1994-02-03 - San Jose BBS subject to Memphis standards?

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From: hkhenson@cup.portal.com
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 2d019890606723b21d73619da2c38aff3a0bf7aab86534819062997fc46f3f86
Message ID: <9402031230.1.2582@cup.portal.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1994-02-03 20:34:46 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 3 Feb 94 12:34:46 PST

Raw message

From: hkhenson@cup.portal.com
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 94 12:34:46 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: San Jose BBS subject to Memphis standards?
Message-ID: <9402031230.1.2582@cup.portal.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Just got word a few minutes ago that Robert Thomas (who ran Amateur 
Action BBS) and his wife were picked up on a Federal warrant for 
obscenity from Memphis, TN.  From what I hear from a local Postal 
inspector, they are going to extradited to TN to face charges there 
because the Feds have a choice of trying a person at either end of a 

This really sucks! 

I find it akin to busting a pron shop owner in New York for one of his 
customers taking "filthy pictures" back to Hicksvill. 

In operation Longarm the Feds argued that the person downloading stuff 
was responsible for knowing if it was illegal.  This at least makes 
some sense.  But, if BBS owners have to be responsible for knowing the 
what is considered obscene in all 50 states and each locality, then the 
onramps to the Information Superhighway are going to be choked off by 
the most backwater places in the country! 

Keith Henson 

(The entire tale of AA has been posted.  I can repost if more than a 
few want it.)


The above was widely posted, this below is going to the cypherpunks 
list only.  (for all the protection that may provide :) )

I have rather mixed feeling about the feds making these kinds of 
busts.  I sort of wish they would not try to apply obscenity standards 
from the least enlightened parts of the country to all of the net 
community.  ON the other hand, the serious adult bbs owners have 
enough computing resources (and now a strong motivation!) that 
encrypting, digital payments, "webs of trust," DC nets, etc. can be 
implemented at relatively low cost to them.  If the feds persist, I 
suspect that adult bbs's are where--for all the trouble it may later 
cause--cypherpunk code will *really* get wide use. 

If you have things on which you want further information, please cc me 
by email as well as sending it to the list.  I recently took on 
running Xanadu Operating Company, and am days behind reading the list 

Keith Henson