Technology: You Must Be Punished

For computer buffs visiting Pakistan's historic city of Lahore, it seemed too good a bargain to pass up. A shop called Brain Computer Services was selling brand-name computer programs, such as Lotus 1-2-3 and WordStar, which can cost several hundred dollars in the U.S., for as little as $1.50 each. During a period of nearly two years, from early 1986 to late 1987, scores of Americans -- most of them students and backpackers -- paraded through the small carpeted store, snapping up cut-rate disks for use on their computers back home.

They took away a lot more than a piece of...

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