The Secret Service kicked off the nineties with one of the most widely
publicized and ultimately disastrous operations - attempting to shut
down publisher Steve Jackson because one of his employees had links to
the hacker world. It's hard to imagine what was going through the
minds of the Secret Service as they seized a computer bulletin board
with private mail belonging to hundreds of innocent people and took into
custody a fictitious manuscript that they defined as "a handbook for
It took a while but people finally began to see the tremendous threat
to civil liberties that the Secret Service was involved in. This, combined
with Operation Sun Devil and the Craig Neidorf/Phrack trial, led to the
formation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation - whose initial purpose
was to fight such violations of freedom. In the end, Steve Jackson actually
won a lawsuit against the Secret Service and a federal judge chastised them
for their actions. In the mainstream press, however, there was little
publicity of this important event.
Regrettably, this was only the beginning for the Secret Service.