I am the international hacker

I read with some interest Richard Adams's colourful piece profiling "The Hacker" (4 September). As someone who has made a living from the aforementioned trade for the past nine years, I would like to correct the following:

Having been "exposed" on the front page of the Sun six years ago as "Hacker phones Queen", after I compiled a documentary for Channel 4's Stuart Cosgrove (Without Walls hacking special), I was filmed at the one (and only) hacking conference I went to in Lillesad, Denmark, with Emmanual Goldstien, on the podium and subsequently at the bar.

Adams implies that the children's club at London's Trocadero, known as 2600 Club, is where all teenage hackers meet every month. Goldstien, the editor of 2600, has never appeared there.

The greatest new threat to the internet is the "brown box", according to Coded by, I quote, "international hackers", it allows users to silently monitor other people's computers through a remote BO-Peep plugin, and to view files on someone else's computer via his or her e-mail address.

I know - I coded it! And I have never attended a 2600 meeting in an amusement arcade in London.

Adams implies that "not many [hackers] smoke or drink alcohol. When I was in Lillesad, I rarely left the bar - nor, from what I remember of it, did Goldstien. It was apparent that those of us who were genuine hackers (who coded the utilities, scanners, blue boxes and so on) were drunk most of the time, and the busy "children" were swapping the software and information that we had given them or told them. Times don't change.

It may come as a shock to Adams, but as "international hacker" (as CNN put it) I am a professional, educated person who reads the Telegraph and the Guardian daily, and subscribes to the New Statesman, Private Eye and Spectator.

As for sad teenagers sitting alone in their bedrooms, I went through that stage eight years ago when I ran Skid Row, an Amiga Games cracking group, as D-Man/Skid Row. Now, in my opinion, the best chat room is my local pub.

When I release my next utility (BO2Kv2001), I will send Adams a copy with a personal "profile" of myself. Perhaps then he would cease writing such bovine pieces on matters he clearly knows little about.

Darrol Skinner
Hastings, East Sussex

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Labour tensions boil over at fractious MPs' meeting

Corbyn supporters and critics clash over fiscal charter U-turn and new group Momentum. 

"A total fucking shambles". That was the verdict of the usually emollient Ben Bradshaw as he left tonight's Parliamentary Labour Party meeting. His words were echoed by MPs from all wings of the party. "I've never seen anything like it," one shadow minister told me. In commitee room 14 of the House of Commons, tensions within the party - over the U-turn on George Osborne's fiscal charter and new Corbynite group Momentum - erupted. 

After a short speech by Jeremy Corbyn, shadow chancellor John McDonnell sought to explain his decision to oppose Osborne's fiscal charter (having supported it just two weeks ago). He cited the change in global economic conditions and the refusal to allow Labour to table an amendment. McDonnell also vowed to assist colleagues in Scotland in challenging the SNP anti-austerity claims. But MPs were left unimpressed. "I don't think I've ever heard a weaker round of applause at the PLP than the one John McDonnell just got," one told me. MPs believe that McDonnell's U-turn was due to his failure to realise that the fiscal charter mandated an absolute budget surplus (leaving no room to borrow to invest), rather than merely a current budget surplus. "A huge joke" was how a furious John Mann described it. He and others were outraged by the lack of consultation over the move. "At 1:45pm he [McDonnell] said he was considering our position and would consult with the PLP and the shadow cabinet," one MP told me. "Then he announces it before 6pm PLP and tomorow's shadow cabinet." 

When former shadow cabinet minister Mary Creagh asked Corbyn about the new group Momentum, which some fear could be used as a vehicle to deselect critical MPs (receiving what was described as a weak response), Richard Burgon, one of the body's directors, offered a lengthy defence and was, one MP said, "just humiliated". He added: "It looked at one point like they weren't even going to let him finish. As the fractious exchanges were overheard by journalists outside, Emily Thornberry appealed to colleagues to stop texting hacks and keep their voices down (within earshot of all). 

After a calmer conference than most expected, tonight's meeting was evidence of how great the tensions within Labour remain. Veteran MPs described it as the worst PLP gathering for 30 years. The fear for all MPs is that they have the potential to get even worse. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.