Contentious expertise: Hacking mobile phones, changing mobile technology


  • Niels Jorgensen Roskilde University



Chaos Computer Club, technological controversy, expertise


The concept ‘contentious expertise’ is proposed to account for technological expertise applied in technological controversies. Activists from the Chaos Computer Club, a German hacker group, adapted contentious expertise when they built a so-called clone of a mobile phone SIM card in 1998, and used the clone to publicly make a phone call — free of charge. The activists blamed the secret design of SIM cards, and subsequently, the design was changed and made fully public. The activists’ technical knowledge was crucial for the success of the hack. The paper ask how novel was the knowledge used in the hack, how did the activists acquire their knowledge in the first place, and were the hackers right in believing that their hack would always work?




How to Cite

Jorgensen, N. (2022). Contentious expertise: Hacking mobile phones, changing mobile technology. First Monday, 27(3).