Daily Illuminator

March 3, 2010: 20 Years Ago In History

A couple of days ago, we passed the 20-year anniversary of the Secret Service raid on our office. We didn't send out a press release, hold a candlelight ceremony, or even put a giant copy of GURPS Cyberpunk on our roof (okay, that one would have been pretty cool). Instead, we worked on Munchkin projects and tested the alpha version of a Zombie Dice app for the iPhone.

In other words: We just made games. And this is a good thing. The point of the lawsuit against the Secret Service was to defend our civil liberties. Liberty means the freedom to go about your business in peace, and once the lawsuit was over and the computer-snatchers put, for the moment, to flight . . . we went about our business, which is making games. And we're still at it.

But we might not be making games today if it weren't for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The founders of the EFF took on the very serious business of defending us - all of us - against perhaps the worst menace a democracy can face: its own police, laws, and courts gone astray. The balance between freedom and security never stands still, and new technology changes the details but mustn't be allowed to change the principles. That's why the EFF was created, and that's why it's still around, 20 years later. And I'm very grateful.

On Tuesday, March 9, EFF-Austin will sponsor a panel discussion about the raid, its aftermath, and its relevance to our civil liberties today. Time: 7pm. Place: Independence Brewing (a good-omened name!), 3913 Todd Lane #607. I'll be there, along with Pete Kennedy, who was our lead attorney, and Bruce Sterling, who chronicled the whole thing in The Hacker Crackdown. Admission is free, but please plan on dropping something into the hat to support EFF-Austin!

-- Steve Jackson

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