|Item #D32. Fax from Agrippa‘s programmer to its publisher about the “fuss” resulting from confusion that the encryption on the work’s diskette might be a “virus.”Facsimile Image
For the New York Times article on encryption legislation referred to by the programmer (and faxed with his letter), see article. For the “original press release” referred to, see Agrippa press release/prospectus.
Item #D45. Letter from the John Perry Barlow to Kevin Begos, Jr., publisher of Agrippa.Facsimile Image
After meeting Kevin Begos at an event in New York City and hearing about Agrippa, Barlow—who had co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1990—enlisted John Gilmore (of Sun Microsystems, Inc.) to consult by phone with the programmer of Agrippa‘s code; he also arranged for Begos to attend the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility’s 2nd annual conference on Cryptography and Privacy, held in Washington, D.C., on 1 June 1992 (see Item #D24). Barlow and the EFF were concerned about efforts in Congress at the time to legislate encryption, and in this letter offers to be the lightning rod for “any legal fire generated” by Agrippa‘s code. (See also the 7 May 1992 letter from Agrippa’s programmer referring to Barlow’s concerns about the “fuss being made over the encryption.”) The name of the programmer, with whom Barlow mentions having a “long chat,” is here blacked out because of his wish to be anonymous. (Source for information in this note: personal communication from Kevin Begos to The Agrippa Files editors, 8 Dec. 2005.)
For the “Kodak book” referred to, see 1920 Kodak catalog advertising “The Agrippa Album.” The plan for using the special vintage Whatman papers was never implemented.
|Item #D4. Mathematical basis of the encryption used to make the pre-encrypted copy of Gibson’s poem on Agrippa’s disk. (This is the work referred to by the programmer in the last paragraph of his letter of 28 March 1992).
See also the programmer’s letter on the encryption code.
Item #D44. Introduction by “Templar” to the First Online Copy of William Gibson’s “Agrippa” poem
This introduction, which claims that the code of the Agrippa diskette was “hacked & cracked,” announced the first version of Gibson’s poem posted online (to the MindVox BBS) on Dec. 10, 1992. The transcript here is from a now defunct Web page version of the MindVox posting available until early 2005 at http://riverbbs.net/pub4/ebook/Agripp.Txt (currently available only in the Google cache here) For the way the poem leaked online and different views about whether it was ever actually hacked, see Matthew G. Kirschenbaum’s discussion and follow-up discussion. See also the bootleg video recorded at the Dec. 9, 1992, “transmission” event at the Americas Society in New York City, as well as the 1993 experimental video Re:Agrippa based on the bootleg footage. (One theory was that transcribing from this footage may be the low-tech way the poem was hacked. Subsequent evidence, including the discovery of the original bootleg video recorded Dec. 9, 1992, at the Americas Society and correspondence with Templar’s partner video maker, “Rosehammer,” confirms this theory.)