If you followed our World of Warcraft (WoW) news last year, you might have spotted a story one of our writers spotted about the U.S. Government searching for terrorist in WoW. Little did I expect when sifting through today's news stories that I would actually find a story to make me think about that. Game Politics picked up on a news story from Computerworld earlier today, which details a March 30th FBI raid on the apartment of two University of Michigan students. According to the report, the FBI raided the apartment following the "potentially fraudulent sell or purchases of virtual goods" in WoW.
The two students, who share an apartment in Ann Arbor, claim that the FBI has the wrong people because neither of them plays WoW. The FBI reportedly seized "laptop computers, hard drives, video game systems, credit cards, a cell phone, paperwork and other computer equipment" belonging to the two during the investigation. Agents were reportedly investigating online transaction records associated with eBay, Paypal the united Services Automobile Association and Chinese gold-farming website GameUSD.
Computerworld explored the topic further, noting that a Canadian study, Botnet Analysis Report, explores the darker side of online gaming, where terrorists have begun using the gold seller trade to fund real-world terrorism and in-game chats have even been used for espionage. This doesn't necessarily mean that the FBI believes that terrorists are involved in this instance and there is no mention of it in the Ann Arbor report. Still, you might want to give the Computerworld report a read. You might be surprised at just how closely your own online gaming habits are monitored by Big Brother.
Hopefully these two haven't done anything wrong, but I will say a quote from one of the students would indicate that they may have at least played online games at some point. That or this quote is just truly ironic.
"They thought we were involved in some kind of fraud. I'm pretty sure they have the wrong people, but they took all my stuff."
Proving one thing - Uncle Sam doesn't ask if he can have your stuff.
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