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