1993-03-10 - Steve Jackson Games - Legal issues resolved?

Header Data

From: fergp@sytex.com (Paul Ferguson)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: bc23b8228aee1de7b1d82f152227c8ca06fccda32683e3456c3d8e53be66224d
Message ID: <i6T8ZB3w165w@sytex.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-03-10 20:34:18 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 10 Mar 93 12:34:18 PST

Raw message

From: fergp@sytex.com (Paul Ferguson)
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 93 12:34:18 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Steve Jackson Games - Legal issues resolved?
Message-ID: <i6T8ZB3w165w@sytex.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

This text was extracted from RISKS DIGEST 14.39 -
8<------- Cut Here -----------------------
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 93 10:25:35 -0500
From: Eric Haines <erich@eye.com>
Subject: Steve Jackson Games/Secret Service wrapup
   [Eric Haines, erich@eye.com, sent me a Houston Chronicle article
   by Joe Abernathy, a sometime contributor to RISKS, which Eric found
   in the electronic mail magazine "Desperado" ("no, it's not a magazine
   about hacking").  "There can be justice in the world, after all..."  
   I cannot include the long copyrighted article here, but have excerpted
   from the beginning, as follows.  It's a good article.  Alas, no date.
   But Joe may still be available at Joe.Abernathy@houston.chron.com if
   you want to dig up the whole thing.  Also, see RISKS-9.95,96;10.01,ff.
   for the    earlier history.  PGN]
Steve Jackson Games/Secret Service wrapup
By JOE ABERNATHY Copyright 1993, Houston Chronicle [no date given]
 AUSTIN -- An electronic civil rights case against the Secret Service
 closed Thursday with a clear statement by federal District Judge Sam
 Sparks that the Service failed to conduct a proper investigation in a
 notorious computer crime crackdown, and went too far in retaining
 custody of seized equipment.
 The judge's formal findings in the complex case, which will likely set
 new legal precedents, won't be returned until later.  [...]
 The judge's rebuke apparently convinced the Department of Justice to
 close its defense after calling only ... one of the several government
 witnesses on hand.  "The Secret Service didn't do a good job in this
 case.  We know no investigation took place.  Nobody ever gave any
 concern as to whether (legal) statutes were involved.  We know there
 was damage," Sparks said in weighing damages.
 The lawsuit, brought by Steve Jackson Games of Austin, said that the
 seizure of three computers violated the Privacy Protection Act, which
 provides First Amendment protections against seizing a publisher's works
 in progress.  The lawsuit further said that since one of the computers
 was being used to run a bulletin board system containing private
 electronic mail, the seizure violated the Electronic Communications
 Privacy Act in regards to the 388 callers of the Illuminati BBS.
The testimony described by Joe was rather strange.  Agents testified that
there was no criminal connection, they were not even trained in the
Privacy Protection Act, and it took them only an hour to discover the
true nature of the situation.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation spent
over $200,000 bringing this case to trial.  The legal ramifications are
considerable. Perhaps someone from EFF will contribute an analysis to
RISKS, although many EFFers (and I) are at Computers, Freedom, and
Privacy 93 this week.  Don't hold your breath, but perhaps we need to
wait for the judge?  PGN
8<------- Cut Here -----------------------

Paul Ferguson                     |
Network Integration Consultant    |  "All of life's answers are
Alexandria, Virginia USA          |   on TV."
fergp@sytex.com     (Internet)    |           -- Homer Simpson
sytex.com!fergp     (UUNet)       |
1:109/229           (FidoNet)     |
         PGP public encryption key available upon request.