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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Matthew WilsonI think its a good article, and devs can take some lessons from life is strange.04/24/2015 - 10:24pm
Andrew EisenI tinyURL'd it. The world is safe!04/24/2015 - 10:23pm
Matthew Wilson@AE my bad there is nothing I can do about that.04/24/2015 - 10:21pm
Andrew EisenLooks like the spoiler is right there in the URL.04/24/2015 - 10:20pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://tinyurl.com/ok9pf6b a interesting opinion piece on the life is strange episode 2, and a dark event that happens in it. full warning major spoilers.04/24/2015 - 10:11pm
Matthew Wilson@mech no just she, nor her co workers have not. she never said it is not real.04/24/2015 - 8:58pm
MechaCrashWas she saying "I haven't experienced it," or "I haven't experienced it therefore it does not exist"?04/24/2015 - 8:31pm
ZippyDSMleeoy the skyrim paid mod thing is going over well. My 2 lints, I would not mind if Skyrim had a full SDK and not a crappy lil editor....04/24/2015 - 6:46pm
Andrew EisenWell, that is indeed crappy and nonsensical.04/24/2015 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonshe got attacked for saying that she personaly has not experienced the harassment some other female devs have, and she got acused of defending GG and ignoring harassment. she ended up getting dog piled because of it.04/24/2015 - 3:43pm
Andrew EisenFine but do you recall ANY details at all?04/24/2015 - 3:38pm
Matthew Wilsonit was several weeks ago now, and I will admit to not saving it.04/24/2015 - 3:36pm
Andrew EisenAttacked HOW and by WHOM for not writing off WHO as evil? Do you have a link or anything?04/24/2015 - 3:31pm
Matthew Wilsonthat is the whole point she was not attacked for saying anything. she was attacked for being willing to debate in the first place, and not just write them off as evil.04/24/2015 - 3:28pm
Andrew EisenI know there's not a lot of room in the Shout box but goodness you're being vague.04/24/2015 - 3:26pm
Andrew EisenGreat, but that STILL doesn't tell me what she said, why she was attacked (or what the attack was) or what "standard line" she's following. Details, man. Details!04/24/2015 - 3:25pm
Andrew EisenOr what the heck Nina White (someone else I've never heard of) is actually referring to.04/24/2015 - 3:24pm
Matthew Wilson@AE she is a game dev. she used to do stuff with hormanix and now works with https://outact.net/#!/?page_id=2 she will often engage and debate both side.04/24/2015 - 3:23pm
Andrew Eisen...following.04/24/2015 - 3:23pm
Andrew EisenYou mean focus on stopping the bad behavior of those who are doing it rather than condemning all the people that associate with them? Great. But I still don't know who Emma Clarkson is, what she said, why she was attacked or what "standard line" she's04/24/2015 - 3:23pm
 

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