Cracking The Information Curtain
30 October 1998
One thing is sure: I don't need to present to my readers Tapu. I may exaggerate, but I
believe that there is noone on the web that has even vaguely to do with reverse engineering
who hasn't visited Tapu's beautiful site.
I'm glad to publish this small essay, even if there are
some (few) points where I don't agree with Tapu (Tapu is so perfectly and
deeply 'holy' that -for instance- chooses
to ignore the considerable differences that do exist
between warez-crackers and anti-warez crackers: I, for instance, wouldn't give
any patch to LaMR2365@aol.com... even if I would gladly give all
the help needed to reverse any target :-)
Yet she's right: knowledge is that what really matters for all crackers alike,
and crackers (all crackers),
are, as you
may recall, "heirs of an almost extinct race of researchers that has nothing in common with the television slaves and the publicity and trend zombies around us. Cracker should always be capable of going beyond the obvious, seek knowledge where others do not see and do not venture"
(paste "heirs of an almost extinct race of researchers" with ", inside altavista and you'll see where I have
taken it from :-), moreover, in this curious web-age,
maybe for the first time in history, knowledge, 'real' knowledge is de facto freely available, without (almost)
any filter at all. It had never
happened before, and this may (may) change the world (would be about time!).
Head this 'cracking related' reality cracking. That there is an 'information
deprivation' strategy is a deep truth. The society where we live is already -clearly-
structured in a "two-tiered system of haves and have nots", and reversing, as a practice and
as a philosophy, is indeed a
pain in the neck for all parasites and paid lackeys of this awful society of vulgar slavemasters and
gullible slaves... Read and enjoy! Let's hope that Tapu will use more often her pen to
show us what we are and where we are (or should be) going!
Cracking The Information Curtain
by Tapu, 30 October 1998
Information is power. Armed with that truism, humans have endeavored,
the beginning of time, to withhold information from each other,
in a group from group format.
Almost every corner of the earth, at one time or another discouraged or
forbade the education of women. When European "colonists"
the Americas and established race-based slavery, education of slaves was
criminalized; the scars and after-effects of this are still present in
parts of the U.S. and Latin America.
While race/religion/sex-based information deprivation still far from
extinct, in a general sense, we are moving forward toward a two-tiered
rainbow system of haves and have nots, based more on economics than
genetics, and while it is unquestionably more difficult for, to use an
example, a woman of color in the U.S to accumulate enough assets to
her up into the heady realms of the haves, once she is there, the
"disadvantages" of being a woman of color magically
As the media is so fond of telling us, we have now moved from the Stone
to the Information Age, and Information is rapidly becoming the ticket
punch. The quaintly named "Information Superhighway" itself
punched a large hole in the Formal Education Scam, whereby economic gain
could be neatly filtered away from the masses and into the cups of those
few who had the resources to pay for impressive sounding diplomas from
prestigious institutions, whether they had learned, or had the capacity
learn anything or not.
Today, it does not matter so much if you have three degrees in Ancient
History from Harvard. When HugeCo, Inc. has an urgent need for Oracle
database programmers, and will gladly pay one $150 an hour, the
question is whether the candidate can program. Note the period at the
of that sentence.
This condition means that Information Deprivation strategies must
It is no longer sufficient to ensure, through politics, that the poor
have such woefully inadequate elementary educations that they will have
little or no chance of developing the kinds of standardized test-taking
skills to pass University entrance exams, even if scholarship money can
found. If they can get to a computer, they can educate themselves, in
of knowledge that the vast majority of politicians know nothing
Although the politicians, and many Giants of Industry, see these matters
through a glass darkly, if at all, they are aware of the danger here.
can see the slow but sure carmelization of the West, turning on the
immutable laws of Mendel and Math, and they must act.
First of all, filtering software. If, they reason, they can limit, on
lofty-sounding pretext or other, the information to which the masses
access, particularly in the formative school-age years, they can nip
thing in the bud. A child who enters url after url, only to be hit each
time, with a colorful popup telling her or him to choose another site,
soon lose interest.
Second, and just as important, is keeping software programs
A person lacking in means and future opportunity, seeking to better
condition, will not get very far if their self-education is limited to
freeware and trial periods of the software commonly used in most
Software companies, for the most part, are exceptionally cooperative in
this endeavor, writing ever larger, more system-resource-consuming
behemoths, so that only those with the latest, newest, fastest machines
even run the program at all, even if they are able to acquire it, and
is only the beginning.
Obviously, even if you have managed to gain access to a machine capable
running it, if you do not possess $700 of disposable income, you will be
unable to purchase Adobe Photoshop, a basic tool that anyone who
have even the most humble Web Development/Graphics job must know inside
out. And even if you FOUND $700 in the street, and bought Photoshop, and
subsequently discovered that it did not meet your needs for whatever
reason, you could not return it for a refund, or even credit, as you
if it were a microwave or a flannel shirt.
Making the program extremely large ensures that acquiring it through
alternative distribution channels will be a cumbersome, time-consuming
process, a process which is in addition, courtesy of the politicians and
software companies, criminalized.
It is worth pointing out here that Adobe, could, if they wanted to, do
number of programmatic things to ensure that an alternatively
copy of Photoshop would not run. But they choose not to. They choose
because they KNOW that if you get it, run it, learn it, and become
employed, you will in all probability cause your new boss to purchase
several licenses for Photoshop.
There are many different flavors of copy protection. Some are
"good," in the sense that they are difficult, almost
to defeat. Others are cake, and it is the cake that is used by the vast
majority of software manufacturers. Why? Is the "good" copy
protection so much more expensive? No. See above. With one hand, they
distribute programs that are so easy to crack that an evaluation aid
appears on the same day that the program is released. With the other
they fund the campaigns of politicians who pass laws criminalizing that
same evaluation aid.
In this bubbling cesspool of criminalization of self-education and
information deprivation fueled by the light of the Holy Grail of
maintaining an economic oligarchy at all costs, there are, however,
I was privileged, as were many of you during its Golden Days before the
arrival of the jack-booted thugs of EFNet, to spend time in #PC98. I do
not believe that had I stood with Mother Teresa in her Calcutta hospice,
that I would have seen a purer example of selfless, unconditional
dedication to giving to the "poorest of the poor."
Just as Harriet Tubman and her ilk sheltered and helped
slaves on their way to freedom in another century, just as Miguel
raised the banner of the Virgen of Guadalupe and gave the grito that
Mexico from the oppression of Spain, as prison-scarred Nelson Mandela
South Africa out of the darkness of apartheid, so today do Fravia+,
+Greythorne, good wizard Saltine, tKC, Nitallica and all the other Phrozens too
to mention, Glen Roberts of Nurse Your Net Nanny fame, UCF, tireless
Leonardo, Marek of Astalvista, poopzy, the sometimes nameless but always
brave couriers, the crackers, the compilers, spend their own resources
risk their own freedom in the name of What is Right.
It is they who know that LaMR2365@aol.com may be asking for the 3dSMax
patch for some superficial or even no reason, but they also know that
unless he has the patch, neither he nor they, nor their children will
the benefits that MAY come from him having it.
They and all who toil with them in the endless task of tearing down the
Information Curtain are the Heroes, the Saints, the Freedom Fighters of
this Information Age. And, with uncharacteristic optimism, I believe
history will bear me out and record them as such.
Is reverse engineering illegal?