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"The answer to the problem of information overload on the Net is reputations… engineer a system called a reputation server."
- Neal Stephenson

National Network Surveillance  
  A system for providing the government with a way to monitor computer network use.  

The Shockwave Rider provides a very early reference to the idea of Federal surveillance of computer networks. In this excerpt, a person calls the special anonymous service called Hearing Aid to vent his rage at the system.

From a public veephone at the railcar terminal linking Tarnover to the nearest town he called Hearing Aid, for the first time in years, and for one dark lonely hour poured out the secrets of his heart. It was a catharsis, a purgation. But long before he had regained his room he was shaking, haunted by the fear that Hearing Aid's famous promise ("Only I heard that!") might not be true. How could it be? It was absurd!

From Canaveral the tendril-ears of federal computers wove through his society like mycelia. No place could possibly be immune. All night he lay awake in fear, expecting his door to be flung open and stern silent men to take him under arrest. By dawn he was half-minded to kill himself.

Miraculously, there followed no disaster

From The Shockwave Rider, by John Brunner.
Published by Harper and Row in 1975
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