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TUCoPS :: Cyber Culture :: draper.txt

John "Cap'n Crunch" Draper becomes Cap'n Software

from Peninsula Times Tribune Saturday Juanuary 25, 1986

>-= 'Phone Phreak' Eyes Computers =-<

By John Raess

	If historians should ever trace the history of electronic outlawry
jown as computer hacking, they probably will draw a line under the name
of John T. Draper. Also known as "Cap'n Crunch" the 42-year-old draper
was a leagandary figure in the electronics subculrture of Silicon
Valley before it became famous.
	He also had a small following amound the security people at the
Pacific Telephone Co., but they weren't admirers. For a handful of years
in the late 1960's and 70's Draper scampered through the telephone system
like a rat in a garbage bin.  Akthought not the first he was argubuly the most
famous user - the phone company would say abuser - of electronic devices
that tricked telephones into giving him free calls. His notoriety,
curiousity and a notable laxity concerning communications law got him
three criminal convictions for mousing around in the telephone system.
	The past 15 years have seen Draper move from electronics engineer
to disc jokey to counterculture telephone guerrilla to federal prisoner
to computer programmer. Once again he is at the cutting edge of homegrown
electronics society, legitmately this time, writing computer programs in
his cluttered one-bedroom apartment.

	Fifteen years ago Draper was a disc jockey and an engineer at
a Cupertine radio station. Then he got the call that changed his life.
It was from a blind San Jose teen-ager who began telling him about flukes
in the telephone system. "Phone freaks," as they called themselvces could
take advantage of certain toll-free numbers and open conference curcuits.
It wasn't too much later that Draper earned his nickname.
	He discovered that a free whistle in boxes of Cp'n Crunch cereal
could approxmiate the pitch of code tones for the telephone. Blow the right
tones, and phone calls were free. One thing led to another and Draper
soon was making "blue boxes," elecronic gadgets that could fool telephones
out of free calls. [the press sure does have a lot to learn about Blue
Boxes! -ed]
	Living in Mountain View and working as a disc jockey at the
time Draper said he was one of a small handful of electronics hobbeyists
who viewed the telephone systems as a vast, uncharted wilderness.
	"I treated it as a system I was mapping and exploring, and any
calls I made personally, I paid for. But any calls I made while phone
freaking, that was part of the hacking, that was different," Draper
said recently.
	Phone Company officials failed to see the distinction. Draper was
arrested and convicted in 1972 of violations of ferderal communications
law and placed on probation. He was not the first phone phreaker to get
arrested but probably the most celebrated. At the time, it was an attractive
image: a brillian 1960's anti-hero fighting a gigantic and pervasive
bureaucracy. In 1976 he was conviceted again of a similair offense and
this time he was sent to jail for four months.
	He said it was the hard stance taken by telephone comapny officials
and prosecutors that took telephone tinkering out of its circle of
faddists and made it and underground hit with the criminal set.
	"They should have patched up the (telephone) system, instead of making
an example of me," he said, "waht eyh didn't count on was that by birtue of
putting me in jail, they made thousands of Cap'n Crunches all over the world.
	"Once I got in I started telling everybody in jail what I knew. And
those were the people who were really, really intersted in making free callss.
	"Because of that, it increased phone freaking by a magnitude of 100.
No longer did you have a select few doing it. You had all these Mafia people
setting up massive rip-offs."
	Once out of jail his fascination with the phone system continued.
Fascination later became obseession and led to his third and final arrest.
Sometimes in the mid-1970's Draper said, he became aware of a secret
telephone circuit, one with sinister implications. [getting good, huh?]
Other phone phreakers demonstrated to him that they could tap in - undetected
- on any telephone conversation they wanted, he said.
	He said, "you could be anywhere in the world and listen to any
conversation anywhere."
	"It was ued on me and it was demonstrated to me. I spent the next
two years seartching for it. I was obsessed with trying to find it."
	The search got him his third conviction, for which he sepent four
months in a Pennsylvania jail [hint! -ed.]
	It also earned him a three-day visit to testify before a federal grand jury in Des Moines, Iowa in 1979 [hint #2 - ed.]
	They asked me questions about (the secret circuit's) existence. Do
I think it existed? Yes. I don't know if it still exists," he said.
	The investigation went to further than the federal grand jury(!).
	Roxanne Conlin, former U.S. attorney and now in private practice
said no indictments arose from the investigation of the mysterious telephone
circuit.  But the grand jury emembers were charmed by Draper who gave
the impression of a likeable but "erratic genius."
	[the article goes on about his currect suit against the
company that published one of his programs.]

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