1997-07-19 - IRS sending warning notes, violating ECPA?

Header Data

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
To: cypherpunks@Algebra.COM
Message Hash: 1c7b5a4f333e60fb71ae013d4de125cec4c4fefbe368934e7bf396b342212605
Message ID: <v03102810aff69260ceb1@[]>
Reply To: <m2yb73di77.fsf@altair.xemacs.org>
UTC Datetime: 1997-07-19 15:58:57 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 23:58:57 +0800

Raw message

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 23:58:57 +0800
To: cypherpunks@Algebra.COM
Subject: IRS sending warning notes, violating ECPA?
In-Reply-To: <m2yb73di77.fsf@altair.xemacs.org>
Message-ID: <v03102810aff69260ceb1@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 12:50 AM -0700 7/19/97, Jeremy Mineweaser wrote:
>>Alan  <alano@teleport.com> writes:
>>> I recieved this today via e-mail.  I find it strange since I have
>>> never asked to be put on any sort of "interest list" by anyone
>>> at the IRS.  Did anyone else get this?
>I received a copy of this earlier today via a low-traffic mailing list
>devoted to discussion of prisoner's dilemma games.  Upon receiving
>the message, the connection between PDG and Jim Bell wasn't
>immediately obvious, but then I remembered that Jim Bell was
>also a subscriber to that mailing list.
>It's quite probable that the IRS sent a copy of their press release
>to all of the forums where they had records of Bell's involvement.

Speculating, this use of mailing lists, if true, could well be a violation
of the law (I'm thinking of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the
ECPA...it may place limits on what, if anything, can be done with e-mail
records obtained that are not part of an original search warrrant).

It certainly appears that the IRS has sent "warnings" out to all of us
active in the debate. It appears they used the addresses found in e-mail at
Bell's residence, from some of the comments here (especially that other
lists besides the Cypherpunks list were involved).

On the other hand, the relevance to Prisoner's Dilemma games is pretty obvious:

"Mr. Bell, if you confess and plead guilty, you'll receive a one-year
prison term. If you don't confess, when we find you guilty you'll receive
the maximum term. If you confess but Mr. May _also_ confesses, you'll still
receive the maximum term. If neither of you confesses, you'll still be
found guilty. So, what'll it be?"

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."