Date: Fri Jan 13 14:32:20 1989
From: Brad Templeton <brad%looking.uucp@RELAY.CS.NET>
Subject: Risks of trusting the press
The Hacker's Conference episode is just one of many. Readers of USENET
last month closely followed attempts by the press to shut down my own
moderated newsgroup. As in the CBS case, where you were "guaranteed" that
the story would put you in a good light, the reporter who interviewed me
acted in a very sympathetic manner.
With most reporters I have encountered in this area, the fact is this:
If the reporter decides in advance that you're a wrongdoer, then just
about anything is ethical to get the story. In particular, they will
pretend to agree with you and indicate that they are writing a favourable
story. After all, it's not unethical to lie to criminals to get them to
expose themselves, is it?
This is general advice, but we must be particularly careful when it comes
to public exposure of modern technology. People are predisposed to
fear it. People are now predisposed to link hacker with criminal. People
are predisposed to link "computer network" with "underground."
Watch out for this. If you suspect the slightest bit of prejudice, clam
up. Don't trust a word they say -- their motives are not yours.
The image of technology is very important to RISKS. It controls what
technologies people will trust, and how they will trust them.