FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment over WoW Gold Farming

April 14, 2011 -

The FBI has raided the apartment of two University of Michigan students to investigate what it has called "potentially fraudulent sales or purchases of virtual currency that people use to advance in the popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft." The story comes from Computer World. The FBI thinks the two students are terrorists who are doing "something" in World of Warcraft to further some sort of terrorist plot. It's hard to say what exactly they suspect from the two within Blizzard's virtual world, but they obviously aren't going on a hunch here.

The two students, a sophomore and a junior, shared a University Towers apartment in Ann Arbor, Michigan were raided by the FBI and had several items confiscated for further investigation including laptops, hard drives, unnamed video game systems, credit cards, a cell phone, undetermined paperwork and other computer equipment.

The unnamed college sophomore told AnnArbor.com, "They [the FBI] thought we were involved in some kind of fraud. I'm pretty sure they have the wrong people, but they took all my stuff."

The student goes on to say that neither of them play world of Warcraft and that the FBI has targeted "the wrong people." Could it be that the FBI raided the wrong apartment?

Investigators don't think so. They say that at least one person at the address they raided was involved in a "scheme to set up fraudulent bank accounts to buy and/or sell 'virtual currency' or 'gold' to be used in the game."

Federal Court records show that the FBI is investigating gold farming and its apparent connection to terrorism. In this case, agents were looking for online transaction records associated with WoW and a number of other web sites such as the Chinese gold-farming website gameusd.com, eBay, PayPal and the United Services Automobile Association.

Source: Computer World


Comments

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

 

"Federal Court records show that the FBI is investigating gold farming and its apparent connection to terrorism."

Hey Mr. FBI guys, for those of us who don't see everything in the world as a connection to terrorism, could please explain this "apparent connection?"  We don't spend all day reading Tom Clancy books or constructing conspiracy theories where ‘the terrorists win’, so we’re a little confused.

Here’s a thought I just had while typing this:  Could what the FBI actions be considered terrorism itself?  They forced themselves into someone’s home and disrupted their lives by taking important things from them (mind you they were students so they probably needed those computers) all under the name of protecting the US against terrorism.

 

Possible substitutions for “gold farming”:


Federal Court records show that the FBI is investigating breathing and its apparent connection to terrorism.

Federal Court records show that the FBI is investigating rabbits and their apparent connection to terrorism.

 

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

"It's hard to say what exactly they suspect from the two within Blizzard's virtual world, but they obviously aren't going on a hunch here." I think you're giving the FBI entirely too much credit.

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

As much as I hate gold farmers even I agree this is a bit much.

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

When you buy gold, you're funding TERRORISM.

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

In the past, DHS and others have tried to link piracy and terrorism. In their addled minds, this is probably just another logical conclusion that they've drawn from straws.

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

While "buying gold = FUND TERROR" is too far, "buy gold = fund ID theft" is reasonable. After all, there's a reason so many WOW accounts get stolen and stripped. That's how the gold sellers get their inventory -- they deal in stolen goods.

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

Seriously?

FBI doesn't have anything better to do than act as the enforcing arm of Activision?

Unless their gold farming operation is very large scale, there's absolutely no way it'd hit any reasonable threshold that should warrant FBI's attention.

The guys are probably not paying taxes on the income from their operation, but I don't see any other reason for the FBI to go on a fishing expedition.

Fraudulent bank operation? Give me a f***ing break!

-- http://pixelantes.blogspot.com/

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

So basicily they are probably currency traders or wholesalers.. but because it was virtual currency rather then the real stuff they were labled terrorists rather then given tax breaks and bailout money?

 
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WymorenceOh sweet god, Kung Fury is freaking awesome...05/28/2015 - 10:03pm
E. Zachary KnightWonder, I know you can revise content and resubmit it, but I can't findany information about a formal appeals process.05/28/2015 - 7:27pm
Wonderkarpever wonder if there's an appeals process for AO?05/28/2015 - 6:55pm
Matthew WilsonDanny and Andy play the first couple of levels of the upcoming Hatred http://www.gamespot.com/videos/hatred-gamespot-plays/2300-6425016/ imho it does not look like it should be AO.05/28/2015 - 5:57pm
Andrew EisenHey, remember Kung Fury? That short film that was funded via Kickstarter a few years ago? You can watch it now. I suggest you do. It's fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS5P_LAqiVg05/28/2015 - 5:14pm
Goth_SkunkOriginally, yes. Some content was cut out in order to reduce its ratign from AO down to M, but PC users could work around that an unlock the full content by means of a patch. Which is what I did. :D05/28/2015 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenKarp - Yes, for strong sexual content. Although the recent remaster contains all that content and was rated M.05/28/2015 - 3:54pm
Andrew EisenDepends on if you consider Hatred misrated. I haven't played the game or seen the ESRB's rating summary so I'm undecided.05/28/2015 - 3:53pm
WonderkarpDidnt Fahrenheit have an AO?05/28/2015 - 3:52pm
Matthew Wilson@AE that is why I said it seems more moral panic to me.05/28/2015 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - From what I've seen (just the trailers) the game is nowhere near as gory as many, many other games. But again, I'm guessing the AO rating comes from theme and tone rather than outright gore.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Andrew EisenKarp - It didn't show penetration or nudity.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
WonderkarpI'd say Mortal Kombat X has more Gore and Violence than Hatred.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Matthew Wilsonwhat I mean by worse in this case its not more gory/violent than others.05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
WonderkarpI forget....did Hot Coffee actually show Penetration?05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
Andrew EisenKarp - The Skyrim mods are external mods. The Hot Coffee mod unlocked content on the disc. Big difference. Still, the content that was unlocked was still perfectly in line with an M rating in my opinion.05/28/2015 - 3:47pm
Andrew EisenThemes are factored into ratings, not just mechanics. Still waiting for ESRB's rating summary. Very curious to see what it has to say.05/28/2015 - 3:46pm
Matthew WilsonHatred is a top down shooter though, and isnt any worse than other top down shooters?05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
Wonderkarpyeah, San Andreases rerating was ridiculous. Why not rerate Skyrim with all its crazy sex mods out there? But yeah, ESRB is good as policing itself. 05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
Andrew EisenManhunt 2 and Hatred though? Eh, there's an argument to be made for the higher rating.05/28/2015 - 3:43pm
 

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