Bruce Sterling


	Some months ago, I wrote an article about the raid on Steve
	Jackson Games, which appeared in my "Comment" column in the
	British science fiction monthly, INTERZONE (#44, Feb 1991).
	This updated version, specially re-written for  dissemination
	by EFF, reflects the somewhat greater knowledge I've gained to
	date, in the course of research on an upcoming nonfiction book,
	THE HACKER CRACKDOWN:  Law and Disorder on the Electronic
	Frontier.  The bizarre events suffered by Mr. Jackson and his
	co-workers, in my own home town of Austin, Texas, were directly
	responsible for my decision to put science fiction aside and to
	tackle the purportedly real world of computer crime and
	electronic free-expression.  The national crackdown on computer
	hackers in 1990 was the largest and best-coordinated attack on
	computer mischief in American history.   There was  Arizona's
	"Operation Sundevil,"  the sweeping May 8 nationwide raid
	against outlaw bulletin boards.   The BellSouth E911 case (of
	which the Jackson raid was a small and particularly egregious
	part) was coordinated out of Chicago.  The New York State
	Police were also very active in 1990.  All this vigorous law
	enforcement activity meant very little to the narrow and
	intensely clannish world of  science fiction.   All we knew --
	and this misperception persisted, uncorrected, for months --
	was that Mr. Jackson had been raided because of his intention
	to  publish a gaming book about "cyberpunk" science fiction.
	The Jackson raid received extensive coverage in science fiction
	news magazines (yes, we have these) and became notorious in the
	world of SF as "the Cyberpunk Bust."   My INTERZONE article
	attempted to make the Jackson case intelligible to the  British
	SF audience.  What possible reason could lead an American
	federal law enforcement agency to raid the headquarters of a
	science-fiction gaming company?  Why did armed teams of city
	police, corporate security men, and federal agents roust two
	Texan computer-hackers from their beds at dawn, and then
	deliberately confiscate thousands of dollars' worth of computer
	equipment, including the hackers' common household telephones?
	Why was an unpublished book called G.U.R.P.S. Cyberpunk seized
	by the US Secret Service and declared "a manual for computer
	crime?"  These weird events were not parodies or fantasies; no,
	this was real.  The first order of business in untangling this
	bizarre drama is to understand the players -- who come in
	entire teams.

Dramatis Personae

Player One:  The Law Enforcement Agencies.
	America's defense against the threat of computer crime is a
	confusing hodgepodge of state, municipal, and federal
	agencies.  Ranked first, by size and power, are the Central
	Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA),
	and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), large, potent
	and secretive organizations who, luckily, play almost no role
	in the Jackson story.  The second rank of such agencies include
	the Internal Revenue Service (IRS),  the National Aeronatics
	and Space Administration (NASA), the Justice Department, the
	Department of Labor, and various branches of the defense
	establishment, especially the Air Force Office of Special
	Investigations (AFOSI).   Premier among these groups, however,
	is the highly-motivated US Secret Service (USSS), best-known to
	Britons as the suited, mirrorshades-toting, heavily-armed
	bodyguards of the President of the United States.  Guarding
	high-ranking federal officials and foreign dignitaries is a
	hazardous, challenging and eminently necessary task, which has
	won USSS a high public profile.  But Abraham Lincoln created
	this oldest of federal law enforcement agencies in order to
	foil counterfeiting.   Due to the historical tribulations of
	the Treasury Department (of which USSS is a part), the Secret
	Service also guards historical documents, analyzes forgeries,
	combats wire fraud, and battles "computer fraud and abuse."
	These may seem unrelated assignments, but the Secret Service is
	fiercely aware of its duties.  It is also jealous of its
	bureaucratic turf, especially in computer-crime, where it
	formally shares jurisdiction with its traditional rival, the
	johnny-come-lately FBI.  As the use of plastic money has
	spread, and their long-established role as protectors of the
	currency has faded in importance, the Secret Service has moved
	aggressively into the realm of electronic crime.  Unlike the
	lordly NSA, CIA, and FBI, which generally can't be bothered
	with domestic computer mischief, the Secret Service is noted
	for its street-level enthusiasm.  The third-rank of law
	enforcement are the local "dedicated computer crime units."
	There are very few such groups, pitifully undermanned.  They
	struggle hard for their funding and the vital light of
	publicity.  It's difficult to make white-collar computer crimes
	seem pressing, to an American public that lives in terror of
	armed and violent street-crime.  These local groups are small
	-- often, one or two officers, computer hobbyists, who have
	drifted into electronic crimebusting because they alone are
	game to devote time and effort to bringing law to the
	electronic frontier.  California's Silicon Valley has three
	computer-crime units.   There are others in Florida, Illinois,
	Ohio, Maryland, Texas, Colorado, and a formerly very active one
	in Arizona -- all told, though, perhaps only fifty people
	nationwide.  The locals do have one great advantage, though.
	They all know one another.  Though scattered across the
	country, they are linked by both public-sector and
	private-sector professional societies, and have a commendable
	subcultural esprit-de-corps.  And in the well-manned Secret
	Service, they have willing national-level assistance.

PLAYER TWO:  The Telephone Companies.

	In the early 80s, after years of bitter federal court battle,
	America's telephone monopoly was pulverized.  "Ma Bell," the
	national phone company, became AT&T, AT&T Industries, and the
	regional "Baby Bells," all purportedly independent companies,
	who compete with new communications companies and other
	long-distance providers.  As a class, however, they are all
	sorely harassed by fraudsters, phone phreaks, and computer
	hackers, and they all maintain computer-security experts.  In a
	lot of cases these "corporate security divisions" consist of
	just one or two guys, who drifted into the work from
	backgrounds in traditional security or law enforcement.  But,
	linked by specialized security trade journals and private
	sector trade groups, they all know one another.

PLAYER THREE:  The Computer Hackers.

	The American "hacker" elite consists of about a hundred people,
	who all know one another.  These are the people who know enough
	about computer intrusion to baffle corporate security and alarm
	police (and who, furthermore, are willing to put their
	intrusion skills into actual practice).          The somewhat
	older subculture of "phone-phreaking," once native only to the
	phone system, has blended into hackerdom as phones have become
	digital and computers have been netted-together by
	telephones.   "Phone phreaks," always tarred with the stigma of
	rip-off artists, are nowadays increasingly hacking PBX systems
	and cellular phones.  These practices, unlike
	computer-intrusion, offer direct and easy profit to
	fraudsters.  There are legions of minor "hackers," such as the
	"kodez kidz," who purloin telephone access codes to make free
	(i.e., stolen) phone calls.   Code theft can be done with home
	computers, and almost looks like real "hacking," though "kodez
	kidz" are regarded with lordly contempt by the elite.   "Warez
	d00dz," who copy and pirate computer games and software, are a
	thriving subspecies of "hacker," but they played no real role
	in the crackdown of 1990 or the Jackson case.  As for the dire
	minority who create computer viruses, the less said the
	better.  The princes of hackerdom skate the phone-lines, and
	computer networks, as a lifestyle.  They hang out in loose,
	modem-connected gangs like the "Legion of Doom" and the
	"Masters of Destruction."  The craft of hacking is taught
	through "bulletin board systems," personal computers that carry
	electronic mail and can be accessed by phone.  Hacker bulletin
	boards generally sport grim, scary, sci-fi heavy metal names
	themselves often adopt romantic and highly suspicious tough-guy
	monickers like "Necron 99," "Prime Suspect," "Erik Bloodaxe,"
	"Malefactor" and "Phase Jitter."   This can be seen as a kind
	of cyberpunk folk-poetry -- after all, baseball players also
	have colorful nicknames.  But so do the Mafia and the Medellin

PLAYER FOUR:  The Simulation Gamers.

	Wargames and role-playing adventures are an old and honored
	pastime, much favored by professional military strategists and
	H.G. Wells, and now played by hundreds of thousands of
	enthusiasts throughout North America, Europe and Japan.  In
	today's market, many simulation games are computerized, making
	simulation gaming a favorite pastime of hackers, who dote on
	arcane intellectual challenges and the thrill of doing
	simulated mischief.  Modern simulation games frequently have a
	heavily science-fictional cast.  Over the past decade or so,
	fueled by very respectable royalties, the world of simulation
	gaming has increasingly permeated the world of science-fiction
	publishing.  TSR, Inc., proprietors of the best-known
	role-playing game, "Dungeons and Dragons," own the venerable
	science-fiction magazine "Amazing."  Gaming-books, once
	restricted to hobby outlets, now commonly appear in
	chain-stores like B. Dalton's and Waldenbooks, and sell
	vigorously.  Steve Jackson Games, Inc., of Austin, Texas, is a
	games company of the middle rank.  In early 1990, it employed
	fifteen people.  In 1989, SJG grossed about half a million
	dollars.  SJG's Austin headquarters is a modest two-story brick
	office-suite, cluttered with phones, photocopiers, fax machines
	and computers.  A publisher's digs, it bustles with
	semi-organized activity and is littered with glossy promotional
	brochures and dog-eared SF novels.  Attached to the offices is
	a large tin-roofed warehouse piled twenty feet high with
	cardboard boxes of games and books.  This building was the site
	of the "Cyberpunk Bust." A look at the company's wares, neatly
	stacked on endless rows of cheap shelving, quickly shows SJG's
	long involvement with the Science Fiction community.  SJG's
	main product, the Generic Universal Role-Playing System or
	G.U.R.P.S., features licensed and adapted works from many genre
	writers.  There is GURPS Witch World, GURPS Conan, GURPS
	Riverworld, GURPS Horseclans,  many names eminently familiar to
	SF fans.  (GURPS Difference Engine  is currently in the
	works.)  GURPS Cyberpunk,  however, was to be another story

PLAYER FIVE:  The Science Fiction Writers.

	The "cyberpunk" SF writers are a small group of mostly
	college-educated white litterateurs, without conspicuous
	criminal records, scattered through the US and Canada.  Only
	one, Rudy Rucker, a professor of computer science in Silicon
	Valley, would rank with even the humblest computer hacker.
	However, these writers all own computers and take an intense,
	public, and somewhat morbid interest in the social
	ramifications of the information industry.  Despite their small
	numbers, they all know one another, and are linked by antique
	print-medium publications with unlikely names like SCIENCE

PLAYER SIX:  The Civil Libertarians.

	This small but rapidly growing group consists of heavily
	politicized computer enthusiasts and heavily cyberneticized
	political activists: a mix of wealthy high-tech entrepreneurs,
	veteran West Coast troublemaking hippies, touchy journalists,
	and toney East Coast civil rights lawyers.  They are all
	getting to know one another.

	We now return to our story.   By 1988, law enforcement
	officials, led by contrite teenage informants, had thoroughly
	permeated the world of underground bulletin boards, and were
	alertly prowling the nets compiling dossiers on wrongdoers.
	While most bulletin board systems are utterly harmless, some
	few had matured into alarming reservoirs of forbidden
	knowledge.  One such was BLACK ICE -- PRIVATE, located
	"somewhere in the 607 area code,"  frequented by members of the
	"Legion of Doom" and notorious even among hackers for the
	violence of its rhetoric, which discussed sabotage of
	phone-lines, drug-manufacturing techniques, and the assembly of
	home-made bombs, as well as a plethora of rules-of-thumb for
	penetrating computer security.  Of course, the mere discussion
	of these notions is not illegal -- many cyberpunk SF stories
	positively dote on such ideas, as do hundreds of spy epics,
	techno-thrillers and adventure novels.  It was no coincidence
	that "ICE," or "Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics," was a
	term invented by cyberpunk writer Tom Maddox, and "BLACK ICE,"
	or a computer-defense that fries the brain of the unwary
	trespasser, was a coinage of William Gibson.  A reference
	manual from the US National Institute of Justice, "Dedicated
	Computer Crime Units" by J. Thomas McEwen, suggests that
	federal attitudes toward bulletin-board systems are ambivalent
	at best:  "There are several examples of how bulletin boards
	have been used in support of criminal activities.... (B)ulletin
	boards were used to relay illegally obtained access codes into
	computer service companies.  Pedophiles have been known to
	leave suggestive messages on bulletin boards, and other
	sexually oriented messages have been found on bulletin boards.
	Members of cults and sects have also communicated through
	bulletin boards.  While the storing of information on bulletin
	boards may not be illegal, the use of bulletin boards has
	certainly advanced many illegal activities." Here is a
	troubling concept indeed:  invisible electronic pornography, to
	be printed out at home and read by sects and cults.  It makes a
	mockery of the traditional law-enforcement techniques
	concerning the publication and prosecution of smut.  In fact,
	the prospect of large numbers of antisocial conspirators,
	congregating in the limbo of cyberspace without official
	oversight of any kind, is enough to trouble the sleep of anyone
	charged with maintaining public order.  Even the sternest
	free-speech advocate will likely do some headscratching at the
	prospect of digitized "anarchy files" teaching lock-picking,
	pipe-bombing, martial arts techniques, and highly unorthodox
	uses for shotgun shells, especially when these neat-o
	temptations are distributed freely to any teen (or pre-teen)
	with a modem.  These may be largely conjectural problems at
	present, but the use of bulletin boards to foment hacker
	mischief is real.  Worse yet, the bulletin boards themselves
	are linked, sharing their audience and spreading the wicked
	knowledge of security flaws in the phone network, and in a wide
	variety of academic, corporate and governmental computer
	systems.  This strength of the hackers is also a weakness,
	however.  If the boards are monitored by alert informants
	and/or officers, the whole wicked tangle can be seized all
	along its extended electronic vine, rather like harvesting
	pumpkins.  The war against hackers, including the "Cyberpunk
	Bust," was primarily a war against hacker bulletin boards.  It
	was, first and foremost, an attack against the enemy's means of
	information.  This  basic strategic insight supplied the
	tactics for the crackdown of 1990.  The variant groups in the
	national subculture of cyber-law  would be kept apprised,
	persuaded to action, and diplomatically martialled into
	effective strike position.  Then, in a burst of energy and a
	glorious blaze of publicity, the whole nest of scofflaws would
	be wrenched up root and branch.  Hopefully, the damage would be
	permanent; if not, the swarming wretches would at least keep
	their heads down.  "Operation Sundevil," the Phoenix-inspired
	crackdown of May 8,1990, concentrated on telephone code-fraud
	and credit-card abuse, and followed this seizure plan with some
	success.  Boards went down all over America, terrifying the
	underground and swiftly depriving them of at least some of
	their criminal instruments.  It also saddled analysts with some
	24,000 floppy disks, and confronted harried Justice Department
	prosecutors with the daunting challenge of a gigantic
	nationwide hacker show-trial involving highly technical issues
	in dozens of jurisdictions.   As of July 1991, it must be
	questioned whether the climate is right for an action of this
	sort, especially since several of the most promising
	prosecutees have already been jailed on other charges.
	"Sundevil" aroused many dicey legal and constitutional
	questions, but at least its organizers were spared the
	spectacle of seizure victims loudly proclaiming their innocence
	-- (if one excepts Bruce Esquibel, sysop of "Dr. Ripco," an
	anarchist board in Chicago).  The activities of March 1, 1990,
	however,  including the Jackson case, were the inspiration of
	the Chicago-based Computer Fraud and Abuse Task Force.   At
	telco urging, the Chicago group were pursuing the purportedly
	vital "E911 document" with headlong energy.   As legal
	evidence, this proprietary Bell South document was to prove a
	very weak reed in the Craig Neidorf trial, which ended in a
	humiliating dismissal and a triumph for Neidorf.   As of March
	1990, however, this purloined data-file seemed a red-hot chunk
	of contraband, and the decision was made to track it down
	wherever it might have gone, and to shut down any board that
	had touched it -- or even come close to it.  In the meantime,
	however -- early 1990 -- Mr. Loyd Blankenship, an employee of
	Steve Jackson Games, an accomplished hacker, and a sometime
	member and file-writer for the Legion of Doom, was
	contemplating a "cyberpunk" simulation-module for the
	flourishing GURPS gaming-system.  The time seemed ripe for such
	a product, which had already been proven in the marketplace.
	The first games-company out of the gate, with a product boldly
	called "Cyberpunk" in defiance of possible
	infringement-of-copyright suits, had been an upstart group
	called R. Talsorian.  Talsorian's "Cyberpunk" was a fairly
	decent game, but the mechanics of the simulation system sucked,
	and the nerds who wrote the manual were the kimd of half-hip
	twits who wrote their own fake rock lyrics and, worse yet,
	published them.  The game sold like crazy, though.  The next
	"cyberpunk" game had been the even more successful "Shadowrun"
	by FASA Corporation.  The mechanics of this game were fine, but
	the scenario was rendered moronic by  lame fantasy elements
	like orcs, dwarves, trolls, magicians, and  dragons -- all
	highly ideologically-incorrect, according to the hard-edged,
	high-tech standards of cyberpunk science fiction.   No true
	cyberpunk fan could play this game without vomiting, despite
	FASA's nifty T-shirts and street-samurai lead figurines.  Lured
	by the scent of money, other game companies were champing at
	the bit.  Blankenship reasoned that the time had come for a
	real  "Cyberpunk" gaming-book -- one that the princes of
	computer-mischief in the Legion of Doom could play without
	laughing themselves sick.  This book, GURPS Cyberpunk,  would
	reek of culturally on-line authenticity.  Hot discussion soon
	raged on the Steve Jackson Games electronic bulletin board, the
	"Illuminati BBS."  This board was named after a bestselling SJG
	card-game, involving antisocial sects and cults who war
	covertly for the domination of the world.  Gamers and hackers
	alike loved this board, with its meticulously detailed
	discussions of pastimes like SJG's "Car Wars," in which
	souped-up armored hot-rods with rocket-launchers and heavy
	machine-guns do battle on the American highways of the future.
	While working, with considerable creative success, for SJG,
	Blankenship himself was running his own computer bulletin
	board, "The Phoenix Project," from his house.  It had been ages
	-- months, anyway -- since Blankenship, an increasingly sedate
	husband and author, had last entered a public phone-booth
	without a supply of pocket-change.  However, his intellectual
	interest in computer-security remained intense.  He was pleased
	to notice the presence on "Phoenix" of Henry Kluepfel, a
	phone-company security professional for Bellcore.   Such
	contacts were risky for telco employees; at least one such
	gentleman who reached out to the hacker underground had been
	accused of divided loyalties and summarily fired.  Kluepfel, on
	the other hand, was bravely engaging in friendly banter with
	heavy-dude hackers and eager telephone-wannabes.   Blankenship
	did nothing to spook him away, and Kluepfel, for his part,
	passed dark warnings about "Phoenix Project" to the Chicago
	group.   "Phoenix Project" glowed with the r "Illuminati" was
	prominently mentioned on the Phoenix Project.  Phoenix users
	were urged to visit Illuminati, to discuss the upcoming
	"cyberpunk" game and possibly lend their expertise.   It was
	also frankly hoped that they would spend some money on SJG
	games.  Illuminati and Phoenix had become two ripe pumpkins on
	the criminal vine.  Hacker busts were nothing new.  They had
	always been somewhat problematic for the authorities.  The
	offenders were generally high-IQ white juveniles with no
	criminal record.  Public sympathy for the phone companies was
	limited at best.  Trials often ended in puzzled dismissals or a
	slap on the wrist.  But the harassment suffered by "the
	business community" -- always the best friend of law
	enforcement -- was real, and highly annoying both financially
	and in its sheer irritation to the target corporation.  Through
	long experience, law enforcement had come up with an unorthodox
	but workable tactic.  This was to avoid any trial at all, or
	even an arrest.  Instead, somber teams of grim police would
	swoop upon the teenage suspect's home and box up his computer
	as "evidence."  If he was a good boy, and promised contritely
	to stay out of trouble forthwith, the highly expensive
	equipment might be returned to him in short order.  If he was a
	hard-case, though, too bad.  His toys could stay boxed-up and
	locked away for a couple of years.  The busts in Austin were an
	intensification of this tried-and-true technique.  There were
	adults involved in this case, though,  reeking of a hardened
	bad-attitude.  The supposed threat to the 911 system,
	apparently posed by the E911 document, had nerved law
	enforcement to extraordinary effort.   The 911 system is, of
	course, the emergency dialling system used by the police
	themselves.  Any threat to it was a direct and insolent hacker
	menace to the electronic home-turf of American law
	enforcement.  Had Steve Jackson been arrested and directly
	accused of a plot to destroy the 911 system, the resultant
	embarrassment would likely have been sharp, but brief.  The
	Chicago group, instead, chose total operational security.  They
	may have suspected that their search for E911, once publicized,
	would cause that "dangerous" document to spread like wildfire
	throughout the underground.  Instead, they allowed the
	misapprehension to spread that they had raided Steve Jackson to
	stop the publication of a book:  GURPS Cyberpunk.   This was a
	grave public-relations blunder which caused the darkest fears
	and suspicions to spread  -- not in the hacker underground, but
	among the general public.  On March 1, 1990, 21-year-old hacker
	Chris Goggans (aka "Erik Bloodaxe") was wakened by a police
	revolver levelled at his head.  He watched, jittery, as Secret
	Service agents appropriated his 300 baud terminal and, rifling
	his files, discovered his treasured source-code for the
	notorious Internet Worm.  Goggans, a co-sysop of "Phoenix
	Project" and a wily operator, had suspected that something of
	the like might be coming.  All his best equipment had been
	hidden away elsewhere.  They took his phone, though, and
	considered hauling away his hefty arcade-style Pac-Man game,
	before deciding that it was simply too heavy.  Goggans was not
	arrested.  To date, he has never been charged with a crime.
	The police still have what they took, though.  Blankenship was
	less wary.  He had shut down "Phoenix" as rumors reached him of
	a crackdown coming.  Still, a dawn raid rousted him and his
	wife from bed in their underwear, and six Secret Service
	agents, accompanied by a bemused Austin cop and a corporate
	security agent from Bellcore, made a rich haul.  Off went the
	works, into the agents' white Chevrolet minivan:  an IBM PC-AT
	clone with 4 meg of RAM and a 120-meg hard disk; a
	Hewlett-Packard LaserJet II printer; a completely legitimate
	and highly expensive SCO-Xenix 286 operating system; Pagemaker
	disks and documentation; the Microsoft Word word-processing
	program; Mrs. Blankenship's incomplete academic thesis stored
	on disk; and the couple's telephone.  All this property remains
	in police custody today.  The agents then bundled Blankenship
	into a car and it was off the Steve Jackson Games in the bleak
	light of dawn.  The fact that this was a business headquarters,
	and not a private residence, did not deter the agents.  It was
	still early; no one was at work yet.  The agents prepared to
	break down the door, until Blankenship offered his key.  The
	exact details of the next events are unclear.  The agents would
	not let anyone else into the building.  Their search warrant,
	when produced, was unsigned.  Apparently they breakfasted from
	the local "Whataburger," as the litter from hamburgers was
	later found inside.  They also extensively sampled a bag of
	jellybeans kept by an SJG employee.  Someone tore a "Dukakis
	for President" sticker from the wall.  SJG employees,
	diligently showing up for the day's work, were met at the
	door.  They watched in astonishment as agents wielding crowbars
	and screwdrivers emerged with captive machines.  The agents
	wore blue nylon windbreakers with "SECRET SERVICE" stencilled
	across the back, with running-shoes and jeans.  Confiscating
	computers can be heavy physical work.  No one at Steve Jackson
	Games was arrested.  No one was accused of any crime.   There
	were no charges filed.  Everything appropriated was officially
	kept as "evidence" of crimes never specified.  Steve Jackson
	will not face a conspiracy trial over the contents of his
	science-fiction gaming book.  On the contrary, the raid's
	organizers have been accused of grave misdeeds in a civil suit
	filed by EFF, and if there is any trial over GURPS Cyberpunk
	it seems likely to be theirs.  The day after the raid, Steve
	Jackson visited the local Secret Service headquarters with a
	lawyer in tow.  There was trouble over GURPS Cyberpunk,  which
	had been discovered on the hard-disk of a seized machine.
	GURPS Cyberpunk,  alleged a Secret Service agent to astonished
	businessman Steve Jackson, was "a manual for computer crime."
	"It's science fiction," Jackson said.  "No, this is real."
	This statement was repeated several times, by several agents.
	This is not a fantasy, no, this is real.  Jackson's ominously
	accurate game had passed from pure, obscure, small-scale
	fantasy into the impure, highly publicized, large-scale fantasy
	of the hacker crackdown.   No mention was made of the real
	reason for the search, the E911 document.  Indeed, this fact
	was not discovered until the Jackson search-warrant was
	unsealed by his EFF lawyers, months later.   Jackson was left
	to believe that his board had been seized because he intended
	to publish a science fiction book that law enforcement
	considered too dangerous to see print.  This misconception was
	repeated again and again, for months, to an ever-widening
	audience.  The effect of this statement on the science fiction
	community was, to say the least, striking.  GURPS Cyberpunk,
	now published and available from Steve Jackson Games (Box
	18957, Austin, Texas 78760), does discuss some of the
	commonplaces of computer-hacking, such as searching through
	trash for useful clues, or snitching passwords by boldly lying
	to gullible users.   Reading it won't make you a hacker, any
	more than reading Spycatcher  will make you an agent of MI5.
	Still, this bold insistence by the Secret Service on its
	authenticity has made GURPS Cyberpunk  the Satanic Verses  of
	simulation gaming, and has made Steve Jackson the first
	martyr-to-the-cause for the computer world's civil
	From the beginning, Steve Jackson declared that he had
	committed no crime, and had nothing to hide.  Few believed him,
	for it seemed incredible that such a tremendous effort by the
	government would be spent on someone entirely innocent.
	Surely there were a few stolen long-distance codes in
	"Illuminati," a swiped credit-card number or two -- something.
	Those who rallied to the defense of Jackson were publicly
	warned that they would be caught with egg on their face when
	the real truth came out, "later."  But "later" came and went.
	The fact is that Jackson was innocent of any crime.  There was
	no case against him; his activities were entirely legal.  He
	had simply been consorting with the wrong sort of people.  In
	fact he was  the wrong sort of people.  His attitude stank.  He
	showed no contrition; he scoffed at authority; he gave aid and
	comfort to the enemy; he was trouble.   Steve Jackson comes
	from subcultures -- gaming, science fiction -- that have always
	smelled to high heaven of troubling weirdness and deep-dyed
	unorthodoxy.   He was important enough to attract repression,
	but not important enough, apparently, to deserve a straight
	answer from those who had raided his property and destroyed his
	livelihood.  The American law-enforcement community lacks the
	manpower and resources to prosecute hackers successfully, one
	by one, on the merits of the cases against them.   The
	cyber-police to date have settled instead for a cheap "hack" of
	the legal system: a quasi-legal tactic of seizure and
	"deterrence."  Humiliate and harass a few ringleaders, the
	philosophy goes, and the rest will fall into line.  After all,
	most hackers are just kids.  The few grown-ups among them are
	sociopathic geeks, not real players in the political and legal
	game.  And in the final analysis, a small company like
	Jackson's lacks the resources to make any real trouble for the
	Secret Service.  But Jackson, with his conspiracy-soaked
	bulletin board and his seedy SF-fan computer-freak employees,
	is not "just a kid."  He is a publisher, and he was battered by
	the police in the full light of national publicity, under the
	shocked gaze of journalists, gaming fans, libertarian activists
	and millionaire computer entrepreneurs, many of whom were not
	"deterred," but genuinely aghast.  "What," reasons the author,
	"is to prevent the Secret Service from carting off my
	word-processor as 'evidence' of some non-existent crime?" "What
	would I do," thinks the small-press owner, "if someone took my
	laser-printer?" Even the computer magnate in his private jet
	remembers his heroic days in Silicon Valley when he was
	soldering semi-legal circuit boards in a small garage.  Hence
	the establishment of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  The
	sherriff had shown up in Tombstone to clean up that outlaw
	town, but the response of the citizens was swift and
	well-financed.  Steve Jackson was provided with a high-powered
	lawyer specializing in Constitutional freedom-of-the-press
	issues.  Faced with this, a markedly un-contrite Secret Service
	returned Jackson's machinery, after months of delay -- some of
	it broken, with valuable data lost.  Jackson sustained many
	thousands of dollars in business losses, from failure to meet
	deadlines and loss of computer-assisted production.  Half the
	employees of Steve Jackson Games were sorrowfully laid-off.
	Some had been with the company for years --  not statistics,
	these people, not "hackers" of any stripe, but bystanders,
	citizens, deprived of their livelihoods by the zealousness of
	the March 1 seizure.  Some have since been re-hired -- perhaps
	all will be, if Jackson can pull his company out of its
	persistent financial hole.  Devastated by the raid, the company
	would surely have collapsed  in short order -- but SJG's
	distributors, touched by the company's plight and feeling some
	natural subcultural solidarity, advanced him money to scrape
	along.  In retrospect, it is hard to see much good for anyone
	at all in the activities of March 1.  Perhaps the Jackson case
	has served as a warning light for trouble in our legal system;
	but that's not much recompense for Jackson himself.   His own
	unsought fame may be helpful, but it doesn't do much for his
	unemployed co-workers.   In the meantime, "hackers" have been
	vilified and demonized as a national threat.  "Cyberpunk," a
	literary term, has become a synonym for computer criminal.  The
	cyber-police have leapt where angels fear to tread.  And the
	phone companies have badly overstated their case and deeply
	embarrassed their protectors.  But sixteen months later, Steve
	Jackson suspects he may yet pull through.  Illuminati is still
	on-line.  GURPS Cyberpunk,  while it failed to match Satanic
	Verses,  sold fairly briskly.   And SJG headquarters, the site
	of the raid, will soon be the site of Cyberspace Weenie Roast
	to start an Austin chapter of the Electronic Frontier
	Foundation.  Bring your own beer.