Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 6:00 – 7:30pm

Phil Lapsley: The Forgotten History of the Phone Phreaks

Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. $5. Double feature!


Back in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, when a misfit group of technophiles, tinkerers, and pranksters figured out how to hack the telephone system and turn AT&T into their electronic playground, it caused quite a stir: AT&T’s “Greenstar” project tapped 33,000,000 calls; the FBI fought back; phone phreaking and “blue boxes” exploded into popular culture—and the phone phreaks, the feds, and the phone company went to war. With an eye toward culture, technology, and current events, Phil Lapsley, author of Exploding the Phone, illuminates the forgotten history of the phone phreaks—and touches on how the FBI’s pursuit of them differs from the legal tactics used today against people such as Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide while facing more than 30 years in prison for alleged hacking. Presented by Town Hall and University Book Store as part of The Seattle Science Lectures, sponsored by Microsoft. Series media sponsorship provided by KPLU.
Advance tickets are $5 at or 888/377-4510 and at the door beginning at 5:30 pm. Town Hall members receive priority seating. Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. Double feature! Ticket also gains entry to Ignite Seattle at 8 pm.


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