It's not everyday one sees the likes of Steve Wozniak, John Draper (aka Captain Crunch) and Kevin Mitnick all sitting down around a table to reminisce about the good old days of hacking, but that's precisely what SBS is dishing up on Saturday October 19 at 7.30pm in the form documentary retrospective on the forgotten roots of hacking.
In an effort to correct, or at least balance, the annals of technological history, the US-made retrospective explores the transition of how hackers went from being early adopters, innovators and the heroes of the technological revolution to enemies of the state. The preview that Computerworld has seen is pleasantly small on sensationalism and large on historical detail.
Working examples of still-illegal "Blue Boxes" for phone phreaking, some of Bill Gates' earliest correspondence to the likes of Wozniak (accusing him and his peers of theft) and the relentless pursuit and subsequent incarceration of Kevin Mitnick, provide pleasant enough eye candy for any history buff -- while the commentary focuses on the role that the state, corporations and mainstream media played in the creation of a so-called 'outlaw' culture.
Perhaps most importantly, the Channel 4 co-production makes a serious attempt to record the innovative and legitimate contribution that hackers have made to the world of post-industrial technology - rather than typecasting them as a ubiquitous enemy.