[SIGCIS-Members] “Please Read the Article”? Please Cite Women Academics.

Kevin Driscoll kdriscoll at alum.mit.edu
Thu Feb 25 12:11:33 PST 2016


Hello all--

Paul, your instinct is right regarding the use of the lowercase-i
"internet" in Schulte's book. She is principally concerned with the
everyday use of "internet" as it is understood and discussed in popular
culture rather than the particular family of networks running TCP/IP. (The
subtitle of Cached is "Decoding the Internet in Global Popular Culture.")
Her book makes a compelling case that early representation of computers and
networks in films like WarGames shaped how non-specialists, including
policy-makers, would later make sense of the information infrastructures
being assembled around them.

As to the fictional exploits of young Broderick, there is no
packet-switched Internet. Just the plain old telephone service. Broderick's
character finds NORAD by accident while "war-dialing" for a computer game
company [1]. Otherwise, his on-screen hacking is limited to social
engineering [2]. That underpowered IMSAI wasn't brute forcing any
passwords-- just shuttling characters from the modem to the display. :)

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb1r_uKOew4
[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UqEg1cFqig

Big thanks to Meryl for opening up this important and engaging discussion!

Kevin Driscoll



On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 2:23 PM, Ceruzzi, Paul <CeruzziP at si.edu> wrote:

> I’ve been reading this discussion with great interest. I hope people don’t
> mind if I go off track and share some impressions I have of the film War
> Games as it related to my own work.
>
>
>
> The first is that you can see from the photo that Matthew Broderick is
> hacking into NORAD through an IMSAI 8080 computer. The IMSAI was basically
> a clone of the Altair, only with a decent power supply. The few Altairs
> that I ever saw in use typically had an external power supply bolted on, as
> the original power supply was not up to the demands placed on it. If indeed
> he could hack into NORAD with an 8-bit IMSAI, that was a heck-of-a
> programming job!
>
>
>
> After the movie came out, Ed Fredkin, a Cambridge, Mass. computer pioneer,
> told me that his colleagues would come up to him and say, “I am so sorry to
> hear about your son.” People thought that he was the inspiration for Prof.
> Falken, since Fredkin owned an island. But Fredkin never lost a son, he was
> not a recluse but quite accessible, and it is much more likely that Claude
> Shannon, not Fredkin, was the inspiration for Falken (note the scene where
> Broderick goes to the library & looks up a cover story of a Scientific
> American article—Shannon published just such an cover story, on mazes, I
> think). Shannon was a bit of a recluse.
>
>
>
> I had to order Schulte’s paper from Interlibrary Loans, so I haven’t had a
> chance yet to read it.
>
> However, in the abstract, she talks about the “internet” in War Games. Is
> that right? I don’t recall Broderick using the “internet” to hack into
> NORAD, but I could have missed it. In 1984, with the IMSAI, he probably did
> not have internet access. Of course, there’s the internet, and there’s the
> “Internet.” See Quarterman’s book on “The Matrix” for more on this.
>
>
>
> I am having your blog post forwarded to Larry Lasker, through a mutual
> friend. Let’s see if he responds!
>
>
>
> As I said, I do not mean to ignore the important issues brought up by
> Meryl & others. It was just that reading about War Games brought back a
> flood of memories of the 8-bit world in those days.
>
>
>
> Paul Ceruzzi
>
>
>
>
>
> Paul Ceruzzi
>
> ceruzzip at si.edu
>
> 202-633-2414
>
>
>
> *From:* Members [mailto:members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org] *On Behalf Of *Meryl
> Alper
> *Sent:* Wednesday, February 24, 2016 2:42 PM
> *To:* members at lists.sigcis.org
> *Subject:* [SIGCIS-Members] “Please Read the Article”? Please Cite Women
> Academics.
>
>
>
> Hi all,
>
>
> Over the weekend, journalist Fred Kaplan published an article in the New
> York Times, entitled "'WarGames' and Cybersecurity's Debt to a Hollywood
> Hack" (
> http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/21/movies/wargames-and-cybersecuritys-debt-to-a-hollywood-hack.html?_r=0).
>
>
> The core argument -- that WarGames culturally influenced the Reagan
> administration's cyberpolicy -- sounded a great deal like communication
> scholar Stephanie Ricker Schulte's work.  When I brought this reference to
> Kaplan's attention on Twitter, he was super dismissive and minced my
> words.  So, naturally, I wrote a blog post about the incident, situating it
> within a broader trend of tech journalists (mostly men) minimizing the work
> of academics (mostly women), and capitalizing on this sin of omission in
> promoting their own books and other works:
> https://merylalper.com/2016/02/22/please-read-the-article-please-cite-women-academics/
>
>
> I'm really interested to know the thoughts of this community, both as one
> that knows the history of cyber law/policy inside and out, but one with
> many members committed to egalitarian principles.
>
> Best,
> Meryl
>
>
> --
>
> *Meryl Alper*
>
> Assistant Professor
>
> Department of Communication Studies
>
> Northeastern University
>
> Holmes 217
>
> m.alper at neu.edu
>
> merylalper.com
>
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