Hackers Wanted is an unreleased American documentary film.
Directed and written by Sam Bozzo, the film explores the origins and nature of hackers and hacking by following the adventures of Adrian Lamo, and contrasting his story with that of controversial figures throughout history. The film is narrated by Kevin Spacey.
Originally named "Can You Hack It?" The film failed to get a conventional release, according to Lamo, because of conflicts between its producer and others on the team. The more commonly cited reason is a problem with the quality of the finished product. On May 20, 2010, a version of the film was leaked to BitTorrent. Lamo has stated that he had no involvement in the leak.
"It's ironic that a film about overcoming barriers, about new technologies, about thinking differently, had to come to the public eye by being hacked out of the hands of people who, after making a film about the free flow of information, tried to lock away that information forever. The truth tends to itself." -Adrian Lamo
On June 12, 2010, a director's cut version of the film was also leaked onto torrent sites. This version of the film contains additional footage and is significantly different from the one previously leaked.
According to 'Hackers Wanted' director Sam Bozzo, the movie was set to explore the differences between true hackers and today's "computer criminals" and would follow the lives of hackers who found themselves arrested after pointing out security holes in computer systems.
"Commonly thought of as computer criminals and vandals, a true hacker is an innovative thinker able to "hack" himself out of a given problem or situation, whether it be computer related or not," Bozzo explained.
"Historically, hackers have accounted for mankind's greatest inventions and discoveries and yet have repeatedly been persecuted for their new ideas by the powerful and fearful," he adds.
The movie is about hacking, throughout history, and uses the story of Adrian Lamo, a hacker best known for breaking into several high-security networks and revealing network flaws in the systems of Fortune 500 companies, to exemplify it. Even though he subsequently told the organizations of his findings he became wanted by the FBI for hacking into systems at The New York Times Co. & Microsoft.
The FBI were unable to find him, so Lamo -- who always said he'd face any consequences of his actions -- negotiated his surrender through the U.S. Attorney's office, and handed himself over to the FBI.
It sounds like a great story so little wonder it was chosen to become the subject of a movie featuring tech celebrities including Digg's Kevin Rose, Leo Laporte and Steve Wozniak. Sadly, although it was completed, internal conflict with its producer meant that it was unlikely to see a release, officially at least.
A little while ago 'Hackers Wanted' leaked to BitTorrent and is currently being shared, among other places, on The Pirate Bay.
As soon as we became aware of the leak, TorrentFreak made contact with Adrian Lamo to request a comment. Clearly, as a former hacker, Lamo is acutely aware that the accusatory finger could be pointed at him, but he assured us that he had nothing to do with the leak.
Lamo told us that a release of the film was never going to happen, as the producer Dana Brunetti had too many "ego conflicts" with the cast and crew. But the movie is leaked now, so how does Lamo feel about that?
"I'm saddened that someone saw fit to violate our confidentiality, but in my heart, glad for all the cast, crew, and others who never would have seen their work recognized," he told us.
"It's ironic that a film about overcoming barriers, about new technologies, about thinking differently, had to come to the public eye by being hacked out of the hands of people who, after making a film about the free flow of information, tried to lock away that information forever. The truth tends to itself," he concludes.
Lamo is, however, pragmatic about sharing. Readers will remember an article we published last year when director Sam Bozzo was persuaded by "some hacker friends" to feel more relaxed about reaching a whole new audience via a movie leak.
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