Asca_arms further announcement from the Society Seneschal on the ACCEPS program.

The Seneschal of the Society sends greetings to my fellow SCA members and participants,

Based upon the fact that ACCEPS has now shut down, the need to remain silent to ensure the security of everyone’s credit card information on ACCEPS is no longer a concern and as such, I am able to divulge the following factual basis for the SCA’s ending of its relationship with ACCEPS in terms of all future events.

Please know that it was the Board of Directors and the Corporate Officers’ intention to allow ACCEPS to continue to serve the Kingdoms and the local groups in terms of those events that were currently being handled through ACCEPS and that the immediate shutting down of all ACCEPS activities was not anticipated by the Board of Directors or the Corporate Officers.  The immediate termination of ACCEPS was a decision made solely by the ACCEPS staff.

Furthermore, I did not anticipate that my official memorandum to the Kingdom Seneschals (the same email was sent by the Corporate Treasurer to the Kingdom Exchequers) would be disseminated in whole or in part on Social Media feeds and as such, I feel that the following points need to be made.

1. It was reported to the Board of Directors that ACCEPS’ security structure could be compromised and that ACCEPS’s security must be updated; when this was reported to ACCEPS, the creator of the ACCEPS program refused to bolster and update security and make the necessary modifications to ACCEPS to protect participants and the SCA.

2. In an attempt to protect the members and participants of the SCA using ACCEPS, the Board of Directors decided, in conjunction with the President, Society Seneschal (i.e. myself) and Corporate Treasurer, decided to remove the SCA’s authorization to use ACCEPS in terms of any future events.

3. All Kingdom and local group events currently being served through ACCEPS would be allowed to continue to participate as active ACCEPS participants; however, it was determined by the Board of Directors, in conjunction with Corporate Officers, that no new events will be allowed to register with ACCEPS due to the financial risk to the SCA and its participants.

4. The Board of Directors and Corporate Officers determined that it was most prudent to protect the individuals who are still being served by ACCEPS by not drawing attention to the security weakness inherent in ACCEPS; to do so would have been to place the participants and their credit card information at risk in terms of credit card fraud.

5. The Society Seneschal and Corporate Treasurer drafted an official letter to Kingdom Seneschals and Kingdom Exchequers to not use ACCEPS in the future, that to violate this rule would result in a suspended warrant (i.e. there was a real consequence to not following this directive) and that those events that were currently being served by ACCEPS may continue, but not be extended.  The potential sanction for any Seneschal and Exchequer not following this directive was commensurate with putting the SCA’s membership at risk.

6. A courtesy copy of these official letters (to Kingdom Seneschals and Exchequers) were sent to ACCEPS. As such, ACCEPS was informed that the SCA was terminating its relationship ACCEPS in terms of any new events; however, it was clear from the letter that the SCA would continue to allow the Kingdoms and local group to maintain all current events handled by ACCEPS.

7. The treasurer of ACCEPS contacted the Corporate Treasurer on the evening of April 18, 2015 which was the genesis of a conference call between the treasurer for ACCEPS, the President of the SCA, the Corporate Treasurer and I (as Society Seneschal), immediately after receiving the courtesy copy of the official email sent to all Kingdom Seneschals and Exchequers. The terms of the SCA’s response to ACCEPS were reviewed orally during this phone call, i.e. that the current events already being handled on ACCEPS would be allowed to proceed until fruition, but there would be no further events handled on ACCEPS.

8. Not only did ACCEPS refuse, previous to this past weekend’s Board of Director’s Meeting, to take steps to protect individuals which forced the hand of the Board of Directors and Corporate Officers, but later that evening, after the Board Meeting and after the conference call with Corporate Officers, ACCEPS chose to terminate their services to each Kingdom and local group in terms of all of the current events being handled by ACCEPS.

9. Later that evening, statements were made on Social Media quoting portions of the official communication to SCA Seneschals and Exchequers and this generated a great deal of negative comments in terms of the Board of Director’s and Corporate Officers; however, the Board of Directors and Corporate Officers were unable to comment on these until this opportunity.  To do otherwise would be to expose the weaknesses in security in terms of the ACCEPS system and put the credit card information of the members and participants at risk.   This posting is a response to all of those comments.  A number of comments received by the Board of Directors and Corporate Officers and I will be responding to each of these now that ACCEPS has been shut down.

10. PayPal is currently being utilized by several test Kingdoms and while the vast majority of the other Kingdoms are not currently ready to employ PayPal; however, the Board and Corporate Officers were compelled to act swiftly to minimize the opportunity for fraud in view of the refusal by ACCEPS’ owner/creator to make proper updates and enhancements to protect credit card information. I believe that we all understood that this would be inconvenient to Kingdoms and local groups, but in view of the world wide threat of credit card fraud and identity theft, the Board acted to protect individual participants who could be compromised by utilizing ACCEPS in the future.

If anyone has any questions regarding this matter, I can be reached at seneschal@sca.org.  I am unable to participate in Social Media due to the nature of my mundane employment; as such, if you are interested in actually discussing this matter, I invite you to send me an email.

A.J. Pongratz, Esq.
Society Seneschal/Vice President of Operations, SCA Inc.