Tag Archives: secret

SJ Games vs. the Secret Service

Posted: August 6, 2016 at 4:49 pm

SJ Games vs. the Secret Service

On March 1, 1990, the offices of Steve Jackson Games, in Austin, Texas, were raided by the U.S. Secret Service as part of a nationwide investigation of data piracy. The initial news stories simply reported that the Secret Service had raided a suspected ring of hackers. Gradually, the true story emerged.

More than three years later, a federal court awarded damages and attorneys’ fees to the game company, ruling that the raid had been careless, illegal, and completely unjustified. Electronic civil-liberties advocates hailed the case as a landmark. It was the first step toward establishing that online speech IS speech, and entitled to Constitutional protection … and, specifically, that law-enforcement agents can’t seize and hold a BBS with impunity.

On the morning of March 1, without warning, a force of armed Secret Service agents accompanied by Austin police and at least one civilian “expert” from the phone company occupied the offices of Steve Jackson Games and began to search for computer equipment. The home of Loyd Blankenship, the writer of GURPS Cyberpunk, was also raided. A large amount of equipment was seized, including four computers, two laser printers, some loose hard disks and a great deal of assorted hardware. One of the computers was the one running the Illuminati BBS.

The only computers taken were those with GURPS Cyberpunk files; other systems were left in place. In their diligent search for evidence, the agents also cut off locks, forced open footlockers, tore up dozens of boxes in the warehouse, and bent two of the office letter openers attempting to pick the lock on a file cabinet.

The next day, accompanied by an attorney, Steve Jackson visited the Austin offices of the Secret Service. He had been promised that he could make copies of the company’s files. As it turned out, he was only allowed to copy a few files, and only from one system. Still missing were all the current text files and hard copy for this book, as well as the files for the Illuminati BBS with their extensive playtest comments.

In the course of that visit, it became clear that the investigating agents considered GURPS Cyberpunk to be “a handbook for computer crime.” They seemed to make no distinction between a discussion of futuristic credit fraud, using equipment that doesn’t exist, and modern real-life credit card abuse. A repeated comment by the agents was “This is real.”

Over the next few weeks, the Secret Service repeatedly assured the SJ Games attorney that complete copies of the files would be returned “tomorrow.” But these promises weren’t kept; the book was reconstructed from old backups, playtest copies, notes and memories.

On March 26, almost four weeks after the raid, some (but not all) of the files were returned. It was June 21, nearly four months later, when most (but not all) of the hardware was returned. The Secret Service kept one company hard disk, all Loyd’s personal equipment and files, the printouts of GURPS Cyberpunk, and several other things.

The raid, and especially the confiscation of the game manuscript, caused a catastrophic interruption of the company’s business. SJ Games very nearly closed its doors. It survived only by laying off half its employees, and it was years before it could be said to have “recovered.”

Why was SJ Games raided? That was a mystery until October 21, 1990, when the company finally received a copy of the Secret Service warrant affidavit at their request, it had been sealed. And the answer was … guilt by remote association.

While reality-checking the book, Loyd Blankenship corresponded with a variety of people, from computer security experts to self-confessed computer crackers. From his home, he ran a legal BBS which discussed the “computer underground,” and he knew many of its members. That was enough to put him on a federal List of Dangerous Hoodlums! The affidavit on which SJ Games were raided was unbelievably flimsy … Loyd Blankenship was suspect because he ran a technologically literate and politically irreverent BBS, because he wrote about hacking, and because he received and re-posted a copy of the /Phrack newsletter. The company was raided simply because Loyd worked there and used its (entirely different) BBS!

As for GURPS Cyberpunk, it had merely been a target of opportunity … something “suspicious” that the agents picked up at the scene. The Secret Service allowed SJ Games (and the public) to believe, for months, that the book had been the target of the raid.

The one bright spot in this whole affair was the creation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In mid-1990, Mitch Kapor, John Barlow and John Gilmore formed the EFF to address this and similar outrages. It’s a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the Constitutional rights of computer users. (For more information, look at the EFF web site, or write them at 454 Shotwell St., San Francisco, CA 94110.) The EFF provided the financial backing that made it possible for SJ Games and four Illuminati users to file suit against the Secret Service.

Two active electronic-civil-liberties groups also formed in Texas: EFF-Austin and Electronic Frontiers Houston, which have since merged to become Electronic Frontiers Texas.

And science fiction writer Bruce Sterling turned his hand to journalism and wrote The Hacker Crackdown about this and other cases where the law collided with technology. A few months after it was published in hardback, he released it to the Net, and you can read it online.

In early 1993, the case finally came to trial. SJ Games was represented by the Austin firm of George, Donaldson & Ford. The lead counsel was Pete Kennedy.

And we won. The judge gave the Secret Service a tongue-lashing and ruled for SJ Games on two out of the three counts, and awarded over $50,000 in damages, plus over $250,000 in attorney’s fees. In October 1994, the Fifth Circuit turned down SJ Games’ appeal of the last (interception) count … meaning that right now, in the Fifth Circuit, it is not “interception” of your e-mail messages when law enforcement officials walk out the door with the computer holding them.

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SJ Games vs. the Secret Service

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Americas #1 Cryptocurrency: The Secret Currency …

Posted: July 24, 2015 at 8:08 pm

A sudden avalanche of folks have been asking about this pitch again, so I thought Id re-share and update my thoughts on something I wrote in the Friday File for the Irregulars back in October of 2013 so yes, this is getting a little old. Much of this is from that original note, or from my update back in January of 2014, though Ive gone through and updated my thoughts (and some of the numbers) a little bit.

From my quick glance, the core of the spiel from the Stansberry folks hasnt changed much for this Secret Currency since then, other than to call it the #1 Cryptocurrency now that that term has entered the popular lexicon (and indeed, the ad is not dramatically different than it was when I first covered similar ads of theirs five or six years ago).

The one thing thats particularly different in the last year or two is that they use the curiosity about Bitcoin to catch your attention

The ad back in 2013 started out as a warning about Bitcoin:

Urgent Message for U.S. Investors:

Do NOT buy Bitcoin until you watch this public message

This is the true story of alternative currencies in America the one you wont hear anywhere else. The story only wealthy families know. Please take five minutes to watch this message and avoid making a very costly Bitcoin mistake.

And then went on to compare Bitcoin to a host of past internet failures or value-destroyers like Webvan and Pets.com and Groupon, and then makes the argument that the secret currency does the same things Bitcoin does (provide some privacy, get away from the US dollar, etc.).

Which is sort of true I have some experience with both this secret currency and with Bitcoin, I tinkered with Bitcoin myself for a to see how it worked and whether it might be a viable alternative to using credit cards, and Im not all that impressed with how useful it might become at the moment though I still have maybe half a bit coin sitting in a wallet somewhere.

This is how they introduce the ad now:

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Americas #1 Cryptocurrency: The Secret Currency …

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#GermanWings 9525: WakeTheFukUp #DISCLOSURE! :: ^Falseflag ^CoPilot ^SUICIDE ^NATO(HELLADS) :: – Video

Posted: April 7, 2015 at 9:48 am



#GermanWings 9525: WakeTheFukUp #DISCLOSURE! :: ^Falseflag ^CoPilot ^SUICIDE ^NATO(HELLADS) ::
http://www.twitter.com/Jamzen 20150324 Crash Site NationalSecurityAnomaLIES: SecretSpaceWeapons(DEWs): Airbus #A320 Germanwings Flight 4U9525 http://youtu.be/g16J95bB_Is 20150328 …

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#GermanWings 9525: WakeTheFukUp #DISCLOSURE! :: ^Falseflag ^CoPilot ^SUICIDE ^NATO(HELLADS) :: – Video

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Tyrone Tells You The Secret To Buy Bitcoin INSTANTLY! – Video

Posted: April 5, 2015 at 9:46 am



Tyrone Tells You The Secret To Buy Bitcoin INSTANTLY!
Go to https://www.bitquick.co/ to get your bitcoins right now!

By: Big Man Tyrone

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Tyrone Tells You The Secret To Buy Bitcoin INSTANTLY! – Video

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Chicago Police Attempt to Destroy First Amendment – Video

Posted: March 5, 2015 at 8:48 pm



Chicago Police Attempt to Destroy First Amendment
Infowars reporter Joe Biggs is outside the secret torture site in Chicago as police begin attempting to close public sidewalks and roads, for parking, before…

By: TheAlexJonesChannel

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Chicago Police Attempt to Destroy First Amendment – Video

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Life Inside a Secret Chinese Bitcoin Mine (Trailer) – Video

Posted: February 7, 2015 at 12:47 am



Life Inside a Secret Chinese Bitcoin Mine (Trailer)
Watch now on MOTHERBOARD: http://bit.ly/Bitcoin-Mining In October of last year Motherboard gained access to a massive, secretive Bitcoin mine housed within a repurposed factory in the Liaoning…

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The Secret To Rand Paul’s Success – Video

Posted: January 28, 2015 at 8:41 pm



The Secret To Rand Paul's Success
Alex Jones covers the news and breaks down why the mainstream media hates Rand Paul so much. http://www.infowars.com/ron-paul-interview-refutes-washington-posts-secessionist-claim/ Follow…

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The Secret To Rand Paul’s Success – Video

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TRANSHUMANIST AGENDA: Lab Rats – Rise of the Secret Soldiers – Video

Posted: January 22, 2015 at 11:44 pm



TRANSHUMANIST AGENDA: Lab Rats – Rise of the Secret Soldiers
http://facelikethesun.com http://canarycryradio.com Lab Rats is about a boy named Leo whose mother get's remarried to a billionaire inventor named Donald Davenport, and when they moved in…

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TRANSHUMANIST AGENDA: Lab Rats – Rise of the Secret Soldiers – Video

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[*NEW*] NSA: Secret Deals With Telecom Giants! James Bamford Talk @ 31c3 28/12/2014 – Video

Posted: January 8, 2015 at 3:52 am



[*NEW*] NSA: Secret Deals With Telecom Giants! James Bamford Talk @ 31c3 28/12/2014
NEW*] NSA: Secret Deals With Telecom Giants! James Bamford Talk @ 31c3 28/12/2014 Tell no-one A century of secret deals between the NSA and the telecom ind…

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[*NEW*] NSA: Secret Deals With Telecom Giants! James Bamford Talk @ 31c3 28/12/2014 – Video

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Video Depleted Uranium NATO’s Dark Secret – Video

Posted: January 3, 2015 at 6:49 am



Video Depleted Uranium NATO's Dark Secret
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Video Depleted Uranium NATO’s Dark Secret – Video

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