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John Markoff Speaker Agent

John Markoff

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John Markoff Biography

John Markoff is a senior writer for the New York Times, where he covers computer and technology issues. Markoff is also known for his coverage of the 1990s pursuit and capture of hacker Kevin Mitnick.

Markoff was born in Oakland, California and grew up in Palo Alto, California. He graduated from Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington, with a B.A. in Sociology in 1971. Additionally, he received an M.A. in sociology from the University of Oregon in 1976.

After leaving graduate school, he returned to California where he began writing for Pacific News Service, an alternative news syndicate based in San Francisco. He freelanced for a number of publications including The Nation, Mother Jones, and Saturday Review. In 1981 he became part of the original staff of the computer industry weekly InfoWorld. In 1984 he became an editor at Byte Magazine and in 1985 he left to become a reporter in the business section of the San Francisco Examiner, where he wrote about Silicon Valley.

On July 4, 1994, he wrote an article about Kevin Mitnick, who was then a fugitive from a number of law enforcement agencies. He wrote several more pieces detailing Mitnick's capture. Markoff also co-wrote, with Tsutomu Shimomura, the book Takedown about the chase. The book later became a controversial film that was released directly to video in the United States. Markoff's writing about Mitnick was the subject of criticism by Mitnick supporters and unaffiliated parties who maintained that Markoff's accounts exaggerated or even invented Mitnick's activities and successes. Markoff stood by his reporting in several responses.

Markoff's involvement with Mitnick is thoroughly covered in the documentary Freedom Downtime, in which an interview is conducted with Markoff who is unable to elaborate on the veracity of Mitnick's charges.

After Mitnick, Markoff continued to write about technology, focusing at times on wireless networking, writing early stories about non-line-of-sight broadband wireless, phased-array antennas, and multiple-in, multiple-out (MIMO) antenna systems to enhance Wi-Fi. He covered Jim Gillogly's 1999 break of the first three sections of the CIA's Kryptos cipher and writes regularly about semiconductors and supercomputers as well. He wrote the first two articles describing Admiral John Poindexter's return to government and the creation of the Total Information Awareness project. He shared the 2005 Gerald Loeb Award in the Deadline Writing category for the story "End of an Era". In 2009 he moved from the Business/Tech section of the New York Times to the Science section.

Markoff contributed to the New York Times staff entry that received the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. The series of 10 articles explored the business practices of Apple and other technology companies. He retired from his full-time position with the New York Times on December 1, 2016. He continues to work as a freelance journalist for the Times and other organizations and volunteers at the Computer History Museum.

Markoff is also author of The High Cost of High Tech, published by Harper & Row in 1985; Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier, written with Katie Hafner and published in 1991 by Simon and Schuster; What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry (2005), A Robot Network Seeks to Enlist Your Computer (2008), and Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots (2015). In 2018, Markoff is interviewed in Do You Trust This Computer?, a documentary on artificial intelligence.

All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking John Markoff for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on John Markoff speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.

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