Bungie's IT guy, Jeff Fletcher, is an information specialist for the Halo creators during the day, but sometimes he's a gun-toting vigilante, according to this report from Seattle news station KING 5.
Bungie's IT guy, Jeff Fletcher, is an information specialist for the Halo creators during the day, but sometimes he's a gun-toting vigilante, according to this report from Seattle news station KING 5.
Some police in Switzerland hate fun. A Swiss police association has called for a ban on The Darkness II because the game depicts scenes where police are shot at and killed. And in other news, police have also called for the ban of every television crime drama ever made in the entire world.
"Politicians, game producers and sellers have been advised that such games be immediately removed from circulation," read a statement from the Swiss Christian Police Association."
South African newspaper Beeld is reporting that an unnamed man has been arrested for jailbreaking the PlayStation 3 in Parktown, Johannesburg today. This marks the first time someone has been arrested for such a crime in the country. The raid was conducted by the South African Police Service's Commercial Crime Unit, after receiving criminal complaints from the South African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT). Members of the police were assisted by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) Computer Forensics Lab.
Reuters is reporting that the FBI today raided six locations in New York and conducted several searches in California on Tuesday as part of a sweeping investigation of the Internet hacktivist group Anonymous. The targets of the raids in New York included a residence in Brooklyn and five other locations on Long Island. According to the report, these homes were searched for computers and other related equipment suspected of being used by members of the group to commit various cyber crimes.
FBI spokesman Tim Flannelly, said the searches in New York were "in relation to an ongoing investigation" of Anonymous. At least one laptop was removed from one home, but no arrests were made in any of the New York locations. Meanwhile on the other side of the country, FBI agents in California were conducting what they called "law enforcement actions" in the San Francisco Bay Area but did not say if anyone was arrested.
In late March four United States Senators voiced outrage over iPhone and Android apps that alerted users to local DUI stops being conducted by the police. It bothered them so much that the four got together and penned strongly worded letters to the CEO's of both Apple and Google asking them to ban these apps from their respective marketplaces.
Three months later and one company has complied with the wishes of Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.). According to revised app developer guidelines uncovered by Mac Rumors, section 22.8 offers an addendum:
"Apps which contain DUI checkpoints that are not published by law enforcement agencies, or encourage and enable drunk driving, will be rejected."
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has placed a hold on the PROTECT IP Act (S. 968), ensuring that the bill will not make it to the floor of the Senate for a full vote. This news comes from Ars Technica, who also received a lengthy statement from Wyden's staff on the particulars of the Senator's action this week. The bill, which was overwhelmingly approved in committee by both political parties, gives the U.S. government the power to blacklist and isolate web sites allegedly trading in counterfeit or pirated materials.
A similar bill was put on hold by Wyden last year because he said it went too far in dealing with copyright and patent infringement on the Internet. The new bill gives the government the ability to blacklist or shut down a web site it believes is engaging in illegal activity, compel advertisers to sever relationships with accused sites and tell search engines to remove sites from their index.
The UKIE's IP crime unit is the focus of BBC 1's Fake Britain, though you can't watch it in America (it's unavailable in my region, at least - according to the web site). UKIE’s intellectual property crime unit was featured in episode 7 of the show. It focused on illegal copies of games out in the wild, the people that make those copies, and what the UKIE does to fight against it. The show also features interviews with UKIE staff and Miles Jacobson, MD of games developer Sports Interactive.
If you live in the UK and Europe, you can check out the show on the BBC. Here's what UKIE's CEO had to say about the program:
Sony has one more thing to worry about: Congress's Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade. The group's chairperson, Representative Mary Bono Mack (R-Ca.) sent a letter to Sony Chairman Kazuo Hirai asking the company to answer a series of questions related to the PlayStation Network security breach. The committee wants a reply to the letter by May 6.
The group of lawmakers want answers to questions about when the security breach occurred, if Sony knew who was responsible for the attack, and when the company notified law enforcement. The letter also asked Sony to explain what it knew about the type of data that was stolen and if it included any credit card information. Sony has been saying publically that it has not been proven that credit card data has been stolen, but it also said that nearly 10 million users might be at risk. A mixed message to be sure.
Kotaku has confirmed that the FBI's cybercrimes unit in San Diego has joined two dozen state attorneys general and possibly the Federal Trade Commission in an investigation of Sony's security breach that exposed millions of users' data to hackers.
"The FBI is aware of the reports concerning the alleged intrusion into the Sony on line game server and we have been in contact with Sony concerning this matter," FBI special agent Darrell Foxworth told Kotaku. "We are presently reviewing the available information in an effort to determine the facts and circumstances concerning this alleged criminal activity."
Attorneys general in 22 states are also looking into the PSN fiasco, demanding answers from Sony and asking the company why it took them o long to warn customers of the potential danger. Kotaku says that the 22 states are sharing information with each other.
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.
Ars Technica offers a sit-down interview with Daniel Castro, a senior analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). He is also a co-author of a2009 paper on Internet piracy, which was influential on the development and adoption of the U.S. government's Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) legislation.
In the interview, Castro says that the United States government needs to blacklist and censor web sites that traffic in pirated and counterfeit goods. Further, U.S. credit card companies would be "forbidden" from doing business with any of these blacklisted sites and U.S. advertising networks would not be allowed to advertise in these places.
Here is a choice quote about why COICA is the right way to deal with piracy:
On Christmas Eve 2010 a man in Ashland, Oregon came home to find his home ransacked and robbed. Among the items stolen was a flashy new video game console. While we do not know what kind of console was stolen we do know that police can track it down if it connects to the internet and there is some way to track it based on serial numbers.
The Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force, which deals with cyber crimes and crimes involving electronic devices, contacted the manufacturer. With their help the police were able to track the console down because someone went online with it.
Anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån claim to have helped police arrest a man it claims to be a "major player" in the "warez scene." The man, who is "around 30 years old," was arrested in the small Swedish city of Gävle by local police and agents from Sweden’s anti-piracy unit.
APB’s Henrik Pontén made the announcement yesterday, adding that his organization played a pivotal role in bringing this man in to custody. The police used information collected by the group to bring the man down, though what his name is remains a mystery.
"He is one of the elite pirates," Pontén said. "It is good that the police have a broad focus in their work and can act against the advanced and illegal sources of BitTorrent users."
"It was a major crackdown," said Paul Pintér, Coordinator at the Intellectual Property Crime Department at Stockholm police.
A Saudi national who was arrested for plotting to "blow up" former President George W. Bush's Texas home and other targets in America has been connected ever so slightly to violent video games - particularly the Resident Evil series from Capcom. The 20-year-old chemical engineering student at Lubbock's South Plains College, described by authorities as a "jihadist" plead not guilty to charges last Wednesday in a Texas federal court. The charge was attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. According to an affidavit in the Northern District of Texas, Aldawarsi, who was came to the US in 2008 on a student visa, had allegedly researched how to make a chemical-based, improvised explosive device (IED) online.
The New York Post reports that enjoyed watching game videos from five titles in the Resident Evil series on YouTube - information the paper found while sifting through his blog.
This is good news or bad news depending on your perspective and if you live in Australia: the Federal Court of Australia dismissed a case this week brought by the movie industry about the role of internet service providers in the fight against copyright infringement. This report on Ars Technica details the drama leading up to the court battle. Lawyers for industry argued that ISPs in the country must take action against file-sharers who are accused of infringement by copyright holders. The case was against ISP iiNet, and was an appeal of the original judgment in the matter, which also went against rightsholders. The appeal was heard by a three-judge panel.
Earlier this week Ubisoft announced plans to publish Call of Juarez: The Cartel this summer. Unlike the previous releases in the series, The Cartel is set in the present day and focuses on a "bloody road trip from Los Angeles to Juarez, Mexico."
While the description of this mature rated game may not shock gamers, the modern-day setting combined with the title has rubbed law enforcement officials in south Texas the wrong way. Pointing to gang and drug cartel-related violence that is very real to towns in southern Texas bordering Mexico, Brownsville Police Chief Carlos Garcia says that any game involving organized crime "sets a bad example." More from Garcia:
Police in Georgia are offering open arms to virtual crime fighters, thanks to a new game that lets citizens gun down bank robbers as the mighty law enforcement agency of the former Soviet Union state. The country (not the state known for its delicious peaches, game industry tax credits, and the wonderful city of Atlanta) revealed late last year that it was working on the game, much to the chagrin of critics who thought it was simply a way for the Georgian Interior Ministry to gain favor with citizens and shed a good light on the police force.
The game, which some have described as "violent," lets players jump into the boots of Georgian police as they fight bank robbers. Players engage in "shoot-outs with criminals, high-speed car chases, and hostage-taking scenarios."
The game is also meant to highlight the reforms that the Georgian police force has experienced since 2003.
The FBI has finally set its sights on Anonymous, according to this recent Ars Technica story. The investigation is related to the groups' attacks on various corporations and organizations that it felt had wronged Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange.
The FBI said that it executed more than 40 search warrants across the United States last Thursday. At the same time, British police arrested five men who allegedly participated in the group’s denial of service attacks on various corporations such as Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Amazon in mid-December. Anonymous targeted these companies after they cut off access to WikiLeaks.
ABC News reports that two men have been charged with hacking AT&T's servers and stealing the private information of nearly 120,000 iPad users including such notables as Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and President Obama's former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Some have called the men "Internet trolls" because of the way they allegedly bragged about it online. The security breach occurred during the initial release of Apple's iPad, according to court documents.
The two are 26-year-old Daniel Spitler of San Francisco, and 25-year-old Andrew Auernheimer of Fayetteville, Ark. Both received a charge of fraud and conspiracy to access a computer without authorization. The charges were announced by the U.S. prosecutors office in Newark, N.J.
Police in Thames Valley, England have created a "video game" campaign where participants choose an action in a scenario similar to ones they might encounter when out in pubs and bars related to sexual assault. The video game is called Seal the Deal and is available on both YouTube and Facebook.
But the game is only one part of the campaign; another part involves true confessions from convicted rapists.
For example, a 41-year-old from Oxford calling himself "John" admits to raping his girlfriend when he was drunk in 2001 "following a difficult period in their relationship." He agreed to be interviewed as part of the new Don’t Cross the Line serious sexual assault campaign. He said during his interview that he felt "entitled to sex."
The campaign encourages young men to consider the consequences of their actions towards women - particularly when drinking is involved.
According to a report in The Smoking Gun, the FBI has raided a Texas business and seized a computer server that investigators allege was used as part of "Operation Payback."
The FBI began an investigation earlier this month after PayPal "reported that an Internet activist group using the names '4chan' and 'Anonymous' appeared to be organizing a distributed denial of service ('DDoS') attack against the company," according to an FBI affidavit.
The attack was part of an online effort to punish corporations that turned their backs on Wikileaks and Julian Assange. Other targets included Visa, Mastercard, Sarah Palin’s web site, and the Swedish prosecutor pursuing sex assault charges against Assange.
Testimony in a Wichita, Kansas murder case that revolves around Madden NFL 2010 began this week in Wichita Kansas. A judge began hearing the events that lead to the death of one man at the hands of two brothers after an argument over cheating in the video game.
While playing Madden NFL 2010, 22-year-old Luke German was accused of cheating by two brothers - 26-year-old Christopher Redgate and 22-year-old Benjamin Redgate. The argument escalated, prosecutors say, into an assault with a metal pipe that lead to German's death. The brothers face second-degree murder charges for the crime. A medical examiner determined that German died of multiple blunt-force trauma injuries and strangulation.
A judge began hearing testimony about the October fight in a preliminary hearing for Christopher Redgate. His brother waived his right to a preliminary hearing in the Sedgwick County District Court.
A crime spree involving San Antonio, Texas GameStops continues, according to police. In less than a week three GameStop stores have been robbed in the city. The latest robbery took place at the GameStop store on Bandera Road and Mainland on the city's northwest side 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Two suspects tied up the store's employees with duct tape and put them in the restroom. Police say the thieves escaped with an undetermined amount of cash.
On Tuesday morning, burglars broke into a GameStop in the 600 block of Northwest Loop 410. Thieves pried open the doors, then broke into several drawers, taking an unknown number of games. On Monday afternoon, police say a man walked into the Game Stop in the 6000 block of Northwest Loop 410 claiming he was armed with a gun and knife. He got away with several games.
Police who are investigating all three cases say that they do not believe the robberies are connected.
A crime ring in Bangalore, India, whose hobbies included extortion, loan sharking, and using nicknames, has been taken down by the Organized Crime division of the Central Crime Branch (CCB), according to a report on ExpressBuzz. The group’s activities included doling out high interest loans to businessmen and "hawkers" (interest charged on a daily or hourly basis, no less), and extorting protection money from videogame parlors, bars, restaurants, and businessmen. Besides shaking down videogames parlors, the other relevant link is that this crime organization was allegedly working with a politician.
Alberta Police have an interesting way of luring youngsters in to learn more about being a police officer: a video game. The Police department is using new approaches to get youngsters interested in a career in law enforcement and what works better than video games?
The official game of the Alberta Police Department is appropriately called Alberta C.O.P.S. Impaired Driver and was developed by Edmonton-based software company Firetext International. C.O.P.S. stands for Career Opportunities in Police Services.
Alberta C.O.P.S. Impaired Driver begins by letting the player select one of five police officers who come from different backgrounds. Next, the player is briefed on objectives for the day, and then sent out in a patrol car to investigate and arrest suspects who appear to be breaking the law. The player has 12 minutes to complete three tasks. For every achieved objective the player is awarded a badge.
The Justice Department announced this week that Law enforcement agencies throughout the United States would receive almost $4 million in grants to fight intellectual property infringement. Police departments and District Attorneys in California, North Carolina, Florida, New York, Mississippi, Virginia and Texas will get a chunk of the money, according to The Wrap.
The Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sherriff's Department, the National Crime Prevention Council, the National Association of Attorneys General, and the National White Collar Crime Center were also on the list to receive grant money.
The Motion Picture Association of America was supportive of the grant money, for obvious reasons:
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has contacted Wikipedia over the use of an FBI logo on a page dedicated to the history of the crime-fighting organization.
The FBI claimed that the logo accompanying an entry in the online encyclopedia was an “unauthorized reproduction of the FBI Seal” and “prohibited by law,” according to the BBC. The FBI’s letter stated that “Whoever possesses any insignia...or any colourable imitation thereof..shall be fined...or imprisoned... or both.”
Apparently offering the logo in four different sizes also posed a crisis, as the FBI stated that this was, “particularly problematic, because it facilitates both deliberate and unwitting violations of restrictions by Wikipedia users."
The release of an internal Microsoft document, which details how the software giant stores information and the ways in which law enforcement members can access it, has drawn the wrath of Redmond.
As detailed on GeekOSystem.com, the document, entitled Global Criminal Compliance Handbook, and dated March, 2008, was originally posted by the whistleblower website Cryptome. Microsoft reacted quickly, claiming that the document was copyright material under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and the offending content, and indeed, the whole website, was taken down swiftly.
Fortunately, BusinessInsider decided to host the PDF on its website for anyone interested in viewing it. The document is a version for U.S. law enforcement officials, and pertains to Microsoft’s online services such as Windows Live, Windows Live ID Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail and Xbox Live.
Cryptome editor John Young detailed what he found most distasteful in the document:
Most repugnant in the MS guide was its improper use of copyright to conceal from its customer violations of trust toward its customers. Copyright law is not intended for confidentiality purposes, although firms try that to save legal fees. Copyright bluffs have become quite common, as the EFF initiative against such bluffs demonstrates.
Second most repugnant is the craven way the programs are described to ease law enforcement grab of data. This information would also be equally useful to customers to protect themselves when Microsoft cannot due to its legal obligations under CALEA.
For Xbox 360 users who have registered on Xbox Live with a credit card, Microsoft collects and stores your: date of birth, name, e-mail address, physical address, telephone number, credit card number, type of credit card, credit card expiration and Microsoft Passport.
Xbox Live users will have their registration and IP connection history recorded “for the life of the gamertag account.” Also collected, and stored, is the Xbox’s serial number (if it was registered online).
Law enforcement officials armed with a subpoena can grab “basic subscriber information,” such as name, address, screen names, IP address, IP logs, billing info and email content “more than 180 days old.”
A court order results in “disclosure of all of the basic subscriber information available under a subpoena plus the e-mail address book, Messenger contact lists, the rest of a customer’s profile not already listed above, internet usage logs and e-mail header information (to/from) excluding subject line.”
Search warrants allow law enforcement members to access emails in electronic storage 180 days or less.
The Cryptome site has since returned on a different domain and posted the full email trail from Microsoft and Network Solutions that led to the original site being shuttered.
Organizers of a September 12th protest planned for a video game-filled Army recruiting facility in Philadelphia are apparently expecting some of their group to be arrested.
A message posted yesterday at SHUT DOWN THE ARMY EXPERIENCE CENTER details the somewhat stealthy tactics planned for the demonstration and contains the following:
We’re expecting national television and print coverage this time around, so we want to make sure our presence is formidable...
Meanwhile, folks willing to risk arrest are being asked to begin showing up at the Army Experience Center as early as noon to sample one of the X Box video murder games or one of the killing simulators. It would be excellent to have folks on the inside throughout the day.
As GamePolitics previously reported, seven protesters were arrested by police during a demonstration at the Army Experience Center on May 2nd.
Last week GamePolitics reported on the tragic death of 16-year-old Deng Senshan (left). The Chinese teen was beaten to death by employees at a camp for Internet addicts.
IDG is now reporting that 13 people have been rounded up by Chinese investigators. The facility itself, the Qihang Salvation Training Camp, has been shut down after authorities found that it was unlicensed. 122 students receiving "treatment" there were sent home to their families. From the IDG report:
Conservative [Chinese] officials blame hugely popular online games like World of Warcraft for getting teens hooked on the Web, harming their grades in school and dividing them from their parents. Some of the camps have used shock treatment on students, but China banned the practice last month.
UPDATE: More at Slashdot...