More Lawmakers Want Answers From Sony

May 2, 2011 -

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.

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Report: FBI, FTC, 22 AG's Looking into PSN Security Breach

April 28, 2011 -

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.

12 comments | Read more

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.

8 comments | Read more

ITIF's Daniel Castro on the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

April 1, 2011 -

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:

Oregon Man Collared By Console He Stole

April 1, 2011 -

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.

4 comments | Read more

Anti-Piracy Group Helps Nab 'Major Pirate'

March 9, 2011 -

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.

6 comments | Read more

Saudi Man Accused of Targeting Former President Pegged as a 'Gamer'

February 26, 2011 -

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.

6 comments | Read more

Australian Court: ISPs are not Copyright Police

February 24, 2011 -

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.

1 comment | Read more

Texas Law Enforcement Complain About Call of Juarez: The Cartel

February 13, 2011 -

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:

10 comments | Read more

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

94 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.

110 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

 
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Neo_DrKefkaI was called a traitor for speaking out on harassment and I was put on a list for people on twitter to mass report me. Only GamerGate site that has come out of this that has been reputable would be TechRaptor. 2/210/25/2014 - 7:09pm
Neo_DrKefka@Neeneko The reason why I ended my support of #GamerGate was the fact KingofPol (The guy who was sent the knife) ended up saying crap about those with autism. At this point I confronted the community and some big wig writers on the #GamerGate side. 1/210/25/2014 - 7:08pm
NeenekoIt would also mean they have to confront that the sites already mostly cater to them and wiping that small percentage of otherness just does not justify new sites.10/25/2014 - 6:55pm
Neeneko@ quiknkold - problem is it has never been about freedom, it is about dominance, ownership, and priviliage. women and minorities should be the ones leaving and creating their own spaces, not them!10/25/2014 - 6:54pm
Neo_DrKefka@Mecha I hear you about KingofPol this is a guy who is using GamerGate to boost his career. Most of his streams are crap about him talking about him being drunk. What happened to him was wrong but it doesn't change the fact he has instigated much of this10/25/2014 - 5:40pm
Craig R.And I'll be perfectly happy in never seeing the phrase 'false flag' ever again, as it is one of the worst notions to ever come out of the camp of the tinfoil brigade that is already completely overused.10/25/2014 - 3:50pm
Craig R.Gone for a week and come back to find GG didn't go away at all. Dammit.10/25/2014 - 3:48pm
Matthew Wilsonif they were serious, they would go to youtube. most youtube game reviewers tend to revew games as product, and tend leave social issues out of it.10/25/2014 - 1:42pm
quiknkoldif the gamergaters were serious, they'd realize that Kotaku and Polygon arent the only games in town, and that with the freedom of the internet, they could create their own websites and achieve the goals they are trying to achieve without arguement.10/25/2014 - 1:35pm
james_fudgehe should have called the police.10/25/2014 - 1:20pm
TechnogeekAt least my statement still holds if it does turn out to be a false flag.10/25/2014 - 1:03pm
NeenekoThough I admit, since doxxing and false flag where heavily used tactics of the GG supporters, while they are not historical tactics used by detractors, I am skeptical how much it is really 'both sides' doing it in any real volume.10/25/2014 - 1:01pm
NeenekoOne thing that makes all of this messy is 'false flag' is a serious concern here. It does not help that the original GG instigators were also known for doing elaborate false flags to discredit feminism themselves.10/25/2014 - 12:59pm
MechaCrashThe guy who got the knife is the one who advocated doxxing, by the way, and was getting court documents about Zoe Quinn so he could publicly post them. It doesn't make what happened to him right, but he deserves no sympathy.10/25/2014 - 12:42pm
TechnogeekNo, that's a pretty shitty thing to do and I fully support the responsible parties getting a visit from the relevant legal authorities.10/25/2014 - 12:17pm
Neo_DrKefkaSomeone anyone tell me how two wrongs somehow make a right? This is becoming exhausting and both sides are out of there minds!10/25/2014 - 11:40am
Neo_DrKefkaSo two GamerGate supporters received a knife and syringe in the mail today. The same GamerGate supporters who said how awful it was were seen in other tweets gathering lists and sending our similar threats or harassment to shut down the other side....10/25/2014 - 11:36am
NeenekoJust look at how interviews are handled. Media tends to pit someone who is at best a journalist, but usually entertainer, against an expert, and it is presented and percieved as if they are equals.10/25/2014 - 7:38am
Neeneko@MC - Focusing on perpetrator does nothing for prevention, the media and public lack the domain knowledge and event details to draw any useful conclusions. All we get are armchair risk experts.10/25/2014 - 7:36am
Neeneko@AE - no name or picture, I like it.10/25/2014 - 7:34am
 

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