Someone found this old, unintentionally hilarious TV news report about the 1988 Morris Worm that took over many of the machines comprising the Internet at that time. I remember blissfully playing hack when the sysadmin ran in, panicked, demanding that the PDP-11 be shut down immediately because “something” was going on. It turned out that that because the Trinity College Mathematics Department has bought such an old, cheap and dodgy Unix machine it was not being targetted by Morris’ code and we were safe.
Anyway, the check out the goofy guy with glasses that begins at 40 seconds:
The TV identifies him as Mark Eichin. That was then. This is now. Less than a minute of Google stalking to track someone down and confirm their identity. We are now indeed living in the surveillance society. Of course, this was made easier by the fact that, because Mark was on the Internet in the 1980s as well, he has left an impressively long trail of digital detritus.
I was also reminded of the Small World Phenomenon when, upon checking LinkedIn, I found he is apparently 3 degrees of separation away from me in my “business” network. Lost in a maze of directed acyclic graphs, all alike…