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[1] law-enforcement operations that were influential in the foundation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


In 1993, Steve Jackson Games vs. The Secret Service 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), a well-known computer hacker better known by his pseudonym "The Mentor", was hired by Steve Jackson Games in 1989.[2] 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.[3][4] 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.[5] To this day, the GURPS Cyberpunk book lists "Unsolicited Comments: The United States Secret Service" on its credits page.[6]


  1. ^ "The Top Ten Media Errors About the SJ Games Raid". Steve Jackson Games. 1994-10-12. 
  2. ^ Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7. 
  3. ^ Bruce Sterling (1991). The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier. Bantam Books. p. 122. ISBN 0-553-56370-X. 
  4. ^ Frank Biocca; Mark R. Levy (1995). Communication in the Age of Virtual Reality. Routledge. p. 353. ISBN 978-1-135-69357-2. 
  5. ^ Bruce Esquibel (1994-10-08). ""Operation Sundevil" is finally over for Dr. Ripco". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  6. ^ Loyd Blankenship (1990). GURPS Cyberpunk. Steve Jackson Games. ISBN 1-55634-168-7. 

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