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  • Writer's pictureRanieri & Co.

Motherlode - Interview with Host Greg Muller

In 2022, Ranieri & Co will launch their first original podcast, Motherlode. Motherlode is a historical investigative podcast about early computer hacking in Australia and its evolution during the past three decades.

Motherlode details the cybercrime activities of young hackers, including Julian Assange in the 1980’s and 1990’s in Melbourne who pushed the boundaries of computer security systems around the world. The podcast will also look into the story of the local and international law enforcement agencies pursuing them. Motherlode explores the hacker ethic which developed from this time from the birth of hacktivism to one of the most disruptive websites in the world, Wikileaks.

The podcast is hosted by Greg Muller. Greg is an award-winning TV, radio, online journalist and podcast producer, with more than 20 years experience in the Australian media. Based in Melbourne, Greg managed Gertie's Law, an award winning podcast series from the Supreme Court of Victoria. He Recently worked as Executive Producer for The Age’s multi award-winning investigative podcast, 'Wrong Skin’.

We asked Greg more about the series.

1. Tell us about the premise of Motherlode in your own words.

The birthplace of hacktivism had its humble origins in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. To some they were curious explorers of the new frontier that was the internet - to others they were criminals breaking into computer systems of the biggest organisations on the planet. The skills and motivations went on to inform a whole new way of looking at the world - one enabled by technology and politics of the time. The growing distrust of governments, institutions and corporations, and the power the internet, can give an individual this. It has massive implications - both good and bad depending on your perspective.

2. How did you get involved with the project?

Once I heard about the premise I was amazed that such an incredible story happened in my own backyard.

These guys grew up at the same time as me and I had no idea it was going on. I think in 100 years, we'll look back on this time as pivotal in the direction of our society.

3. What's your favorite part of working on the podcast?

I was mostly unaware of the culture around the internet. Some of the political movements which existed online. A new politics which wasn't left or right such as Cypherpunks but which went onto inform the internet we have today and disrupted everything from media, journalism, politics and democracy.

4. What was the most challenging aspect of creating Motherlode?

I was surprised as to how much secrecy still surrounds these stories. I thought it was going to be a historical podcast, but sensitivities around these activities 30 years ago are still strong. From numerous Freedom of Information requests and going to court to overturn suppression orders - there was a surprising amount of information still hidden. And many people still are not prepared to go on the record about what was going on.

5. Who do you think will enjoy this podcast?

Everyone has some idea of Wikileaks and the global disruption it has caused - but it didn't come out of nowhere. The backstory is fascinating. People interested in politics, society and technology I think will find this series fascinating.

6. Who was your favourite guest on the show?

There's a few. Geoff Huston was great to talk to. Computer scientist who was around at the time and still works in the field. I found Kelsie Nabban's insights into the Cypherpunks fascinating. Suelette Dreyfus explains the early days so well - both as an academic and also a participant.

7. What other podcasts are you listening to at the moment?

Just finished Boys Like Me from CBC. Operator from Wondery. I just caught up with Against the Rules from Michael Lewis which was fascinating. And for relief I like Everything is Alive.

Watch this space for more details and a release date for Motherlode. If you have any questions on creating an original podcast or advertising on podcasts, contact us here.

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