Playboy Channel religious message (lost footage of television hijack; 1987)
The Playboy Channel religious message was a television intrusion incident that occurred on September 6th, 1987.
The hijack occurred during the airing of the film Three Daughters on the Playboy Channel. Sometime during the broadcast, a message was displayed on screen saying "Thus sayeth the Lord thy God: Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Repent, the kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (from the Bible verses Exodus 20:8 and Matthew 4:17).
Thomas Haynie, an employee of the Christian Broadcasting Network, was convicted of satellite piracy in connection with the incident. Haynie, who pleaded his innocence, was the first person convicted under a new federal law that had made satellite hacking a felony following the Captain Midnight incident.
According to investigators, it was the religious content of the transmission and the type of equipment used that drew them to CBN. The jamming signal left behind subtle technical clues that were captured on a VHS recording made at the Playboy Channel's uplink at the time of the event – like finding "fingerprints" in the video. After investigators were confident that they identified the brand of transmitter and character generator from the video, they concluded that CBN was the culprit. Haynie, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was on duty at his job as an uplink engineer at the time of the jamming.
CBN maintained that the FCC's case was entirely circumstantial since there were no witnesses and the signal could not be traced to a point of origin. During the investigation, experts on both sides attempted to recreate the incident with CBN's equipment. According to CBN spokesman Dino McCann, they were unsuccessful. Furthermore, CBN asserted that there was not enough power for Haynie to jam Playboy's signal but during the trial, government witnesses said the CBN station was capable of interfering with satellite transmissions.
After initially being deadlocked, the jury eventually sided with the prosecution and convicted Haynie on two of six counts. (Haynie was acquitted of similar charges of interfering with the American Exxxtasy channel; a recording of the event was of such poor quality that it was unusable.) Haynie received three years of probation, a $1,000 fine, and 150 hours of community service.
This broadcast intrusion was the second before the Max Headroom Television Hijacking pirate incident that happened in 1987. It was mentioned in the books "Computer Ethics: Cautionary Tales and Ethical Dilemmas in Computing" by Tom Forester and Perry Morrison and "Who Owns Information?: From Privacy To Public Access" by Anne Branscomb. Also, the broadcast intrusion was told in some news and newspaper. However, he did not make a splash after the sensational Max Headroom incident. No footage of the broadcast intrusion has resurfaced and given the limited attention the intrusion received, it's unlikely any footage will ever be found. All that is available is one image of the hijacking on Dr. Marcus Michael’s website.
- Captain Midnight (partially lost test intrusion footage of television hijacks; 1986)
- Lucky Seven (lost TV intrusion footage for unused "Channel 7" TV channel; 1978)
- Max Headroom Television Hijacking (lost audio from first transmission; existence unconfirmed; 1987)
- Southern Television broadcast intrusion (lost real-time footage of television hijack; 1977)
- Telewizja Solidarnosc (lost footage of Polish television hijack; 1985)
- Satellite Jamming Case 25th Anniversary
- Porn-Film Message Suspect Is Convicted - Los Angeles Times Retrieved 27 Oct '21
- Trial Set in Jamming of Playboy Channel - Daily Press Retrieved 27 Oct '21