From: f...@eff.org (Cliff Figallo)
Subject: EFFector Online 5.02
Summary: Steve Jackson Games trial update
Date: 19 Feb 93 18:46:46 GMT
Sender: use...@eff.org (NNTP News Poster)
Organization: The Electronic Frontier Foundation
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EFFector Online Volume 5 No. 2 2/19/1993 edit...@eff.org
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
In this issue:
Update on the Steve Jackson Games Case
Contact information for Local and Regional Groups Supporting the
Happy Anniversary ;-) Steve Jackson Games Case!!
March 1st marks the three-year anniversary of the Secret Service
raid on Steve Jackson Games. As we await Judge Sam Sparks's
decision in this precedent-setting case, EFF would like to remind
everyone of what has happened so far.
In May of 1991, EFF reported about the case in issue #1.04 of
On March 1, 1990, the United States Secret Service nearly
destroyed Steve Jackson Games (SJG), an award-winning
publishing business in Austin, Texas.
In an early morning raid with an unlawful and unconstitutional
warrant, agents of the Secret Service conducted a search of the
SJG office. When they left they took a manuscript being prepared
for publication, private electronic mail, and several computers,
including the hardware and software of the SJG Computer Bulletin
Board System. Yet Jackson and his business were not only
innocent of any crime, but never suspects in the first place.
The raid had been staged on the unfounded suspicion that
somewhere in Jackson's office there "might be" a document
compromising the security of the 911 telephone system.
In the months that followed, Jackson saw the business he had
built up over many years dragged to the edge of bankruptcy. SJG
was a successful and prestigious publisher of books and other
materials used in adventure role-playing games. Jackson also
operated a computer bulletin board system (BBS) to communicate
with his customers and writers and obtain feedback and
suggestions on new gaming ideas. The bulletin board was also the
repository of private electronic mail belonging to several of its
users. This private mail was seized in the raid. Despite
repeated requests for the return of his manuscripts and
equipment, the Secret Service has refused to comply fully.
Today, more than a year after that raid, The Electronic Frontier
Foundation, acting with SJG owner Steve Jackson, has filed a
precedent setting civil suit against the United States Secret
Service, Secret Service Agents Timothy Foley and Barbara Golden,
Assistant United States Attorney William Cook, and Henry
"This is the most important case brought to date," said EFF
general counsel Mike Godwin, "to vindicate the Constitutional
rights of the users of computer-based communications technology.
It will establish the Constitutional dimension of electronic
expression. It also will be one of the first cases that invokes
the Electronic Communications and Privacy Act as a shield and not
as a sword -- an act that guarantees users of this digital medium
the same privacy protections enjoyed by those who use the
telephone and the U.S. Mail."
As the case proceeded, the attorneys from George, Donaldson and
Ford, who represented Steve Jackson, Steve Jackson Games, and
Illuminati BBS users Elizabeth McCoy, Steffan O'Sullivan and Walter
Milliken, decided to drop charges against all defendants except the
United States Secret Service. (This was a strategic decision made to
ensure that the trial would proceed in a timely manner.) The case
went to trial in the United States District Court in Austin, Texas, from
January 26 - 28, 1993. The plaintiffs presented their case first with
testimony from all of the plaintiffs themselves, Secret Service Special
Agents Timothy Foley and Barbara Golden, former U.S. District
Attorney William J. Cook, Bellcore security expert Henry Kluepfel,
University of Texas security guard Larry Coutorie, WWIV BBS
software creator Wayne Bell and a financial expert who testified to
the amount of damages. By the end of the second day, the plaintiffs
rested their case.
On Thursday morning, the defense put Special Agent Timothy Foley
back on the witness stand. After he testified that he did not know
that Steve Jackson Games was a publisher, that the seized computer
equipment (3 computers, 5 hard disks, and more than 300 floppies)
had not been accessed by Secret Service investigators after March
27, 1990, but was not returned to Steve Jackson until late June, and
that no copy of the information contained on the seized disks
(including a manuscript for an upcoming publication and the
company's business records) was ever provided to Steve Jackson,
Agent Foley sat through a solid 15-minute reprimand from the judge
on the unacceptability of the government's behavior. The defense
attorneys were so shaken by the judge's admonishments that they
decided not to call any other witnesses.
While Judge Sparks made it clear that he found the Secret Service's
behavior to be reprehensible, it is not clear how he will rule in this
case. The case was based on two rarely-construed federal statutes --
the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and the Privacy
Protection Act (PPA). ECPA says that government officials may not
read private electronic mail unless they have a warrant specific to
that mail. No search warrant specified that Elizabeth McCoy, Steffan
O'Sullivan or Walter Milliken had done any wrong, yet it appears that
their mail -- in fact, ALL of the electronic mail contained on the
system that ran the Illuminati BBS -- had been read and deleted by
agents conducting the search at Secret Service headquarters in
Chicago. PPA requires that law enforcement officers follow special
procedures when the entity to be searched is a publisher, in order to
protect the First Amendment freedom of the press. No special
procedures were followed in this case. So even if the judge finds that
Secret Service behavior was inappropriate, it is not so clear that he
will find that the behavior was actually in violation of these statutes.
We expect Judge Sparks will hand down his decision any time now.
When it is issued, we will be sure to print the written opinion in an
upcoming issue of EFFector Online.
Local and Regional Groups Supporting the Online Community
Many of our members have expressed interest in joining with others
in activities that support the online community. Below is a list of
regional groups that are organized to work on projects to improve
online communications. Feel free to contact any of the folks listed
below with your ideas and to learn more about how you can get
We are constantly looking to update this list, so if you know of other
groups that we should add, or if you are trying to form a group in
your local area, please forward the name of the group and contact
information to Shari Steele at sste...@eff.org.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Shari Steele - sste...@eff.org
Cliff Figallo - f...@eff.org
Electronic Frontier Foundation
666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, #303
Washington, DC 20003
Phone: (202)544-9237 (voice)
Matt Midboe - mmid...@nyx.cs.du.edu
San Francisco Bay Area:
Mitch Ratcliffe - coy...@well.sf.ca.us or
Glenn Tenney - ten...@netcom.com
Judi Clark - ju...@netcom.com
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Washington, DC, Area:
"Group 2600" and some public access operators
Bob Stratton - st...@intercon.com
Mikki Barry - oobl...@intercon.com
EF128 (Electronic Frontier Route 128)
Lar Kaufman - l...@ora.com
Ann Arbor Computer Society & others
Ed Vielmetti - e...@msen.com
msen gopher - gopher.msen.com
msen mail list - majord...@mail.msen.com "info aacs"
Greater Kansas City Sysop Association
Scott Lent - sl...@vax1.umkc.edu
P.O. Box 14480
Parkville, MO 64152
Phone: (816)734-2949 (voice)
FreeNet! and Noise in the Void
Stanton McCandlish - an...@hydra.unm.edu
8020 Central SE #405
Albuquerque, NM 87108
Phone: (505)246-8515 (data - 24hr, 1200-14400 v32bis, N-8-1)
Genesee Community College Group
Thomas J. Klotzbach - 3751...@mcimail.com
Thomas J. Klotzbach
Genesee Community College
Batavia, NY 14020
Phone: (716)343-0055 x358 (voice - work)
New York City:
general - n...@panix.com
Simona Nass - sim...@panix.com
Alexis Rosen - ale...@panix.com
general - eff-aus...@tic.com
directors - eff-austin-direct...@tic.com
Jon Lebkowsky - j...@tic.com
P.O. Box 18957
Austin, TX 78760
Phone: (512)465-7871 (voice)
EFFector Online is published by
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
666 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC 20003
Phone: +1 202 544-9237 FAX: +1 202 547 5481
Internet Address: e...@eff.org
Articles by Shari Steele, EFF Staff Attorney (sste...@eff.org)
Coordination, production and shipping by Cliff Figallo, EFF
Online Communications Coordinator (f...@eff.org)
Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged.
Signed articles do not necessarily represent the view of the EFF.
To reproduce signed articles individually, please contact the authors
for their express permission.
*This newsletter is printed on 100% recycled electrons*
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Cliff Figallo f...@eff.org
Electronic Frontier Foundation (617)576-4500 (voice)
Online Communications Coordinator (617)576-4520 (fax)