20th Anniversary of the Raid

The University of Texas’ student newspaper, The Daily Texan, covered last night’s panel on the 20th anniversary of the Secret Service raid at Steve Jackson Games.

“I got a phone call one morning saying, ‘Steve, the office is full of Secret Service agents, and they’re not letting anyone in,” Jackson said. “They were chasing a demon that wasn’t there. They were on the trail on the notorious 911 document. The whole thing was a comedy of errors.”

Video of the event will be online soon; we’ll post the link when it’s available.

The Raid on Steve Jackson Games: 20th Anniversary Event

Steve Jackson Games vs Secret ServiceNOTE: Live streaming at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/effaustin!

March 9, 2010. 7pm-9pm, Independence Brewing.

Austin was a hotbed of pioneering Internet activity in the early 1990s, and one event that put us on the Internet map was the March 1, 1990 Secret Service raid at Steve Jackson Games, an Austin company that produced role playing games with science fiction themes. All the company’s computers were confiscated, and as a result Steve Jackson sued the U.S. Secret Service, and won. The raid and court case made Steve a focus of the nascent cyber liberties movement – it was the first major case for the national Electronic Frontier Foundation, and subject of a bestselling book by Bruce Sterling, called _Hacker Crackdown_.

Why did the Secret Service raid Steve Jackson Games? Why did Steve retaliate with a law suit, and how did he win a case against the U.S. government? On this 20th anniversary of the raid, EFF-Austin invites you to gather at Independence Brewing in Austin to get the answers. We’ll have a rousing panel discussion of the case, and its place in history, featuring Steve Jackson, Bruce Sterling, and attorney Pete Kennedy. You can also sample locally-brewed Independence beer!

Please consider making a donation to EFF-Austin when you attend (or via the Paypal link on this site).

Sponsored by EFF-Austin and Plutopia Productions. This event is FREE (as in beer), but we strongly encourage donations to EFF-Austin.

Events

Call to Action: Nominate Austin For Google’s FTTH Experiment

Google just announced that they plan on rolling out a 1Gbps fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) Internet access service in a number of trial locations. To give some perspective, a 1Gbps Internet access service would be over 65 times faster than Time Warner Cable’s fastest Road Runner tier available in Austin and over 165 times faster than AT&T’s fastest available DSL tier. According to the company’s policy blog, Google wants to build out the super high-speed fiber network for between 50,000 and 500,000 people and to operate it as an open access network, open to all competitors that want to offer FTTH service. Now, Google is trying to figure out where to build this network and is looking for city nominations.

Austin, as a tech hub and an Internet-savvy community, would be a fantastic test bed for this FTTH experiment. Austinites are highly connected and sophisticated Internet users and would perfect beta testers for super high-speed service. Also, with the city’s two major Internet Access Providers (AT&T and Time Warner Cable) experimenting with usage caps and metered service, the city may soon need just such an uncapped high-speed alternative service.

Google is asking for community nominations from individual users, community groups, and local governments. The company will be accepting nominations until March 26, 2010. We urge Austinites to let Google know that they think Austin would be a perfect test site and to send in their nominations for Austin early and often.

Matthew Henry is an EFFA board member and a partner at McCollough|Henry, PC