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There have been underground message boards almost as long as there have been boards. One of the first was 8BBS, which became a stronghold of the West Coast phone- phreak elite. The sysop of 8BBS was an ardent free-speech enthusiast who simply felt that *any* attempt to restrict the expression of his users was unconstitutional and immoral. Swarms of the technically curious entered 8BBS and emerged as phreaks and hackers, until, in 1982, a friendly 8BBS alumnus passed the sysop a new modem which had been purchased by credit-card fraud. Police took this opportunity to seize the entire board and remove what they considered an attractive nuisance.
.. interesting account on the provenance of the Bell 1200 baud modem. I was told it was available as a gift since it was no longer needed after a trade-show, and would I hook it up to replace the 300 baud modem. I believe it came from Drexel University student(s).