Sunday, 1 March 2020

roll for perception

Founded a decade prior and six years after the establishment of role playing games as popular platform with Dungeons & Dragons, Austin-based Steve Jackson Games saw success with several genre-based games of strategy with dice, cards and table tops games as well as popularising the idea of creating and decorating miniature models of the enemies and playable characters became the subject of a sting operation culminating in a raid and seizure on this day in 1990 by the US Secret Service.
The impetus for monitoring and investigation was based on a rather spurious, tenuous concern that a proprietary document on how 911 emergency numbers (see previously) operated shared on a BBS (bulletin board system) in Chicago subsequently appeared on one in Texas for whom an SJG employee was webmaster (yell for the SysOp). The dragnet warrant consisted of nothing but over-reach and compounded three company computers along with over three hundred floppy disks, including the master programme for the firm’s computer version of its most popular game due to be released shortly but delayed in a fashion that crippled their business. Steve Jackson Games took the Secret Service to court and successfully sued them to recuperate some of their financial losses and encourage the agency to not be causal and sloppy about their justification. This suit and the Secret Services failure to amend their ways in a string of similar but unrelated operations (Operation Sundevil, a crackdown on perceived illegal hacking activities) during the same year that reflected the government’s learning curve when it came to technology were the catalyst for the establishment of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an international digital rights group that champions internet civil liberties.