A piece of internet history has been lost but not forgotten. IO.COM has been sold to an undisclosed third party and all of its shell,email and hosted ftp and webserv services have been transferred. To those of you scratching your head trying to figure out what this means, well let me tell you, it is a big deal. You see, before we had the internet we had BBSs or bulletin board systems. BBSs were computers that ran special software that allowed users to dial in and connect to the computer via a hard telephone line. Once connected to the BBS, users had access to a host of services we are familiar with today like email, news feeds(Usenet), webspace for websites. The BBS also allowed other users dialing in to communicate with each other. BBSs were the cornerstone of the internet as they gave birth the first online communities. IO.COM was a domain name that was owned by Steve Jackson Games and it hosted services for the Illuminati Online BBS. Steve Jackson Games was a company that created tabletop games and offered customer support through their Illuminati Online BBS. After it went online in the mid 1980′s, it soon became a flourishing online community where users would chat about all kinds of things – Illuminati Online was a staple in the early internet. But the story and the intrigue does not end there for the IO.COM BBS. The Illuminati Online BBS earned international fame among the computer underground after Steve Jackson Games was raided by the U.S. Secret Service. As it was in those days, people who did not understand technology feared those that did, giving way to the non-tech-savey computer users vs. the hacker elite. The Secret Service was after one so called hacker elite, a member of the Legion of Doom, known as Loyd Blackenship, an employ who worked for Steve Jackson games. The Secret Service had targeted Blackenship after he published a Bell article about the emergency 911 phone system in the hacker magazine Phrack and because he ran a legal BBS from his house where members discussed the hacker underground. That alone put him on the Secret Service’s watch list. During the raid agents discovered GURPS Cyberpunk that Blackenship had been working on at SJG. GURPS Cyberpunk was actually a genre toolkit for cyber themed role playing games – table top ones. After the raid the Secret Service confiscated several computers including the one running the Illuminati BBS taking it offline. They also raided Blackenship’s home. History tells us now that the Secret Service was really on a phishing expedition and did not have anything solid on Blackenship. They siezed the SJG computers because of Cyberpunk that he had been working for the company, but Cyberpunk had nothing to do with the hacker BBS Blackenship was running from his home, that was what the Secret Service was really after. SJG and the Illuminati Online BBS just got caught in the crossfire. In fact, as fate would have it Steve Jackson Games was awarded damages from the Secret Service in the 1990s for the use of what the judge called sloppy police work. The decision in the case led to some of the electronic information protections we now enjoy under the law today – it gave email and electric content the same protections under the law as mail – SJG was represented by the then new Electronic Frontier Foundation and SJG’s case proved to be a landmark case in the establishment of some of the online freedoms we enjoy today. Bye Bye IO.COM…oh how you will be missed. Hackers and non-geeks alike salute you Illuminati Online BBS!