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Donn B. Parker papers

Identifier: CBI 166

Scope and Content Note

The Donn B. Parker Papers consist of five main series: Donn B. Parker Talks and Writings, Professional Activities, Subject Files, SRI Computer Crime Case Files and Audio/Visual Materials.

In the course of Parker’s research, he and his SRI colleagues collected and categorized the largest amount of reported computer crime material in the world, created the most complete list of information abuse methods, and used it as the subject of research, reports, and other writings. The bulk of the collection contains SRI computer abuse and crime case files from 1958-2001 and materials in the process of investigation for becoming case files, including newspaper clippings and articles, field investigations, interviews and reports, and indexes to and listings of SRI case files.

The remainder of the collection consists of a portion of Parker’s talks and writings, professional activities and subject files. Talks and writings include articles, reports, and monographs. Parker’s professional activities are documented in project reports and other materials. Subject files are an artificially created series of miscellaneous materials collected by Parker outside the scope of his professional activities and writings. The materials include a large collection of computer security articles on various topics, biographical information, humor files and general SRI materials and reports.

The SRI Computer Crime Case Files series documents both numbered case files and materials in the process of gathering for potential case files (with the absence of an actual case file number). The latter were found in varying stages including loose clippings, clippings, articles, and reports grouped by state, country, or type of crime, and other various categories of computer crimes and issues.

Numbered SRI case files are identified by a five-digit number. The first two digits indicate the year of the incident, the next digit (between 1-4) indicates the type of computer crime committed, and the last two digits represent a sequence number for incidents of a particular type, which occurred within a given year.

There are four main case types indicated by numbers one through four. One (1) indicates Physical Destruction which includes facility, service, hardware, and software damage, and data destruction. Two (2) indicates Intellectual and Property Deception and Taking, including fraud and theft of rights, information, inventory and software. Three (3) denotes Financial Deception and Taking, such as embezzlement and fraud, and Four (4) identifies cases involving Unauthorized Use of Service which includes unauthorized use sale of service, unauthorized use of data, unfair and deceptive practices, and hacking and cracking.

Example: 75105 indicates the fifth occurrence of a computer crime case involving physical destruction (type 1) in 1975. The next occurrence of that type in 1975 would have an SRI case file number of 75106. Researchers should note that some early case files were written with four digits instead of five, using one digit to indicate the sequence of occurrence number instead of two for a particular year. Most, but not all of these numbers were later altered.

Materials used in the process of creating potential case files are either unorganized and/or unverified (loose clippings), or are organized in varying degrees. Though there is a clear distinction between numbered case files and other case file materials, the Materials Filed by Type of Crime subseries retains only a part of the same number system as the five-digit numbered SRI case files. This particular subseries contains the year and the type of computer crime, but not the last two digits indicating the sequence of occurrences for that particular year, therefore, these incidents did not advance into the system as an official SRI case file.

In addition to the numbered case files and materials, this series contains other computer security crime articles and reports which used Parker, his colleagues, and SRI computer crime data as sources. Researchers should note that grant reports contain a great deal of useful overview information about SRI International’s case file gathering process and computer crime assessments. Grant reports contain grant number and SRI project number. The number after the grant number indicates a sub-project within a NSF grant.

Acronyms used in this finding aid:

  1. ACM = Association for Computing Machinery
  2. AFIPS = American Federation of Information Processing Societies
  3. BJS = Bureau of Justice Statistics
  4. CDC = Control Data Corporation
  5. DOJ = United States Department of Justice
  6. I-4 = International Information Integrity Institute
  7. ISSA = Information Systems Security Association, Inc.
  8. JURIS = Justice Retrieval and Inquiry System
  9. NISAC = National Information Security Assessment Center
  10. NIST = National Institute of Standards and Technology
  11. NSF = National Science Foundation
  12. OCM = Organizational Computer Misuse [Study]
  13. SRI = Stanford Research Institute


  • Creation: 1958-2001


Language of Materials


Access to materials:

Access to the collection is unrestricted.


The Charles Babbage Institute holds the copyright to all materials in the collection, except for items covered by a prior copyright (such as published materials). Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provisions of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

Biographical Note

Donn B. Parker, pioneer and expert in the field of computer and information crime and security. Parker was educated at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a BA and MA in Mathematics (1952 and 1954). In 1954 he joined General Dynamics Corporation as a programmer, eventually becoming manager of programming in computer operations. In 1962, Parker went to work for Control Data Corporation as a manager of computer services and computer research.

In 1969 he joined the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) as the director of computer resources. Parker stayed with SRI for the next 30 years researching, collecting information, and writing about national and international computer abuse/crime incidents and trends. Funding for his work came predominantly from the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Justice, and later from the United States Department of Defense and SRI's International Information Integrity Institute (I-4). I-4 was a membership organization providing confidential security risk management assistance for business organizations. Parker founded I-4 in 1986 and was the first director.

Starting in 1997, Parker served as Senior Management Systems Consultant (retired) for the computer security program at SRI Consulting, which changed its name to AtomicTangerine in 2000.

Parker was also active in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) since 1954, and as an elected officer and committee chairman in the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS).

Parker lectured internationally, and authored and co-authored books and reports including, Crime by Computer(1976), Ethical Conflicts in Computer Science and Technology(1978 and 1990), Computer Security Management(1983), Fighting Computer Crime(1983), and Fighting Computer Crime: a New Framework for Protecting Information(1998), as well as numerous articles.

Stanford Research Institute was established in 1946 as a part of Stanford University. SRI separated from Stanford in 1970 and in 1977 changed its name to SRI International. SRI International established SRI Consulting, whose Information Security Program was later named AtomicTangerine, Inc. in 2000. In 2001, RedSiren, Inc. acquired AtomicTangerine to form RedSiren Technologies, Inc.


33 boxes (33 cubic feet)


The Donn B. Parker Papers consist of five main series: Donn B. Parker Talks and Writings, Professional Activities, Subject Files, SRI Computer Crime Case Files and Audio/Visual Materials, documenting his work in the field of computer and information crime and security.

Arrangement of Collection

The collection is arranged into five main series:

  1. Donn B. Parker Talks and Writings
  2. Professional Activities
  3. Subject Files
  4. SRI Computer Crime Case Files
  5. Audio/Visual Materials


The records were given to the Charles Babbage Institute by Donn B. Parker in July 2001 and by RedSiren, Inc. in September 2002.


Donn B. Parker Papers, 1958-2001. Finding Aid.
Prepared by Carrie Seib, Maria Plonski, Amanda Schwarze, and David Berge, 2002-2003.
Language of description
Script of description
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Collecting Area Details

Contact The Charles Babbage Institute Archives Collecting Area

Elmer L. Andersen Library
222 - 21st Avenue South
Minneapolis MN 55455