See study by J. Bamford (1983).
Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service, 36 F.3d 457 (1994), sprang from a raid by the United States Secret Service on the Austin headquarters of Steve Jackson Games in 1990. This raid is often attributed to Operation Sundevil, a nation-wide crackdown on ‘illegal computer hacking activities’, although SJ Games and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) claim otherwise.
Steve Jackson Games was raided ostensibly because Loyd Blankenship, who was writing the role playing game supplement GURPS Cyberpunk for the company, was a target of a crackdown. Blankenship, known in hacking circles as The Mentor, was a former member of the Legion of Doom hacker group. He had run a BBS from his home called The Phoenix Project, which had helped distribute the popular underground ezine Phrack. Phrack published the contents of a text file, stolen from BellSouth, containing information about the E911 emergency response system. The file only contained administrative contact information, and Bell South later had to admit in court that they sold copies to the public for $13. However, the government agents feared that the stolen document could be used to teach crackers how to compromise the vital E911 system (a claim that is disputed due to the non-technical nature of the document), and Bell South claimed that the dissemination of the data caused thousands of dollars in monetary damages.
Striving for secrecy during the ongoing operation, the investigators were reluctant to release information about the E911 document that their investigation was focused on. So when Steve Jackson and his lawyers demanded answers from the Secret Service, the investigators allegedly claimed that the GURPS Cyberpunk manuscript was a "handbook for computer crime".
Whether the Secret Service investigators actually targeted the GURPS Cyberpunk sourcebook is uncertain. They had undoubtedly read messages about the upcoming book while monitoring Blankenship's BBS, and later court rulings concluded that they had no reasonable basis to suspect that the company possessed the E911 document. Therefore, some suggest that the game manual might have actually been one of the intended targets of the raid, rather than just an excuse concocted after the fact.
Steve Jackson was promised by the Secret Service that the next day he could come back and make copies of the files that were taken. He went with an attorney and was able to copy only a small part of the confiscated files. Over the course of a couple of weeks the Steve Jackson Games attorney was assured by the Secret Service that the files would be returned "tomorrow".
On March 26 1990, more of the files were returned. Finally, most of the files were returned on June 21 1990. The Secret Service kept one company hard disk, all Blankenship's personal equipment and files, the printouts of GURPS Cyberpunk, and several other items.
The raid motivated the formation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Steve Jackson and the EFF successfully sued the Secret Service for violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) by confiscating the company's private electronic communications.
Operation Sundevil, which spanned two years, has a tarnished image due to lack of successful prosecutions and questionable procedures. The overshadowing rumors surrounding the confiscation of the GURPS Cyberpunk sourcebook added embarrassment for the government, fueled paranoia among the hacker community, and created a lasting legend in hacker culture. To this day, the GURPS Cyberpunk book lists "Unsolicited Comments: The United States Secret Service" on its credits page.