Former Soviet State Offers Cops and Robbers Video Game

February 8, 2011 -

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.

| Read more

FBI Raids Anonymous Over Pro-WikiLeaks Attacks

January 31, 2011 -

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.

38 comments | Read more

iPad Hackers Charged by Federal Prosecutors

January 19, 2011 -

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.

2 comments | Read more

UK Police use PSA's, Games to Talk About Rape

January 3, 2011 -

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.

1 comment | Read more

FBI Raids Texas Business for Operation Payback Leads

December 30, 2010 -

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.

4 comments | Read more

Wichita Man's Preliminary Hearing For Murder Charge Begins

December 23, 2010 -

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.

| Read more

San Antonio GameStops Robbed Three Times in One Week

December 23, 2010 -

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.

| Read more

Bangalore Cops Take Down Naughty Rowdy Ring

December 15, 2010 -

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.

| Read more

Alberta Police Use Game to Recruit Young People

December 13, 2010 -

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.

1 comment | Read more

DOJ Gives $4M in Grants to Law Enforcement for Piracy Fight

October 1, 2010 -

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:

5 comments | Read more

Your Tax Dollars at Work: FBI Battles Wikipedia over Logo

August 3, 2010 -

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."

7 comments | Read more

MSFT Criminal Compliance Handbook Leaked

February 24, 2010 -

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.

12 comments

Organizers Expecting Arrests at Army Experience Center Protest

August 25, 2009 -

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.

23 comments

13 Arrested After Chinese Teen Is Killed at Internet Addiction Camp

August 10, 2009 -

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...

21 comments

Feds Bust California College Student for Modding Consoles

August 4, 2009 -

A 27-year-old college student arrested yesterday by federal agents is charged with modding video game consoles.

Matthew Lloyd Crippen, who attends Cal State Fullerton, was charged with tweaking systems from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. The arrest was made by agents of the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), reports NBC Los Angeles.

Modifying consoles to circumvent video game copyright protection measures is a federal offense under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The investigation into Crippen's activities came following a complaint by the Entertainment Software Association; the trade group lobbies on behalf of U.S. video game publishers.

Special Agent in Charge Robert Schoch, who heads the ICE office in L.A. commented on the bust:

Playing with games in this way is not a game -- it is criminal. Piracy, counterfeiting and other intellectual property rights violations not only cost U.S. businesses jobs and billions of dollars a year in lost revenue, they can also pose significant health and safety risks to consumers.

95 comments

7 Years in Jail for Teen; Prosecutors Say "Door Checking" Assault Inspired by GTA

July 24, 2009 -

An 18-year-old Maryland man is heading to jail for seven years for a crime which prosecutors allege was inspired by Grand Theft Auto.

Hometown Annapolis reports that Nathan Wade Hartley, Jr. "door checked" two young brothers last August. Hartley, who had three friends in his car at the time, drove at the boys (ages 11 and 15), striking one by opening the driver's door of his Honda Civic and hitting the other with the front end of his car. The boys were critically injured in the assault.

Deputy State's Attorney John Mark McDonald commented on the case:

This was particularly disturbing... It just makes me worry about what he will do in the future... The only reason these kids are alive is luck or grace or whatever you want to call it.

Maryland radio station WTOP-FM has more:

A teenager is headed to prison for what prosecutors say was a senseless crime inspired by a video game.

 

In the popular game "Grand Theft Auto," players drive virtual cars and intentionally hit pedestrians by smacking them with open car doors. It's called "door checking," and prosecutors say 18-year-old Nathan Hartley decided to try it with a real car last summer.

GP: Is "door checking" possible in GTA? I'm having trouble locating any videos depicting it...

UPDATE: PS3 Attitude spoke to prosecutor McDonald, who denied linking the crime to GTA:

The suggestion came through the Defendant. I have never seen Grand Theft Auto, and had never heard of ‘door-checking’ until this case. It was a defense he set forth in attempting to waive his case back to the juvenile court. The State did not introduce the game into the prosecution of this case. It added nothing. My comments on the game were to rebut his reasoning for doing what he did.

I did not suggest that the game was to blame for his conduct, and would not. The blame lies entirely with Nathan Hartley. I stated as much in court. As I indicated, I have never even seen the game and I was not passing any judgment on the game. I was simply arguing why I felt his justification was not valid.

GamePolitics was in touch with Hometown Annapolis reporter Scott Daugherty, whose original article seemed to suggest that prosecutor McDonald make the GTA link to the crime. Here's what Daugherty told us:

It's been awhile since I've played GTA and the prosecutor has never seen the game. According to the prosecutor, Hartley's defense attorney referenced GTA in court as a defense... I guess the old, "it's not my fault, the video games made me do it," defense.

 

While I don't recall being able to specifically door check someone in GTA Vice City (the last one played), I do remember clipping pedestrians as I drove down the sidewalk. If you hit one they would fly off to the side.
 
That is the best I can offer.

Gambling or a Video Game? Nebraska Struggles with Tavern Machines

July 20, 2009 -

Here on GamePolitics we have - by design - ignored issues relating to electronic gambling games.

That's because, as a form of entertainment, video games are quite distinct from gambling. But that line may be blurred a bit by a new generation of tavern games which appear to require video game-like skills to win, rather than mere luck.

The Omaha World-Herald reports on one such game, a billiards affair called Bank Shot. While games of chance are considered illegal gambling under laws in Nebraska and many other states, Bank Shot seems to require skill:

The makers of the machine [say] that it is a game of skill that is no different from a game of Trivial Pursuit or a dart tournament sponsored by a bar or tavern. They also argue that the video game was carefully constructed to comply with Nebraska law...

The difficulty for law enforcement is in determining when a game requires more chance than skill, or more skill than chance.

Players can bet from $0.25 to $4 per game. To date, the largest jackpot has been $17,000:

The game centers on nine pool balls arranged in a grid formation. The player pushes a button that starts the balls flashing quickly in various formations. The player then pushes “stop” on a particular pattern, which helps to determine whether or not a player wins.

There are 30,000 patterns of pool balls built into the game. About 27 patterns flash in a given minute... players become more skillful at spotting the winning patterns after playing the game for a period of time...

Nebraska law enforcement officials are hoping that the state legislature will provide guidance on the issue.

24 comments

Is Possessing RapeLay a Federal Crime in the United States?

June 19, 2009 -

Much has been written about RapeLay since the controversial Hentai game was discovered for sale on Amazon a few months back.

But while the debate thus far has largely centered around whether Japan, where RapeLay and most similar titles originate, should allow games featuring sexual violence to be published, a recent court ruling suggests that U.S. citizens who possess RapeLay and games of its ilk may be guilty of a federal offense.

Wired's Threat Level blog reports that on Monday the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to consider the appeal of Dwight Whorley, a Virginia man who was convicted in U.S. District Court of possessing actual kiddie porn. But, under what is known as the 2003 Protect Act, prosecutors also charged Whorley with possessing manga which depicted minors having explicit sex. From the relevant section of the Protect Act:

Any person who... knowingly possesses a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that—

 

(1) (A) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and

(B) is obscene; or

(2) (A) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; and

(B) lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value... shall be subject to the penalties provided...

(c) Nonrequired Element of Offense.— It is not a required element of any offense under this section that the minor depicted actually exist.

Threat Level also cites a similar conviction against Christopher Handley, a comic book collector who imported sexually explicit manga containing illustrations of child sex abuse and bestiality. Unlike Whorley, Handley possessed no actual child pornography.

So how does this connect to the RapeLay situation? A [NSFW] review of the game posted on Something Awful describes graphic, forced sex with a mother and her two minor daughters, the youngest of whom appears to be about ten years old. Save for the fact that it's interactive, RapeLay is not much different from the type of hardcore manga which earned federal time for Whorley and Handley.

We should note that a single judge on the 4th Circuit dissented from the opinion upholding Whorley's conviction and urged that the case be sent to the U.S. Supreme Court. But for now, at least, owning a copy of RapeLay seems like a risky legal proposition, indeed.

111 comments

Halo 3 Teen Killer Gets Life in Murder of Mom... Parole in 23 Years

June 16, 2009 -

Daniel Petric, who shot his mother to death and badly wounded his father after they banned him from playing Halo 3 in a 2007 incident, has been sentenced to life in prison by an Ohio judge. Under the terms of the sentence, Petric will be eligible for parole in 23 years.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that an emotional Petric  (left) tried to address the court but was unable to speak.

While delivering his verdict in the case in January, Judge James Burge seemed to blame violent video games:

This Court's opinion is that we don't know enough about these video games...

 

It's my firm belief that after a while the same physiological responses occur that occur in the ingestion of some drugs. And I believe that an addiction to these games can do the same thing...

 

The other dangerous thing about these games, in my opinion, is that when these changes occur, they occur in an environment that is delusional. Because you can shoot these aliens, and they're there again the next day. You have to shoot them again. And I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea, at the time he hatched this plot, that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever.

See our story from earlier today for more background on the case.

58 comments

Teen Halo 3 Gamer to be Sentenced For Murder of Mom

June 16, 2009 -

Daniel Petric, the Ohio teen convicted of killing his mother and severly wounding his father after his parents banned him from playing Halo 3 in 2007, will be sentenced later today, reports local news station Fox 28.

The case bears watching because Judge James Burge, who presided over Petric's trial and will hand down the sentence, was quite critical of video games in comments delivered from the bench at the time of the verdict. As GamePolitics reported in January, Judge Burge said: 

This Court's opinion is that we don't know enough about these video games. In this particular case, not so much the violence of the game because I believe in the Halo 3, what it amounts to is a contest to see who can shoot the most aliens who attack.

 

It's my firm belief that after a while the same physiological responses occur that occur in the ingestion of some drugs. And I believe that an addiction to these games can do the same thing...

 

The other dangerous thing about these games, in my opinion, is that when these changes occur, they occur in an environment that is delusional. Because you can shoot these aliens, and they're there again the next day. You have to shoot them again. And I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea, at the time he hatched this plot, that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever.

During the trial, Petric's attorney argued that the teen should be found not guilty by reason of insanity due to what was termed a claimed obsession with Halo 3.

26 comments

British Prison Bans PS3 Over WiFi Capability - UPDATED

June 15, 2009 -

The subject of game consoles in prisons is invariably a controversial one.

Some think that convicts don't deserve what might be considered a luxury. Others believe the relaxation afforded by gaming might make prison a safer place.

But U.K. newspaper The Guardian reports that officials at Britain's Rye Hill prison have removed PlayStations 3s from the inmate population over fears that prisoners will use the system's built-in WiFi capability to communicate with those on the outside. A prison official told The Guardian:

PlayStation 3 consoles are barred on the grounds that they have the capability to send and receive radio signals as an integral part of the equipment.

Some inmates were said to be chatting with friends. No information is provided on how those inmates obtained access to a WiFi signal, which might seem to be at least as important an issue, if not more so.

GamePolitics readers may recall that a similar issue was raised last month by Britain's Serious Organized Crime Agency.

UPDATE: IncGamers contacted the British Ministry of Justice and learned that Internet-capable consoles are already banned. This is not the first time that there has been confusion in the U.K. on this issue.

33 comments

Second Life's Virtual Meth Lab Will Help Train Police

June 10, 2009 -

While Second Life has many uses, law enforcement training has not historically been among them. But that may be changing.

New World Notes reports that consultant Fred Fuchs, who goes by Gus Plisskin in Second Life, designed a virtual meth lab to help cops recognize when they've stumbled upon the real thing. Such labs are not only illegal, they're extremegly dangerous as well.

Said Fuchs/Plisskin of his virtual meth lab project:

We hope to encourage use of SL for training law enforcement and social workers. We found that a walk-thru helped other types of clients think about ways they could use SL... Accuracy in simulations is 'my thing'.

5 comments

Trade Used Games in Florida, Get Thumbprinted

May 29, 2009 -

If you want to trade in your used games in Broward County, Florida, prepare to give up your thumbprint.

The Broward-Palm Beach New Times reports that the local sheriff's office began requiring game traders to submit to thumbprinting in October, 2008:

Broward County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kayla Concepcion said the new requirement comes straight from the Florida Legislature, which enacted a law... that treated video games like second-hand goods sold at pawn shops. Now any store buying used video games has to collect the thumb prints, along with a bunch of other personal info about the seller.

Jack Thompson Threatens Entire Utah Legislature with Prosecution

May 26, 2009 -

It has been more than a month since Gov. Jon Huntsman vetoed Jack Thompson's video game bill, but the disbarred attorney continues to wage an e-mail war with various Utah government officials. In his latest and most bizarre salvo, Thompson has threatened to have the entire Utah legislature - all 104 House and Senate members - prosecuted by the F.B.I. for violating his civil rights.

GamePolitics readers will recall that in April State Senate President Michael Waddoups asked Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (another favorite target of Thompson's vitriol) to look into prosecuting Thompson for alleged spam. The Senate President was offended by an Easter morning e-mail from Thompson which included a screenshot of a pair of strippers giving GTA IV protagonist Nico Bellic a lap dance. Last week Thompson wrote to the F.B.I.'s Salt Lake City Field Office seeking the prosecution of Waddoups for supposedly infringing on his right to petition the government.

An e-mail circulated by Thompson on Sunday indicates that a second legislator, Rep. Curtis Oda, apparently took objection to the anti-game activist's messages (we haven't seen Oda's e-mail to Thompson). Thompson responded with his threat to prosecute the Utah legislature:

If I get one more threat of criminal prosecution for sending you all proof, as I have, that pornographic video games are being sold to children in Utah because of the willful refusal of your Attorney General to enforce your state's pornography laws, then I will add ALL of you to the sworn criminal complaint now in the hands of the FBI in Salt Lake City.  You will be identified as co-conspirators to violate 18 USC 241 and 242...

Maybe the real problem here is that Utah, as a recent study proves, leads the nation in consumption of on-line porn.  Maybe some among you are into this stuff, and you feel threatened...

I'm not going to put up with it.  I've taken down some of the largest pornographers in the world.  Taking down your legislature will be a piece of cake by comparison.

GP: This year's near-success marked Thompson's third attempt at game legislation in the Utah legislature. However, following the disbarred attorney's spectacular display of bridge burning following Gov. Huntsman's veto, we don't advise holding your breath waiting for a fourth Thompson appearance in the Beehive State.

193 comments

Boston Police Promise to Report Zombie Attacks

May 21, 2009 -

If you've been up all night playing Resident Evil 5 and you're a little freaked out by the experience and you happen to live in Boston, fear not; the local constabulary has your back. The Boston Police Department has vowed to alert the public to any and all zombie attacks.

That reassuring news comes by way TruTV's Dumb as a Blog, which chronicles an exchange of tweets between @Boston_Police and another Twitter user. Here's how it went down:

Boston_Police:  INJURED OFFICER: Officer from district 4 transported to Beth Israel Hospital, human bite to arm, suspect in custody.

willcady:  @Boston_Police if that was a zombie bite, would you tell us?

Boston_Police:   @willcady Yes, absolutely

Via: The Consumerist

15 comments

FBI Investigates Second Life, But in a Good Way

May 20, 2009 -

The feds are coming to Second Life, but it's not a raid.

Virtual Worlds News reports that the FBI is establishing an SL presence for the purposes of recruiting, accepting crime complaints and publicizing wanted felons. The agency is describing its venture into the SL metaverse as a "pilot test."

Jonathan Cox, a management analyst who spearheaded the FBI's Second Life foray, commented:

Unlike 10 years ago, almost everyone today has had an experience connecting online through virtual media, whether through a gaming console or popular sites like Second Life. The ease at which information can be transferred, ideas can be exposed, and technology can be shared in virtual worlds will hopefully lead to the arrest of a fugitive or the location of a missing child in the near future.

In addition to SL, the FBI outlines it use of other forms of social media here.

10 comments

Bomberman Graphic is a Threat to Nazis, Say German Authorities

May 14, 2009 -

Bomberman and Nazis - how often do you see those two in the same headline?

Negative Gamer reports that a former German politician, Martin Budich, has been arrested for allegedly invoking violence against Nazis via the well-known video game character.

Budich, who opposes the Nazi agenda (good for him), apparently took his fervor a bit too far by exhibiting the protest poster at left on a website. The image shows Bomberman holding a cake with a burning fuse serving as the candle. The text translates to “No cake walk for Nazis.”

According to Negative Gamer's interpretation of a Heise report, Budich's posting of the Bomberman graphic has been blamed by prosecutors for contributing to an "aggressive atmosphere" at an anti-Nazi demonstration in Bochum last October.

This wasn't Budich's first bust on such charges. He apparently has an earlier conviction in a similar case (sans video game characters).

Via: Destructoid

133 comments

Are Jailed Crime Bosses Controlling Empires Via Game Consoles?

May 14, 2009 -

The debate over whether prison inmates should be allowed video game consoles is one that surfaces periodically.

But the head of Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency offered a new twist this week when SOCA director-general Bill Hughes claimed that jailed crime lords were controlling their illicit empires via Internet-enabled video game consoles. U.K. newspaper the Times reported Hughes's comments:

If you are locked up, how do you communicate with others? And we have been highlighting the fact it is not always with mobile telephones. There is other technology used — people are using PlayStations to charge their mobile phones and are playing games interactively with others, so are able to communicate with them.

The Prison Service is concerned that prisoners are using interactive games to talk to people outside the prison. Communication is the name of the game and criminals are looking to exploit new technologies. Prisoners have rights and they have access to the internet...

U.K. prison officials, however, expressed outrage over Hughes's remarks, which apparently caught them off-guard. A spokesman for the Prison Service told the Times:

Prisoners have never been allowed access to wireless enabled technology such as that used in some games consoles. Nor would they ever be allowed access to such technology.

A decision was taken some years ago that the then-current generation of games consoles should be barred because the capability to send or receive radio signals is an integral part of the equipment.

Although the Times mentions that SOCA chief Hughes later apologized privately to prison boss Phil Wheatley, the newspaper also reports that SOCA is standing by its original claim.

As GamePolitics has previously reported, U.K. prisons allow inmates with good behavior to use game consoles. Potentially suicidal inmates are also permitted to play.

Via: Kotaku

62 comments

Texas Bill Requires Sex Offenders to Register Online Game Names, Could Ban Them Completely from Game Venues

May 6, 2009 -

A bill under consideration by the Texas House of Representatives may require convicted sex offenders to register account names at online gaming networks with law enforcement authorities.

As HB 22 is currently written, the measure would seem to encompass online gaming venues such as Xbox Live, PlayStation Home and Second Life. However, no specific reference to online gaming appears in the bill, which has cleared committee but has not yet been taken up on the House floor.

In fact, a stricter interpretation of HB22 might preclude sex offenders from places like XBL and SL entirely. That's because the bill bars sex offenders from using the Internet to access commercial social networking sites. Such a prohibition which might reasonably be extended to encompass the increasingly prominent social aspects of online gaming venues.

With an increasing number of pedophile arrests stemming from contacts made via online gaming venues, expect to see more bills like this going forward.

At this point, HB 22 has passed neither the Texas House or Senate. Its next stop will be the House floor. If it passes there, the Senate will take it under consideration.

Via: G4 by way of GameCulture

49 comments

Honolulu Bans Cell Phones, Game Playing While Driving

May 5, 2009 -

Gaming while driving will earn you a ticket in Honolulu soon.

The Star-Times reports that on Thursday Mayor Mufi Hannemann will sign into law a bill that bans the use of all portable electronic devices by motorists. The measure, recently passed by City Council, contains an exception for hands-free devices.

Earlier this year Mayor Hannemann, acting on the advice of his police chief, vetoed a similar bill which would have made texting - but not general mobile phone use - illegal while driving.

36 comments

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Is King right? Should all games adopt the free-to-play model?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
Matthew WilsonSF have to build upwards they have natural growth limits. they can not grow outwards. ps growing outwards is terable just look at Orlando or Austin for that.04/16/2014 - 4:15pm
ZippyDSMleeIf they built upward then it would becoem like every other place making it worthless, if they don't build upward they will price people out making it worthless, what they need to do is a mix of things not just one exstreme or another.04/16/2014 - 4:00pm
Matthew Wilsonyou know the problem in SF was not the free market going wrong right? it was government distortion. by not allowing tall buildings to be build they limited supply. that is not free market.04/16/2014 - 3:48pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician