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Inside the Bundle: Who it Benefits

Bundle of Holding is ending the year in style by running two Cyberpunk themed bundles! Between both bundles, there’s over 30 books being offered for less than $60! Best of all, 10% of the money raised through selling the bundles is given to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a cause which couldn’t be more Cyberpunk.

What Exactly IS the EFF?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. We work to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows.

from the Electronic Frontier Foundation website.

In other words, the EFF works to:

  • Ensure law enforcement and courts make educated decisions about digital technology and the internet.
  • Promote the right of privacy on the internet.
  • Support the right of individuals and organizations to post on the internet within proper legal boundaries.
  • Challenge patents which are so broad or trivial they prevent innovation by others.
  • Give out really neat awards to individuals or groups who discover prime numbers with a lot of digits after them!

The EFF’s Gaming Roots

Not only is the mission of the Electronic Frontier Foundation particularly Cyberpunk, the organization actually got its start with cyberpunk… though, we admit, not with our cyberpunk. Let’s set the Wayback Machine to the early ’90s, Sherman!

The story of how and why the United States Secret Service raided the office of Steve Jackson Games and seized their files and computers because of matters related to their upcoming GURPS: Cyberpunk game supplement and its author, Lloyd Blankenship has become one of the great legends in gaming circles but, in case you didn’t know…

On March 1, 1990, the Secret Service raided the headquarters of Steve Jackson Games due to the posting of a proprietary document on an electronic bulletin board operated by Lloyd Blankenship, who was employed by Steve Jackson Games in matters unrelated to the electronic bulletin board in question.

Due to a fundamental misunderstanding of computers, electronic communication, and roleplaying games, the United States Secret Service overreached in the execution of their warrant. They took anything that seemed even vaguely related to the illegally posted document, including three computers and over 300 floppy disks which contained, among other things, the master copy of GURPS: Cyberpunk, which was due for release. Those computers also contained private emails of to and from employees of the company. The material was returned to Steve Jackson Games three months later but this put them months behind their production schedule. Worse, multiple email messages had been both read and erased.

Needless to say, Steve Jackson Games sued the Secret Service for loss of revenue. Steve Jackson himself, as well as three of his employees, sued for invasion of privacy. In the end, the company was awarded $50,000 in statutory damages and $250,000 in attorney fees. The judge also called out the Secret Service for sloppy work and a lack of education on the subject.

This case, among with others occurring at the time, played a key role in the founding and early days of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

A retrospective of the case can be found on the EFF website.

Why We’re Supporting the EFF

Why is the Electronic Frontier Foundation our charity of choice for the Cyberpunk bundles over at Bundle of Holding?

Because it could of been us.

Our co-founder, Mike Pondsmith, is legendary for doing his homework when it comes to game design. He does it himself when he can and consults experts when he can’t. Obviously, he won’t break the law to make a game but back then, when it came to hacking (a core part of Cyberpunk) and computer networks, the experts were often the guys who were breaking the law. And it could have just as easily been the R. Talsorian Games offices who were raided because of our Cyberpunk content instead of Steve Jackson Games.

Because it can still be us.

Technology is evolving at a breakneck speed. What’s possible today wasn’t possible just five years ago. What’s possible tomorrow are things we haven’t even dreamed of yet. The simple truth is, the law can’t keep up with the evolution of technology. It just doesn’t work as fast, or learn as fast, as innovation. Mistakes like the Secret Service raid on Steve Jackson Games can still happen to innocent bystanders and, when it does, we want an organization like the Electronic Frontier Foundation to be there and well funded so they can help the wrongfully accused protect themselves.

So, consider picking up the Cyberpunk 2020 and Cyberpunk Boost bundles before they end. You get some amazing books at a great price, you support a fantastic game company, and you help out an amazing organization, too.

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