Michael Lawrie

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Michael Lawrie is the Technical Manager of Eastnet.ca and Trolltamers - Here's a brief history.

The Early Days

Michael is considered to be one of the earliest pioneers of the European Internet and global Social Internetworking. He started using and moderating online systems in 1982 and wrote his first online Multi-User Game in 1984, designing and building a substantial networking infrastructure to support it. He moved on to manage the first ever MUD [1] at Essex University from 1987 to 1991, creating other major multi-user games such as MIST [2] in that time. He is credited with creating the extended endgame and adding in more social aspects to gameplay. He was the first person to release MUDs that people could host and run themselves in 1989 [3] and was key in bringing the Internet Relay Chat out of Finland to the Internet as a whole. [4]

Throughout the eighties, Michael was involved with public access network systems in the UK, including the Edinburgh University Tardis project [5] and HICOM [6], a joint project between DEC, BT, the BCS, the BPS and Loughborough University. In 1991 he began offering free public access Internet via HICOM to anybody who could think of a good reason, thus opening up the global Internet to the public for the first time in the UK. His current Internet consultancy has been active since 1992, and Eastnet.ca became the consultancy's Canadian offshoot when he moved to Nova Scotia.

Michael has been involved in Domain Names since the early 90s and his oldest global domain (hicom.org) was registered in May of 1992. An accidental court battle with Harrods department store [7] earned him the title "The Information Superhighwayman" by the British press. The title not only gave him the somewhat odd reputation of being the world's first domain name speculator, it also provided a good name for his personal Weblog [8]. Despite a later run-in with the British Airports Authority over a website devoted to sheep, [9] he has prosecuted more domain name and trademark cases than he has defended.


Michael moved on to become one of the first systems professionals involved with creating British Telecom's Internet company, BTnet, then later became BT's head of Commercial Security dealing with a range of customers and sectors including Government, Police, Education, the NHS, Banking, Insurance, Telecoms, Retail & Manufacture and also some of the smaller to medium enterprise customers. He was one of the first to build and manage BT’s backbone: commercial and home Internet and their mobile Internet services. Before working for BT, Michael had already spent over ten years in computer, financial and network security, working for a number of major companies including DEC, Credit Suisse, Hughes, British Rail, Deloitte, Cellnet, Leukaemia Research and Swiss Bank. He was also privately consulting in large scale risk-assessments, computer-misuse investigations and forensics, and working on some large-scale, worldwide hacking cases, pioneering a number of early network forensics techniques along the way. As an early executive member of the Professional Bodyguard Association, Michael is also a specialist in threat-assessment, counter-surveillance and some of the more esoteric aspects of real-world security.

Recruitment.com and beyond

Michael left BT to create Recruitment.com, at the time one of the first online recruitment companies. As CTO, he was integral to building up the company to have both a large Internet and high-street presence and hundreds of staff. The company was worth in excess of fifty million dollars before he retired. He then spent some time training in and writing about Risk-Analysis, Commercial Security, Policy and IT Law [10] at Middlesex University in London, conducting risk surveys, and reviewing security policies and systems designs. He also occasionally wrote about and taught things that aren’t security related at all. He is slowly rewriting a book that he wrote under NDA a few years ago, [11] ,and is working on another book about castles. Both are expected to be finished in about 2099.

Michael has been involved in a number of high profile battles with large companies over trademark law, of which the most notorious was a two-year case against British Airports Authority over an internet site for sheep.

More Information

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