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The 2600 Case


The 2600 Case

In November 1992, a group of young people affiliated with the computer magazine "2600" were confronted by mall security personnel, local police officers and several unidentified individuals in the Pentagon City mall in Virginia. The group members were ordered to identify themselves and to submit to searches of their personal property. Their names were recorded and some of their property was confiscated.

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) filed suit in federal court in early 1993 seeking the release of relevant Secret Service records under the Freedom of Information Act. The litigation of the case is being handled by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

In July 1994, U.S. District Judge Louis Oberdorfer ordered the Secret Service to release the vast majority of documents it maintains on the incident. The government appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In a brief filed on June 2, 1995, EPIC and CPSR argued that the withheld documents demonstrate Secret Service misconduct and that the FOIA exemptions cited by the agency do not apply.

In an opinion issued on January 2, 1996, the federal appeals court partially rejected the Secret Service's attempt to withhold relevant information. The court ordered the agency to disclose some of the material it maintains concerning the incident. The Pentagon City incident has been described as an example of over-zealous law enforcement activities directed against so-called computer "hackers." The case raises significant issues of free speech and assembly, privacy and government accountability.


Documents Available

Computer Underground Digest reports on the break-up of the 2600 meeting at Pentagon City.

The initial Secret Service response to CPSR's FOIA request.

CPSR's March 1993 law suit against the Secret Service requesting all information on 2600 incident.

CPSR press release on the lawsuit.

Affidavit of William F. Burch, Special Agent in Charge of Secret Service Washington Field Office, concerning the agency's involvement in the incident.

CPSR's May 1993 legal memorandum opposing the Secret Service's motion to dismiss the case.

Judge Oberdorfer's July 1994 decision ordering the Secret Service to release the documents.

EPIC's June 1995 brief in U.S. Court of Appeals.

The appellate decision issued on January 2, 1996.


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