From: Computer underground Digest Fri, Feb 28, 2020 Volume 4 : Issue 09 (http://www.soci.niu.edu/~cudigest) ((NOTE: The prosecutors ultimately decided not to prosecute because of insufficient evidence that the material was "obscene" under California law)) Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2020 11:31:22 PST From: Ann O'Nonymous Subject: File 8--A Comment on Amateur Action BBS Bob Thomas has been having trouble with his kids. They are experiencing emotional and behavior problems they've never had before. The police officers they had learned in school to trust came to their house one morning and unceremoniously took away their computer. The police were rude. They offered no explanation for why they took the kids' games and schoolwork. The half-dozen plain-clothes cops were not related to Officer Friendly, and the children were confused, frightened, and hurt. These police weren't THEIR friends! So was Bob Thomas. He ran AMATEUR ACTION BBS in San Jose, Calif., which specialized in adult gif files. Local police (no federal agents) burst in at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, January 20 with a search warrant alleging grand theft, trafficking in obscene material, and child pornography. Bob doesn't recall if the officers had their guns drawn. The affidavit supporting the warrant is sealed, so the justification for the raid may never be known. Bob was stunned by the accusations, and he and his family watched in horror as the police carted away his 486, three 386s, videos, and all the tools he needed to run his two electronics businesses and BBS business. The police also took all hardcopy business records and other materials. The raid resulted in seizure of over $30,000 worth of equipment. Bob estimated that he also lost over $15,000 in lost business revenue and legal fees. He also missed a major trade show. His children lost their innocence. Society lost another round in the battle to maintain a semblance of civil liberties in cyberspace. Bob's attorney communicated with EFF and the officers were made aware of federal and other laws relating to seizure. No charges have been filed, and there is no indication that any will be. When I spoke with Bob on February 24, he was expecting the return of most, hopefully all, of the equipment by that evening, or within a day or two. He has no explanation for why the police raided him, but suspected it might be connected to the problems of America Online, which faced a similar investigation. Amateur Action (408-263-3393) specialized in adult gif files (over 4,600) using amateur rather than commercial models. Bob also used it to distribute adult videos. There were no action or other files. It was simply an adult BBS with a modest message base. Bob has established a reputation for aggressively attempting to keep children off his adult BBS, and we have neither heard nor seen any evidence that his board contained child pornography. The different levels of access cost from $29 to $69 a year. Amateur Action is back up, running Wildcat. The $69 annual rate will earn you a meg-a-day download privilege with no upload obligation. A Visa/Mastercard sub gives immediate access. Unless evidence appears to the contrary, this is another instance of police mishandling a seizure, confiscating first and asking questions later, and not being quite sure of what they're doing. What do Steve Jackson, Bob Thomas, and deja vous have in common? ------------------------------ From: bei@DOGFACE.AUSTIN.TX.US(B. Izenberg) Subject: File 6--Amateur Action BBS bust account from NixPix Date: Sun, 1 Mar 92 12:03:05 CST ((CuD Editor's Note - The following was written by the sysop of "NixPix BBS" in Aspen, Colorado, after a telephone interview with Bob Thomas, sysop of "Amateur Action")). The Amateur Action BBS Seige of '92 (02/29/92) (From a first-hand 'interview' with Nick) Cuzz there are so many false rumors circulating re this 'incident', I called Bob to get the straight story. Here 'tis! On Jan 20, 2020 at 7:30 AM, five armed San Jose Policemen stormed the house of Bob and Carleen Thomas, bearing a search warrant. The affidavit that permitted the search is still sealed, and a mystery to Bob, so he knows only what he could be searched for. No charges were pressed against him. The Search Warrant said: CA Penal Code section 311.2 (bringing of obscene matter into or distributing within state. And Penal code 311.11 (Possession or control of matter depicting sexual conduct of person under age of 14 . And Penal code 484-487.1 (Grand Theft- permits cops to take stolen goods if any are found). The entire family was in bed. The police charged into the frightened 11 & 14 yr old boys rooms... Their parents were impounded in their dining room as the gang took apart the BBS system and ransacked the house. Looking the protesting boys in the eye, they even grabbed their game computer. They were clearly after the computers, pictures, video tapes, machines. It was also clear they did not find what they were 'looking for'.. They carted off all computers, scanners, video gear, blank tapes.. The UPS and printer were too heavy!!! No explanation has been given for their seizing Bob's wifes underwear, purses, and shoes.... 5 1/2 hours of humiliation.. They also took Bob's business papers and effectively closed his Mom & Pop business. His battle costs have exceeded $15K! Bob hired an attorney and he got in touch with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (an organization specifically set up to protect our rights to privacy of information).. The Police had clearly broken the strict Fedral electronics privacy act.. This requires a SEPARATE Email search warrant for EACH Email recipient, or a $1000 damages can be levied PER addressee! And, damages can be recovered from individuals, state, and city. Thus, the San Jose police carelessly (wantonly?) broke federal laws. Before unsealing Bob's stuff, they agreed to only review GIFS, tapes, photos and to leave the records alone. After they began (finally) to actually look at their cache, the cops returned Bob's gear and stated that he had 'NOTHING ILLEGAL' in his posession! All the material in Bob's fine Amateur collection (save some great old-time 60's and 70's sexual memorabilia) is comparable to similar but slicker professional material obtainable from local Adult bookstores. What perpetuated this obnoxious and frightening attack on the AA BBS? It is still a secretive mystery. Bob does NOT know who his accuser is. I recall that as an UN-AMERICAN act! But, he hunches it is related to a bizarre local male adult who posed as a 14 year old on America On-Line and entrapped others to send him sexy stuff of 14 year olds. When he got some, he turned in America on Line. The reason Bob suspects him is that he lives only a few miles from AA in Fremont, and is clearly in the lunatic fringe. So, kiddies.. Be aware that as the WAR on drugs backs down in defeat the troops and philosophies are going to be used to make WAR on sex for pleasure.. And the spectre of 'KIDDIE PORN' is so odious to many Americans, that self defense will bankrupt many harmless people. We in the Adult BBS community are lucky to have such a brave Sysop as Bob Thomas.. And lucky that reason and law worked THIS time! Send Bob a lil help ($. I did, and I am stingy!) And join AA BBS at 408/263-3393 100% DST!. Nick , Horny Pixop and founder of NixPix.