When he walked out of Lompoc Federal Correctional Institution in California five years ago, Kevin Mitnick, the most notorious hacker in the United States, faced a peculiar probation requirement. For three years following his release, he was obliged not to touch a computer keyboard or use a cellular phone. Mitnick himself attributed this novel constraint to the fact that the judge in his case had bought into "the myth of Kevin Mitnick—that I could launch nuclear missiles by whistling into a phone." But the desire to physically isolate him from any type of computer was also a frank admission of failure on the part of the authorities: The FBI was so inept and Mitnick so adept with communications technologies that they regarded him as a practitioner of a kind of black magic. In a broader sense, the episode illustrates a digital divide between those who have mastered the capabilities of networked technologies and those who have not. This divide has traditionally been exploited by identity thieves, pornographers, spammers, and copyright pirates. But in the last several years, terrorists have increasingly... More >>>