Tag Archives: steve jackson games

The Case of Steve Jackson Games, or how Discordianism helped the U.S. Secret Service inspire the birth of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Case of Steve Jackson Games, or how Discordianism helped the U.S. Secret Service inspire the birth of the Electronic Frontier Foundation is a draft excerpt from the forthcoming Chasing Eris by Brenton Clutterbuck over at the Historia Discordia blog.

“March 1, 1990: Steve Jackson Games is unexpectedly raided by members of the United States Secret Service, accompanied by Austin police and at least one civilian expert from ‘the phone company.’ The Steve Jackson Games webpage says agents cut locks, tore open boxes, and forced open footlockers. They confiscated four computers containing GURPS Cyberpunk files, two printers, and other hardware and files.

Steve Jackson Games was told they would get their computers back ‘tomorrow.’ In later statements, a judge said that the Secret Service could have duplicated the material they needed in between a couple of hours and eight days. Rather than the next day as promised, or eight days, the majority of confiscated material wasn’t returned for a whole four months. The majority of the GURPS Cyberpunk manual had to be reconstructed from snippets, planning and memory. Steve Jackson Games was impacted by the raid, and had to lay off nearly half their staff. Later, Judge Sam Sparks would seek to dispute the assertion that Steve Jackson Games had been nearly bankrupted by the raid.

Why did Secret Service agents target Steve Jackson Games?

The key was Loyd Blankenship. Agent Timothy Golden had based the raid of Steve Jackson Games on the fact that Loyd Blankenship was working there, ran a bulletin board system popular with hackers from his home, and also ran a completely separate BBS at Steve Jackson Games.

In response to the Steve Jackson Games case and other similar cases, John Gilmour, John Perry Barlow, and Mitch Kapor founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1990. They would later, in 1993, support Steve Jackson Games in a legal battle seeking damages from the Secret Service.” [via]

Join in for the next round of the Eclectic, Esoteric Postal Potlatch

I haven’t talked about the Eclectic, Esoteric Postal Potlatch in a while, but just sent off a bunch of fun stuff via post today and was thinking how much more fun it would be with even more people participating.

As a kid, in my family, we had a tradition of doing what we called “christmas stockings” each year, but there was so much bizarre being exchanged that we needed garbage bags to hold each person’s haul. I don’t propose sending that kind of volume to people, but I have in mind a crazy, fun grab bag of esoteric strangeness very similar to that for each person participating. Another example that comes to mind are the old boxes of tchotchkes put together by Steve Jackson Games for the Illuminati board game, with stickers and photocopied flyers and little rubber fnords. But, to make it real, and really bizarre, I need your help in both accumulating things to send and in being someone I send things to!

Check out the full page about the idea, and consider becoming part of the project, but, here’s the gist to remind everyone.

Here’s the simplest explanation of what I’m thinking: If people send me things then I’ll send them things. What arrives and what is sent would be up to those involved. I would never sell or reveal the participant list, but would use addresses of participants to merely to send occasional envelopes or packages, maybe once a month or quarterly. There would be two ways to get on the participant list, but this would be completely open to individuals, music groups, publishers, and so on:

  • first, and simplest, is to send something in; For those sending things in, something reciprocal would be sent based on what I can afford to post or, better yet, on their SASE or how much postage they include inside for me to use on return post to them.
  • second, and really great, is to become a supporter of the library. For supporters, depending on how much postage their support reasonably allowed beyond helping with hosting the site and so on, I would send quarterly or monthly something fun from the supplies donated and gathered.

Really any variety of interesting tchotchkes people sent in limited pretty much only by their imaginations and my ability to post those imaginations back to others. Also, I might be able to occasionally send supporters an Hermetic Library t-shirt or maybe some promotional books if I can interest any publishers or authors in contributing. But, really, who knows what fun we might generate with this? Let’s turn my office into an homage to what Archee McPhee’s would be if they were dabbling in the dark and esoteric arts!

So, one who is participating might variously send in and get things in return like:

  • bookmarks
  • stickers
  • mix tapes
  • CDs
  • used books
  • rituals, poetry, essays
  • booklets, brochures, flyers

I’m not looking to have sent to me or to resend things that evoke the black helicopters, SWAT teams or HAZMAT teams; but, just about anything else that the postal system will deliver could be part of this.

Anyhow, why not join the fun and make the fun funner and funnier together with a side of eldritch tentacles?