Proscribed, Semi-legal and Illegal Activities
Not everything is legal in the Civilized Galaxy. However, there are many regions, especially some antinomian non-aligned worlds, and some NoCoZo polities and free zones, where you can get nearly anything you want for a price. And of course, it is said that in the Wilds there are some places where anything goes.
 
Articles
  • AgentNet  - Text by Anders Sandberg (slightly modified by M. Alan Kazlev)
    A well known interfacing firm through which one may hire a team to undertake something quasi-legal without revealing one's own identity.
  • Bailout Device  - Text by David Jackson
    Backup device intended to actively preserve itself in an emergency, if necessary by finding a new host.
  • Berzerker - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Sentient being, whether biont, vec, or ai, psycho-engineered or otherwise psychologically modified for combat, so as to go into a wild fighting or killing rage when triggered by a particular stimulus. Usually the stimulus is a neural implant, although sometimes chemical or metabolic triggers are used.
  • Best Friends - Text by Michael Beck
    A psychological simulation is made of a targeted individual, allowing the user to gain near perfect insight into the target's preferences. A cloned "companion" is then grown, and threats to the companions welfare are used to pressure the individual. The companion does not even have to be physical (expensive), but could be a virtual copy.
  • Black Net, The  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Alternative, secret net used for clandestine purposes.
  • Blackmailer - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A weapon developed on Daedelus, and since turning up widely throughout known space; especially in worlds outside the jurisdiction of the higher ais, this is a small pellet, containing explosives, poison or some other payload. When it pierces flesh it extends thin hooks and generally refuses to be removed. If it receives a signal or is tampered with, it detonates. This is used by some criminal clades and clans against others, who they can then sell back for a ransom.
  • Bodyjacking  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Control of a sophont's physical body against their will for the purpose of tele-operation.
  • Bootleg Celebrity Copying  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, amended by Steve Bowers
    Making bootleg copies or character simulations of famous people.
  • Bounty Hunter  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    One who tracks and retrieves other sophonts of equivalent toposophic, usually those wanted for criminal activities.
  • Bounty Hunting, Commercial  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A sport (illegal in many polities) where for a fee one is allowed to track and retrieve other sophonts.
  • Brainstorm  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Semi-legal drug occasionally used by baselines/near- baselines seeking to solve a complex problem without the assistance of an ai.
  • Bribe expert - Text by John B
    A bribe expert knows the 15 basic ways to profer a payment for semi- or illegal services, as well as most if not all of their fifteen factorial combinations. Often an upload, ai, or alife, due to their flexibility of communication apparati. Mindworker profession.
  • Crime - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Act punishable by law, whether a violation of local regulations or of the sentient rights of another being. Crimes in the ultra-civilized systems of the inner sphere are in general very subtle - data manipulation, fraud, extortion with embarrasing information or purely software crimes like mind casinos. In the less regulated systems smuggling, theft and more property-related crimes start to appear, nd out in the simpler regions traditional seediness and crimes are common.
  • Criminal Rehabilitation  - Text by Ryan B
    Treatment of criminality caused by memetic disease.
  • Cybercide - Text by Max More; modified by Anders Sandberg in his Transhuman Terminology
    The killing of a virtual, which may be rl person's projected virtual persona, a copy or a simm. This may be part of an interactive or immersive virch game, or may be an act of vandalism or murder.
  • DNI Death Cults  - Text by Mike Parisi
    Subcultures where the experience of death is shared via direct neural interfacing.
  • Doubleclaiming  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Later Early to Middle/early-late Interplanetary Age practice organized by criminal gangs and shady dealers, usually operating out of fly-by-night virchsites, data havens, and hastily rented and abandoned office modules.
  • Erratics - Text by Michael Beck
    Not illegal per se, but a problem. Advanced modelling techniques make it possible to predict events, economies and people with incredible accuracy. Erratics have had a tiny bit of uranium generator implanted in them, and whenever confronted with a choice the random decay of the uranium determines their next action.
  • Feral - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] A sapient being that seeks to live free of hyperturing supervision. As used by those who do not, this usually associated with romantic or shock-value associated memes of unpredictability, aggressiveness, lack of hygiene, baseline atavism, etcetera.
    [2] Generic term for modosophont rogues and malcontents, either dangerous or potentially so to other sapients. Some live a degraded existence in their biospheres and ships (not having the resources of the AIs, the adaptability of the tweaks, the ability of the cyborgs, or the comfort of the AI-devotee nearbaselines). Others, with access to ships, become pirates, black marketeers, and petty thugs.
  • Filenapping - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A crime where, using a cryptovirus that encrypts files with a strong encryption scheme, the criminal can extort the victim. "If you don't put 10 megacred in this untraceable monetary network you will never see your dear accounts again!".
  • Fry  - Text by John B
    Illegal variant on Brainstorm with similar short-term effects. However, it has been modified slightly so that the effects coming off of it are much nastier, and quite possibly lethal. Fry is most often used by underground agents to 'recruit' a stable of superbrights who thought they were getting Brainstorm. After the injection, the agent explains the difference, and starts by mentioning that he's currently out of the stuff. However, if the hu would care to think about how to do (fill in the blank), he might be able to interest someone else in providing another dose...
  • Gnostic Drugs  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Synthetic drugs (or other methods) producing an intense feeling of meaning or understanding. Their effects are similar to or identical with some forms of mystical insight.
  • Godseed - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic term for any device that can bring about a radical ascension in the user's toposophic status, or the toposophic status of any sentient or sub-sentient to which it is applied. Many godseeds can exert a catastrophic effect on the user, or result in ascensions among the unprepared or maladjusted that result in perversities. For this reason the technology has become proscribed in many polities. Some well-known godseeds include Atzilut Sparkles, SNARE , the Olympus Pill, and Vinge's Revenge. There is a flourishing blackmarket traffic in godseeds, especially in less regulated regions of the galaxy.
  • Hack, Hacker, Hacking, Cracker, Cracking  - Text by John B
    Infotech intrusion enthusiasts who try to penetrate the firewalls and icescreens of other datasystems. Most hackers are harmless or benign, although there are a few destructive ones.
  • Hemi - Text by John B
    An offshoot of Brainstorm, Hemi has much reduced side effects and greatly enhances one hemisphere of the brain. A person suffering an artistic 'blockage' might take a dose of Right Hemi to break through the blockage, or a would-be composer take it to provide talent which might otherwise be lacking. Hemi, due to its even more severely psychologically addictive nature, is illegal in all but the rarest communities. Left Hemi, incidentally, handles mathematics...
  • Hijack, Backup hijack - Text by Steve Bowers
    The crime of illegally copying an uploaded or stored personality, generally obtained during or after the backup procedure. These illegal copies can then be sold on the black market as virtual slaves, for use in computation or for entertainment.
  • Key Integrity Span - Text by Fernando Peņa D'Andrea
    In the information, knowledge and mind/virch security jargon, the period of time elapsed between the creation of a security, protection, encryption mechanism and it's cracking, subversion or cracking. Also known as "Murphy span" (corollary of Murphy's law - If a security mechanism can be cracked, sooner or later it will be cracked) almost as a joke in the area.
  • KROME1101  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A militant vec protection organization.
  • Mind Casinos - Text by Anders Sandberg
    In many systems various forms of gambling are forbidden, but that doesn't prevent many beings from desiring them. Mind Casinos are one possibility where mental scans are illegal: using customized mental hardware or even software (in the case of aioids) hosts run virtual casinos within their own minds, accessible through their netports. Usually mind casino rings employ their own digital cash, "tokens", which can be exchanged for favors at a fixed rate - visitors give monetary "gifts" to the host or his proxies, receiving tokens that can be used in the games and then converted into money or services. Beings in debt have to pay off their debt through services, and this is often how mind casino rings really earn their money. Quite often the debtors become hosts themselves to pay off their debt.
  • Mindhacker - Text by John B
    Illegal profession in many if not most clades or polities. Specializes in extracting information from the mental processes of a target sophont. The best mindhackers can extract full information replicas without the target recognizing this, but that is exceedingly rare without a transapient intellectual rating. Mindworker profession.
  • Mindjacking - Text by Michael Beck
    Getting control over somebody's mind by nanoinfiltrators, hacking internal computers or other means. They can be made into willing accomplices, cat paws, slaves or just convinced to give you all their money.
  • Nanoveau Hallucinogens  - Text by John B
    With the generation of new technologies, new ways to abuse them were bound to happen. Shortly before the nanodisaster, urban myth indicates the first of what became called 'Nanoveau hallucinogens' became available. This blood-borne paste (i.e. - non-reproductive nanogen) became a very popular 'party drug' in the vein (pun intended) of LSD and Ecstacy.
  • Narcotic Programs - Text by James Ramsey
    NP's are data files that have a similar effect on non-biological sapients as narcotic chemicals have on biologicals. These programs create similar affects to being intoxicated. Common among the seedier Vec, Cyborg, and AI communities. Type 1 NP's are non-addictive and have no negative side affects. T1NP's are the vec equivalent of cocktails at parties. Type 2 NP's create a stronger affect and tend to be addictive. T2NP's are as bad for the mental health of non-biologicals as chemical narcotics are for biological mental health.
  • Omerta  - Text by Michael Beck
    Commercial organization that serves as a go-between to allow criminals to find work. Employs heavy public key encryption. Illegal on all civilized worlds, but you find them everywhere even so.
  • Partial Death - Text by Anders Sandberg
    When an extended entity suffers partial irrevocable destruction, removing sizable aspects of the previous individuality. Legal concept intermediate between wounding and death in many jurisdictions.
  • Perceptions Shows  - Text by John B; additions by Stephen Inniss
    'Perceptions' is the common name for a type of reality show usually shown on grey or black-legality stations.
  • Performance Criminal - Text by John B
    In many of the polities of the Inner Sphere it is exceedingly difficult to commit an act that is considered a crime under local law. Angelnetting and ubiquitous memetic engineering prevent most sophonts from considering violating the local laws. Performance criminals are those either designed or licensed by the local powers to rebel (and thus present a spectacular moral play or otherwise release societal tensions), or those who attempt on their own to inculcate a resistance to the powers' memetic engineering and able for a time to subvert the localnet. The latter are quite rare and usually doomed.
  • Poisigliders  - Text by Peter Kisner
    As is unfortunately the case with many prosocial inventions an antagonistic variant or use is often devised. In the case of the Filiglider, flying food, this took the form of Poisigliders and Bamagliders.
  • Prefilters - Text by Michael Beck
    An invention of the Information Age, prefilters were originally intended to make sure that people only heard music they liked. A prefilter monitored personal reactions to certain types of music, then used evolutionary algorithms to determine what songs the individual liked most. This was relatively harmless, but later prefilteres monitored reactions to news. Soon people were were only hearing news that they wanted to hear, and never had to have the unpleasantness of encountering an opinion that they didn't already agree with. This has some unfortunate side effects on social cohesion and consensus-building, though of course news of this was slow to spread to those who found it upsetting. Most societies and polities today place restrictions on the use of prefilters, or prohibit them entirely.
  • Sapient Food  - Text by Espen Antonsen
    Food in any shape or form that can feel pain, have the ability to solve problems and think. Banned throughout much of the terragen sphere except for some barbarous regions.
  • Sense Pirate - Text by Keith Halperin
    Steals/hacks various sensations, a sort of black-market professional-dreamer tech.
  • Sentient Engineering Code Breaking  - Text by John B (inspired by Dr William Sims Bainbridge's work on 'personality capture')
    It is considered 'possible' (if impractical) for a being to give enough information about itself over a period of time that its thought processes can be modeled solely from its external actions.
  • Sentient Fruit  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    One of the more disturbing pleasures developed by biotechnology is sentient fruit. Sentient fruits are traditional fruits gengineered to contain a neural net making them able to sense touch and pain. Using a simple biotech neural interface the experience of the fruit can be experienced by the eater.
  • Shacker - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    A criminal involved in shacking.
  • Shacking - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    Hacking the minds of virtuals, or embodied sophonts who are online through a direct neural interface, and using them as puppets for criminal activity. If the traces of the shacking are cleverly erased, the hacked sophont may have trouble proving that e is not guilty. Usually a chain of beings is shacked to better hide the original offender.
  • Soon-Eh  - Text by Daniel Eliot Boese
    A clade of nanoborgs whose members are partway between biont and ufog; highly metamorphic liquiforms, they can assume the shapes and attributes of a wide variety of solid or liquid forms, with a range similar to Plasm SELs. Each individual is effectively an uploaded mind running on a substrate of ufog cytobots. They are notorious for a culture that involves consuming the bodies and subverting the minds of other sophont beings.
  • Sophoncy Virus, The  - Text by Tony Jones
    Self-replicating semi-sophont software that would upgrade any software routine into a sophont being, with mental characteristics derived from, but not limited to, those of the original piece of software, finishing the process by upgrading itself into sophoncy.
  • Subsumption  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Subsumption is a form of violent assault, carried out by one AI or virtual against another. It has been compared, inadequately, to such perversions as rape, cannibalism, and bodyjacking. Of these, cannibalism is the closest equivalent.
  • Supersophonts  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, with additions by Steve Bowers, Luke Campbell and Todd Drashner
    Clarktech seeds which confer super-powered augmentations to users.
  • Tormentor Tours  - Text by Steve Bowers
    An often illegal form of recreational tourism, in which a jaded citizen may visit a lower tech region, with the express purpose of creating mild havoc; appearing to the inhabitants as spirits, mythological figures, aliens, or time travellers from the future.
  • Vanishment   - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Complete erasure of an entity from history and common memory. Possible within a virch that has no external records, or wherever personal memories may be accessed and revised by some central body and external records are not present. It is commonly believed that in the Civilized Galaxy in the modern era cases are rare and voluntary, but this was not true in the past and is not true elsewhere. The true extent of this practice is not known since successful Vanishment does not leave any record of whoever or whatever was erased.
  • Virtual Drugs  - Text by Todd Drashner with some additions by Steve Bowers
    The simulation of the effects of drug use experienced via direct neural interface (or by virtual entities).
  • Virtual Labyrinths  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Virtual environments can be used to confuse or contain as easily as to educate or entertain. Virtual Labyrinths, known by a variety of names across the Terragen sphere (Subtillion Traps, Epistemogrifiers, Dreamweirs), are one of the most deadly of these forms of confusion.
  • White Rabbit  - Text by Peter Kisner
    Pharm manufactured and exported to some degree by The Rat Barrel.
 
Related Topics
 
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 23 September 2003.