Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service
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Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service, 816 F.Supp. 432 (W.D.Tex., 1993), is a legal case that resulted from a raid by the United States Secret Service on the Austin headquarters of Steve Jackson Games in 1990. Along with Operation Sundevil, the Steve Jackson Raid was one of a series of independent law-enforcement operations that were influential in the foundation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
In 1993, Steve Jackson Games vs. The Secret Service finally came to trial. Steve Jackson Games (SJGames) was represented by the Austin firm of George, Donaldson & Ford. The lead counsel was Pete Kennedy. SJGames won two out of the three counts and was awarded $50,000 in damages and $250,000 in attorney's fees. The third count dealing with interception of e-mail was overturned in October 1994 by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The judge also reprimanded the Secret Service, calling their warrant preparation "sloppy", suggesting that they needed "better education" regarding relevant statutes, and finding that they had no basis to suspect SJGames of any wrongdoing.
Loyd Blankenship (born 1965), better known by his pseudonym The Mentor, is a well-known computer hacker and writer. He has been active since the 1970s, when he was a member of the Hacker Groups Extasyy Elite and Legion of Doom.
Blankenship was hired by Steve Jackson Games in 1989. He authored the cyberpunk role-playing sourcebook GURPS Cyberpunk, the manuscript of which was seized in a 1990 raid of Steve Jackson Games headquarters by the U.S. Secret Service. The raid resulted in the subsequent legal case Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service.
Although the raid was not a part of Operation Sundevil, this law enforcement effort, which spanned two years, has a tarnished image owing to a lack of successful prosecutions and questionable procedures. To this day, the GURPS Cyberpunk book lists "Unsolicited Comments: The United States Secret Service" on its credits page.
- GURPS Cyberpunk
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- See Bruce Sterling's book The Hacker Crackdown (ISBN 0-553-56370-X) for a detailed account of these events.
- "The Top Ten Media Errors About the SJ Games Raid". Steve Jackson Games. 1994-10-12.
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- Sterling, Bruce (1991). The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier. Bantam Books. p. 122. ISBN 0-553-56370-X.
- Biocca, Frank; Levy, Mark R. (1995). Communication in the Age of Virtual Reality. Routledge. p. 353. ISBN 978-1-135-69357-2.
- Esquibel, Bruce (1994-10-08). ""Operation Sundevil" is finally over for Dr. Ripco". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
- Blankenship, Loyd (1990). GURPS Cyberpunk. Steve Jackson Games. ISBN 1-55634-168-7.
- SJ Games vs. the Secret Service from Steve Jackson Games website
- Text of the District Court opinion, Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service, 816 F.Supp. 432 (W.D.Tex. 1993).
- Text of the appeal decision, Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. US Secret Service, 36 F. 3d 457 - Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit 1994.