Have you had any trouble with cops or lawyers since the incident?
No, nobody's talked to me. I've
tried to contact
CNN and kind of formally apologize and offer to tell them how they can
fix the problem in the future. The admins on their chat server were
completely disinterested; they told me to call information and said,
"Operators are standing by."
When you did contact CNN, "Candyce," the person in charge
of the chat room, didn't seem to believe that you were the real prankster.
How can I be sure?
Honestly, the only way you can prove it is to look at
and see if the addresses match up. They're the only
ones who have the information on where I was connected from and
what machine I was using.
That sounds too complicated. Do I have your word that you're
the real deal?
It was definitely me. For better or for worse.
Do you expect any legal troubles?
I've heard rumors from people who are consultants at CNN that some
of the upper IT people would like to see me arrested, but all the people
under them are telling them they're out of their minds, because I didn't
actually do anything.
On what grounds would they arrest you?
That I pissed them off. Other than that I can't really think of anything.
How about an impersonation charge?
You can't impersonate a federal official, but implicit in that [law] is the idea
that you're attempting to modify someone's behavior, such as if you
impersonate an FBI official in order to get someone to give you
information they wouldn't normally give you. As a parody, pretending
to be an official is not illegal.
Do you think the Secret Service has you on its watch list?
I'm sure I've got an FBI file. I've already got an NSA file.
What's the NSA file for?
I have an account on one of their public access machines, so they
did a background check.
What do you do?
Internet security consulting. My biggest gig right now is acting as
a CTO for an Internet startup, doing some voiceover IP projects.
What company is that?
Actually, they'd prefer I not mention them anymore. The company
been mentioned, but I told them I wouldn't mention the name anymore.
Speaking of being discreet, you might expect news
organizations to pass over the actual contents of your post,
calling it "an off-color post" or something like that.
So far nobody has.
That's my point. They've all quoted it in full.
Don't you think that's because they're always looking for a
chance to use "Clinton" and "porn" in the same sentence?
Honestly, I don't know. Everybody I talk to has a hard time
not laughing. I was on Good Morning America this morning
and watched Charlie [Gibson] read the thing off the TelePrompTer.
He got this horrible smirk on his face. Everybody seems to
think the whole thing is hilarious. But I didn't think it would
spread beyond the 500 or 600 people on the server.
How many news organizations have been getting in contact with you?
I'm lined up for four shows on the Fox News Channel. I did
Good Morning America. I did 1010 WINS, ABC News
in New York, the local Fox affiliate, Channel 11.... I'm not sure
what Channel 11 is an affiliate of.
I don't know. I stopped watching Channel 11 when it
stopped being the "Pix! Pix! Pix!" channel.
Whoever they are, they're sending a camera crew over today.
How much of a bounce do you expect to get out of this?
I have no idea. I'm hoping everybody will get over it soon. It's
about to kill me; I slept two hours last night. But I figure the more
good press I get out there the less chance somebody's going to
blow this out of proportion and make it look like I did something
Don't you think Fox News could better use its resources
by, for example, calling Robert Mugabe to ask if he'll comply
with Zimbabwe's recent
referendum than by putting you on four different shows?
I originally called them because they incorrectly reported that this
was a hack. But they saw the daily news, and the four shows separately
I don't think this is a big news item at all. It's a silly prank; everybody
should have a good laugh and forget about it. It's ridiculous how
far the media has taken this.
Well, when you get that ride on the comet...
Yeah, that's what I'm figuring.
You indicated in your description of the event that the joke
you came up with wasn't the best, and that if you'd had more
time you would have made timely comments on US politics and
foreign affairs. What would you have posted if you'd had more
time to think about it?
I would have tried to go with something relevant to the chat, which
was discussing a lot of Internet issues. I'd probably have made some
comments on encryption export policies and the way the
government is restricting the growth of the Internet with outrageous
export laws and things like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,
which makes it illegal to reverse engineer things.
If you could spoof John McCain, what funny statement would
you come up with?
I really haven't even been following the race yet. I've seen
the little sound bites. I'll read their platforms when it's time
I think he has a reasonably firm grasp on what the Constitution
says the federal government should be doing, which is pretty
rare for anybody in the two top parties. I don't see any chance
of him really winning, so I probably won't vote for him. But
he does seem to understand that the federal government was
only supposed to do a couple of minor tasks and the states were
supposed to do everything else.
I can't even imagine what question I'd ask him. He pops up so
rarely and everything he does seem so trivial that I can't think
of anything characteristic of Al Gore.
What about his invention of the Internet?
Oh, right, that would probably be what I'd mention. But the
only thing he ever talks about are his environmentalist
tendencies, and his actions on that seem so trivial.
Everybody's making a huge issue out of the drug issue with
him. So that would be the obvious target.
I'm not planning on voting Democrat so I'm not even watching
But you're a New Yorker. Or a Brooklynite.
Well, the deal he and McCain have on campaign finance reform
would make it interesting if they ended up going against each
other. But everybody knows they're not going to be the two
up there. At least one of them won't.
Any last statement?
I'd like people to take the events of the last couple of weeks as a
reasonably gentle warning that things could be a lot worse than
they really are. Corporations and educational institutions have
to really lock things down and not put these completely insecure
machines on high bandwidth connections. The Internet is still a
community. In the same way you become part of a community
when you rent office space in a building, you become responsible
for the common areas. When you put a machine on the Internet,
you need to make sure it's secure because it's a risk not only
to you but to everybody else as well.
Do you think you're going to get your full 15 minutes of
I hope that I'll be known for something more remarkable in
the future. So when people know my name it'll be for something
Microsoft is telling everyone
who will listen how Windows
2000, its fifth attempt at
knocking off Unix, is "a new
standard of reliability, online
or off." What it's not saying is
that the new standard is a low
one, and you should plan on
being offline more than you're
on. So what? In the
post-Seinfeld era of computing,
you can expect your software to
have issues too. With 63,000
bugs, Windows 2000 will offer
something for everyone. What's
next out of Redmond? An update
of Visual Basic for the Web.
Funny, didn't Microsoft call
that ActiveX once upon a time?
Savvy surfers know that the only
thing stupider than laying your
heart on the line is doing it
with geeks whose idea of a
social life is mingling with
strangers on the Internet. The
Net is populated mostly by
lonely psychotics who believe
that nothing says love like the
Hamster Dance. Yet adapting
holiday hype to their technology
sections, countless reporters
gushed Valentine's Day parables
about inanities like the online
marriage proposal of a
love-struck Canadian, while
suspiciously failing to
recognize the holiday as the
seductive branding opportunity
that it really is. Online
Valentines simply represented
the coupling of one gimmick with
another and the only thing
"uniquely Internet" about 14
February was the spam trying to
get us to bid on NudeCD.com.
Corporate entertainment mongers
replaced overloaded postal
workers with a GIF of Mickey
Mouse, who early Wednesday was
arguing that "a record number of
requests" had overloaded his
capacity to generate any more
Disney-themed valentines online.
But the Internet ultimately
found its own uses for
offered us a selection of those
effeminate valentine models of
yesteryear. ("What with the
salmon hat, polka-dot scarf,
blush, and hearts on the gloves,
we're guessin' ol' Bill here
wasn't often allowed around the
campfire with the other
cowboys.") And after watching
Business Week fawn over the "CEO of
Love" the guy who heads
AOL's Love@AOL area
pranksters posted a fake ad
there, posing as the
Stocking their come-on with key
phrases like "i get crazy when
i'm drunk!", they lured
mullet-headed Ozzy Osbourne
fans into revealing their
pathetic ideas of romance ("did
i mention i'm hung like tommy
lee?"). The preening only served
as a reminder that the holiday's
truest tradition is tackiness,
and the more things change, the
more they stay the same.
courtesy of theSucksters