Paul NyhartcloseAuthor: Paul Nyhart
Name: Paul Nyhart
About: Paul Nyhart has been the Head Editor and Writer of JaceHallShow.com since Season 3. He began his career as a sports announcer, segueing into the world of voice-over and film production. Send all tips to Paul@HDfilms.comSee Authors Posts (394)
Written by Paul Nyhart
Apparently the government feels like going after the content of video games isn’t enough…now they want to go after gamers, themselves.
FBI agents recently raided an apartment in Ann Arbor, Michigan where the residents are being accused of gold farming (often mentioned with “powerleveling), which The World Bank Groups InfoDev arm describes both as:
Services where an online game player hires someone else to play the game on their behalf. They do this in order to obtain the virtual rewards of the play without having to spend the time and effort.
Otherwise known to gamers as…cheating…or the black market’s answer to the game genie.
It’s believed that the “gold farming allegations” are linked to terrorist activity. FBI Special agent said she couldn’t talk about the matter in detail because many of the documents remained sealed.
The residents were even more clueless, as they were quoted as saying:
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.
We’ve seen this before, go back three years ago when the CIA began The Reynard Project, which was created to: “identify emerging social, behavioral and cultural norms in virtual worlds and gaming environments. The project would then apply the lessons learned to determine the feasibility of automatically detecting suspicious behavior and actions in the virtual world.”
But that’s not all…books are even taking the “concept” for a spin. MMORPG: How a computer game becomes deadly serious wonders…what if terrorists abused virtual worlds to elude any possible electronic surveillance by intelligence agencies (it’s fictional btw).
The book, which it should be noted was self-published through CreateSpace (no actual publisher wanted it I guess) was released just days after the raid on the Ann Arbor students…good timing, huh?
Much of the story has been made around the boys being possibly involved in Gold Farming, which is a huge global industry, yet a remarkably insular one. Ninety-Eight cents of every dollar made from gold farming stays in the nation where the work was done. The federal government can’t feel comfortable about that for two reasons: 1) They’re probably having a heck of a time trying to tax it and 2) Not entirely sure what the money is being used for nor where it’s going (assuming that’s why raids like this are taking place).
The fact that WOW players can organize, recruit, and build groups on a global level is a threat to a government trying to track every word of every conversation that goes on in the world. But what that’s saying is that all communication must be clear, known, and easily translated for the government to understand. The Feds realize that there are over 12 million people communicating in WOW alone, let alone all MMORPG’s and online games, which by their very nature, aren’t entirely keen on exposure. If that’s the case, than the only message raids like this could hypothetically make would be “we can’t hear you but we know you’re out there…”
With the Reynard Project meant to target gamer’s behavior, surely we can also expect to see more government officials playing WOW from now on (in other words be prepared for more n00bs that suck). That might be the greatest threat of all….
What’s your feeling on the issue? Do you think your apartment is next to be raided or that this is a serious threat that shouldn’t be understated? Do you sometimes feel that someone is spying on you when you’re playing video games, tell us your interesting stories or what you’ve experienced while playing online.
Post By Paul Nyhart (394 Posts)
Paul Nyhart has been the Head Editor and Writer of JaceHallShow.com since Season 3. He began his career as a sports announcer, segueing into the world of voice-over and film production. Send all tips to Paul@HDfilms.com
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