March 11, 2013 Arcata, California
Prior to his opposition to Scientology practices, Grady Ward compiled the Moby Project, an extensive compilation of English language lexical resources and in 1996 released it to the public domain. One of its components, Moby Thesaurus, has more than 2.5 million synonyms and related words, making it the largest thesaurus in the English language as of early 2006. Previously, Ward was known for compiling and distributing a public domain version of the complete works of William Shakespeare, Moby Shakespeare, which has been credited as being the most widely distributed works of Shakespeare in the world.
In 1993 his publisher, the Austin Code Works was investigated for the export of strong cryptography; the US government at the time treated cryptographic software above a certain strength as the legal equivalent of munitions and restricted them accordingly. Ward spent time developing source code fragments collectively called Moby Crypto to encourage the pervasive development of programs containing state-of-the-art cryptography. Ward also promoted the idea of creating secure, memorable pass-phrases through "shocking nonsense." On 30 March 1995 he aided in the distribution of an NSA employee handbook when it was leaked by the on-line magazine Phrack arguing that if the government could not keep safe its own materials, then why would anyone trust them to maintain a secure key escrow scheme the NSA had proposed?
In 1996 the Church of Scientology sued Ward, alleging that he was responsible for anonymous postings of material to which the Church claimed copyright. After several years of litigation in which Ward defended pro per in forma pauperis and responded to more than 1000 docket items in the Northern District of California, San Jose, the lawsuit was eventually settled on 12 May 1998. Ward prevailed on the Church's trade secret claim resulting in a dismissal with prejudice, but agreed to a stipulated judgement on Scientology's copyright claim. Without a finding of liability by Ward, he agreed to pay Scientology $200 a month for life. Unusually for legal settlements with the Church of Scientology, the settlement was not secret, and contained no restrictions on what Ward could say about Scientology. The settlement itself became a source of ongoing legal dispute with two appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but to date it has not been violated by either party.
On February 16, 2012, Grady Ward published a novel, The Celestial Instructi0n, detailing a fictional attack on the United States information infrastructure. In 2012, his niece, K. E. Ward, also an author, published a novel, The Heart Grows Stronger.
- "Moby at Project Gutenberg".
- "Moby Shakespeare".
- "Wired's article on US Government investigation of cryptography export".
- "Passphrase FAQ".— "'Shocking nonsense' means to make up a short phrase or sentence that is both nonsensical and shocking in the culture of the user, that is, it contains grossly obscene, racist, impossible or other extreme juxtaposition of ideas. This technique is permissible because the passphrase, by its nature, is never revealed to anyone with sensibilities to be offended."
- "EFF resources on the NSA Employee Manual".
- "EFF resources on key-escrow".
- C 96-20207 RMW N.D. California, San Jose
- RTC v Ward settlement agreement before US District Judge Jeremy Fogel, May 12, 1998
- ASIN B007A80V18, The Celestial Instructi0n (2012-07-29)
- Potty-Mouth FAQ
- D. J. Leonie Brinkema (E.D. Va.) Order, October 4, 1996 in RTC v. Lerma Civil Action No 95-1107-A.