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Hackers: History and Practice of a Culture // Federico Mazzini

Hackers: History and Practice of a Culture // Federico Mazzini

Laterza, 208 pages, 2023

What is a hacker? A wunderkind or a bandit? A genius or a terrorist?

The first historical reconstruction of hacking.

Hacking was not born with computers. As early as the beginning of the 20th century, young enthusiasts were already modifying their radio sets to achieve performances not intended by their producer. A few decades later, in the 1960s, ‘phone phreaks’ became widespread, foreshadowing many features of today’s digital culture. With the spread of PCs, hacker groups became a mass media phenomenon. In the mid-1980s, what until then had been regarded as a ‘wunderkind’ turned into a potential threat as the perpetrator of sensational scams or other criminal practices. But in those same years, hacker practices began to take on a political value: so-called hacktivism and the Free Software and Open Source communities were born, which soon revolutionised the software industry and digital culture as a whole. Today, the hacker phenomenon has come to occupy a prominent role in contemporary geopolitics thanks to the emergence of global-scale groups such as Anonymous and the incorporation of hacking into military and intelligence structures.


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