When Corporations Attack

Presented at The Fifth HOPE (2004), July 9, 2004, 2 p.m. (60 minutes)

We all know the wrath that major corporations are capable of unleashing when the actions of hackers and other individuals anger them. This panel will focus on two of these cases. Dan was the publisher of Satellite Watch News, a publication that focused on the technical workings of the satellite industry. DirecTV (owned by General Motors) managed to completely shut down the newsletter and take nearly all of his possessions. Acidus and Virgil did research into the Blackboard college ID card system (used at universities everywhere) and they uncovered all kinds of interesting facts. This was to be presented at the Interz0ne conference in Atlanta in 2003. Blackboard filed an injunction that not only kept that from happening but has prevented the two from discussing specifics about Blackboard to this day. In addition to these three panelists, a representative of the EFF will be on hand to talk about the legal aspects of these frightening cases.


  • Wendy Seltzer
    Wendy Seltzer is a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, specializing in intellectual property and free speech issues. As a Fellow with Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Wendy founded and leads the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, helping Internet users to understand their rights in response to cease-and-desist threats. Prior to joining EFF, Wendy taught Internet Law as an adjunct professor at St. John's University School of Law and practiced intellectual property and technology litigation with Kramer, Levin, Naftalis, and Frankel in New York. Wendy speaks frequently on copyright, trademark, open source, and the public interest online. She has an A.B. from Harvard College and J.D. from Harvard Law School, and occasionally takes a break from legal code to program (Perl).
  • Dan Morgan
    Dan Morgan published the leading satellite TV hacking newsletter, Satellite Watch News. He also produced the DB1 radio show and a series of related videotapes. In 1997 DirecTV filed a cease and desist order to stop publication of the newsletter. When Dan refused on First Amendment grounds, DirecTV (owned by General Motors) sued him for a million dollars. Unable to afford effective counsel, Dan lost the case and nearly everything he owned. Dan Morgan now operates a small network consulting firm in Michigan.
  • Virgil Griffith
    Virgil Griffith spends most of his time as a student in brain and computer sciences at the University of Alabama. He is an avid fan of AI and biologically inspired techniques in computer security (Internet immune system withstanding). He was one of the plaintiffs in the Blackboard college ID card system lawsuit last year. After researching the system, Blackboard filed a restraining order preventing the details from being revealed at a conference in Atlanta.
  • Acidus
    Acidus has lectured for the past two years at the PhreakNic and Interz0ne conferences in the Southeast, and has been published numerous times in 2600. Topics have ranged from circumventing lockdown software, building a magstripe authenticating Coke machine, hacking the PC heart of ATMs, XM Radio infrastructure concerns, and various hardware projects. He is currently doing grant research on embedded systems at a well known engineering university.