Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Games

Man Tracked Down and Arrested Via WoW 464

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-bubble-hearth dept.
kabome writes with this excerpt from a story about an alleged drug dealer who was located by law enforcement thanks to World of Warcraft: "Roberson’s subpoena was nothing more than a politely worded request, considering the limits of his law enforcement jurisdiction and the ambiguity of the online world. 'They don’t have to respond to us, and I was under the assumption that they wouldn’t,' said Roberson. ... Blizzard did more than cooperate. It gave Roberson everything he needed to track down Hightower, including his IP address, his account information and history, his billing address, and even his online screen name and preferred server. From there it was a simple matter to zero in on the suspect's location."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Man Tracked Down and Arrested Via WoW

Comments Filter:
  • conundrum (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sporkinum (655143) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:14AM (#30620224)

    Not sure what is worse, the dealer, or Blizzard. I'd hazard a guess that Blizzard has ruined more lives than this dealer has. Though the cops will word a request to sound like a subpoena to the uninitiated.

    • Re:conundrum (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:18AM (#30620238)

      Is this even a question? Blizzard is the greater evil for bowing down to law enforcement unnecessarily. This guy isn't a robber or murderer. I suppose that defending a drug dealer's privacy wouldn't be good PR but I don't think there is much question that the "War on Drugs" has ruined far more lives than Blizzard and the drug dealer combined.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phantomfive (622387)
        Giving information to law enforcement is not "bowing down." The police are working for us, they are our employees. I know this is a hard concept for some people to grasp, since from the time you are a kid the 'authorities,' who at that time are your parents, are always preventing you from doing what you want, but the fact is police are agents of society, they are not our enemies, they do the job we give them. You of course know that police would stop arresting people for doing drugs as soon as we make sel
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          A man with a gun who is paid to try to lock me in cage for smoking taboo plants is *not* on my side or working for me in any capacity, turd-chomper. Now go kill yourself.
        • Re:conundrum (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:10AM (#30620482)

          I dislike the way that you talk about good and evil, as if you have some absolute ethical system to base this on. I think it would be easier to understand if you tried to argue whether or not the actions of Blizzard and the police were moral acts or not. I would also include in your argument whether or not Blizzard or the police lost anything of moral value with their actions.

          Your argument on the morality of the police's actions (and cooperating with them) is flawed because you base that morality on the morality of the general public and their laws as if they are infallible. Additionally, you need to evaluate each act of cooperation individually. If Blizzard volunteered information that lead a peaceful Chinese dissident to be arrested, most people would think that would be immoral. On the other hand, if Blizzard volunteered information that lead a child pornographer to be arrested, most people would think that would be moral. Still others would view both as immoral because Blizzard should have an inherent duty to protect information and our system already provides a mechanism (a warrant) to get that information when it is needed.

          My view is the later, and I also view our laws on drugs as immoral. Cooperating with police with observations is one thing, mining your data is another. I think it is immoral to release protected information about someone without a warrant.

          • Re:conundrum (Score:4, Insightful)

            by ildon (413912) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @06:53AM (#30621102)

            Your post would have made sense if he hadn't appended "but evil is very often no more than an opinion." to his first paragraph. The poster was purposefully defining evil in his own way, and extending it beyond what one might normally consider worthy of the label of "evil", because that's exactly what the post he was replying to did.

            A simple reading of Blizzard's own privacy policy, which you agree to by using their service, is all that is necessary to know if they overstepped their bounds or not.

            I haven't read it because I don't care and it's irrelevant to my point. Blizzard has no inherent responsibility to ensure their users' privacy beyond their stated intentions. Nor does any other company. At least some of the onus is on the users to control their own private data. If a company says "if the law comes calling, we will cooperate" and you still agree to give them your information (and as long as this policy is publicly posted before agreeing to share said information), that's on you, not the company.

          • Re:conundrum (Score:5, Insightful)

            by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:17AM (#30621446) Homepage

            Your argument on the morality of the police's actions (and cooperating with them) is flawed because you base that morality on the morality of the general public and their laws as if they are infallible. Additionally, you need to evaluate each act of cooperation individually. If Blizzard volunteered information that lead a peaceful Chinese dissident to be arrested, most people would think that would be immoral. On the other hand, if Blizzard volunteered information that lead a child pornographer to be arrested, most people would think that would be moral. Still others would view both as immoral because Blizzard should have an inherent duty to protect information and our system already provides a mechanism (a warrant) to get that information when it is needed.

            Your argument only makes sense if you assume that your own morality beats out the morality of our laws, and consistently does so. If that were true, surely you could provide examples of this. How you in your daily life violate the law, go to jail for it, and still have better morality than everyone else. Surely you can provide a few examples of YOU doing this if this is true ... You demand perfect moral behavior from the police, so surely you'll understand that as you try to do some law-enforcement of your own, I demand the same perfect moral standard from you. Needless to say, you fail (as we all do).

            I don't understand how people can seriously demand this perfect morality from so many organisations. From the police, to congress, the army, (the UN has consistently failed to uphold every moral standard in existence, so people stopped expecting them to, it seems. UN soldiers get to rape, or kill Israelis through stupidity or outright malice, without reprecussions in New York)

            Furthermore even if you were a martyr-knight-saint, justification for your opinion would not just require that you're such a saint, but that sufficiently large numbers of people (ie. nearly all) have such saintly better-than-our-laws behavior. Sufficiently large numbers meaning so large that most criminals would be caught, most crimes prevented, not by the law, but by normal citizens.

            Obviously this is not happening. That makes, imho, the moral thing to do becomes cooperation with the authorities, in all cases, even when you're not sure about the morality of their actions.

            To be a good moral guardian, the law/police/... does not need to be perfect. It needs to be better than average. It needs to catch more criminals that John Q. Public does. It needs to prevent more crimes than an average very, very non-special American does.

            And quite frankly, I have little illusions about the morality of the police force. But I am absolutely convinced they do better than you.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by negRo_slim (636783)
          yeah doing the job we give them includes tazering the fuck out anyone from the kids to the feeble

          we give them orders but positions of authority pervert thinking.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment [wikipedia.org]
          • by mwvdlee (775178)

            It's "Power corrupts" as usual, and it's true for any amount of power.

        • Re:conundrum (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:14AM (#30620502)

          You raise good points but you discount the fact that police forces are only a necessary evil of a modern society. Police are in theory there to "protect citizens" - but often times in practice the goal of protecting citizens puts them at odds against citizen's rights.

          In a perfect "police" world the police would know everything about you and be able to monitor everything that you do. Then they could perfectly catch criminal acts. Is this an idyllic situation? No - because we do not live in a perfect world and because police are not perfect (especially considering that the police actively discriminate against intelligence [ananova.com]).

          There is a reason why the constitution outlines a good deal of protections against the police. Police left unfettered will continue to grow in influence and power and intrude further into citizen's lives. It is a fine balance between accounting for the marginal increase in personal liberties as a result of police stopping the intrusion of liberties of an individual committing a crime and the marginal loss of personal liberties from the police having the tools to stop the aforementioned crime.

          In regards to the "majority of people" wanting drugs to be illegal - when you create a positive feedback loop of turning drug users into criminals it makes it relatively difficult to break the cycle. The majority of people in this country are against gay marriage as well: does this mean that gay marriage should be illegal? There is a reason that the United States is a Republic and not a pure democracy. In the words of Alexander Hamilton - the masses are asses. Irrational fears often overcome rational deduction. All you have to do is look at segregation, Japanese internment camps, and the Salem Witch Trials to realize that majority rule is not always the right way to go about deciding things in emotionally charged and sensitive matters.

          • by Etcetera (14711)

            The majority of people in this country are against gay marriage as well: does this mean that gay marriage should be illegal^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H not be legalized.

            There... fixed that for ya.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by glitch23 (557124)

            In regards to the "majority of people" wanting drugs to be illegal - when you create a positive feedback loop of turning drug users into criminals it makes it relatively difficult to break the cycle. The majority of people in this country are against gay marriage as well: does this mean that gay marriage should be illegal?

            Many laws are the result of societal standards and morals imposed hundreds of years ago (and reflect the religious underpinnings of the United States). In many states adultery is still on the books as being illegal but as societal standards and morals are lowered and because there are bigger criminals to go after the police just don't pay attention to adulterers anymore. The vast majority of the population is against murder (should it be legalized despite majority rule?). Not killing someone is also one of

            • Maybe you should do homework to find out all the different situations in which majority rule *was* the right way to go instead of choosing only 3 examples of when majority rule did not make sense.

              You want him to do your homework? And we are supposed to take you seriously after that?

            • Most of those who voted against legalizing it did so based on their beliefs and faith. Homosexuals complain heterosexuals are not tolerant but homosexuals believe they should get their way and do not want to tolerate the decisions and beliefs of heterosexuals.

              But isn't the state supposed to be separate from the church? How can there be any non-religious argument against gay marriage?
              And why should homosexual bow down to the prejudice of heterosexual majority any more than black people should bow down to the prejudices of the white majority?

              And regarding your sig.. What is so bad about universal healthcare exactly? That it's socialist? Do you really have that much of an irrational fear of socialism that you reject anything associated with it? And who should pay f

        • this has little to do with the alleged crimes. if anything, they indicate to me that the guy wasn't really that bad. have you seen the kinds of things on those low schedules?

          regardless, this has to do with a company handing over personal information without the laws that govern that company saying they had to. ergo, bowing down.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          So let's see...

          The police are working for us, they are our employees.

          Not really relevant.

          they are not our enemies,

          Ok, let me put it this way: Both the district attourney and the public defender are agents of the state. So, even looking only at those employed directly by the State, we find people who are set up to be adversaries.

          Not literally enemies, no. If they're professional, they recognize that at the end of the day, they have the same goals, and they don't generally try to actually ruin each other's personal and professional lives out of spite and a desire to win.

          But when they hi

        • by houghi (78078)

          I would like criminals to be arrested as well. I do however favor my privacy and that of others more. That does not mean you should bnever give any information you have to the police. It means that if the police wants data from a company like an ISP or even a grocery to see who was on camera or a credit card company to see where a card was use, you use a process that is solid and can hold up in court.

          So use a court order. With the court order go to the company. And I mean a court order upfront, not somethin

        • by BrookHarty (9119)

          Oh bullshit. The police work for the majority, not the minority. This is the reason our constitution tries to protect our rights. We have had to fight the majority over slavery, domestic violence, interracial marriages, minority rights, gay rights, prohibition, etc.

          So again, If I'm in a minority group, the police work against me.
          That means, the police are my enemy, and yes, that can even mean, a real physical threat to me.

          The police work a horrible job, and their view becomes skewed over time, and if you

        • The police are working for us, they are our employees.

          That's why we expect them to perform their duties in accordance with the rules we set for them as a society. It hasn't been resolved yet whether or not we're willing to be subject to police surveillance when we sit down to play video games.

        • Except that he hasn't been convicted so your argument falls apart straight away. In addition, the police have a history of being, let's be generous and say, cavalier. Other ways of describing their behaviour might include untrustworthy and corrupt so i would be pretty upset at them handing over my personal data without a court order or similar. Fortunately in the EU we actually have data privacy laws and whilst Blizzard EU could still hand over my data I could at least sue them for it and have the authorit
      • by adisakp (705706)

        Is this even a question? Blizzard is the greater evil for bowing down to law enforcement unnecessarily. This guy isn't a robber or murderer. I suppose that defending a drug dealer's privacy wouldn't be good PR but I don't think there is much question that the "War on Drugs" has ruined far more lives than Blizzard and the drug dealer combined.

        Ummm, I'm pretty sure Blizzard was acting in their own self-interest. All it would take is a couple press releases saying Blizzard is sheltering drug dealers on WoW to have a ton of parents pulling their kids accounts.

    • If the drug use/video game playing is voluntary then I'd say it was the user who was ruining their own life. The law should have only got involved if there was fraud or general violence involved.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jkells (1004385)
      RTFA, he did get a subpoena. Due the jurisdiction and ambiguity of the online world they didn't have to respond to the subpoena, the subpoena was more of a polite request because they didn't have to co-operate with it.
      • by RobVB (1566105)

        It's not a subpoena [wikipedia.org] if you don't have to co-operate with it.

        A subpoena is a writ issued by a court that commands the presence of a witness to testify, under a penalty for failure.

  • Impropriety (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:19AM (#30620248) Homepage Journal

    One has to wonder, if Blizzard goes that far above and beyond requests of law enforcement and gives mountains of data in response to polite requests-- not even subpoenas-- how seriously do they take the privacy of *your* personal information?

    I'm glad the bad guy got caught, etc, but handing over the keys to the kingdom to law enforcement without a subpoena implies, in my mind, that respect for users' privacy is simply not something Blizzard considers when they go about their business. Or rather, that such information is their property, not yours.

    • Re:Impropriety (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:22AM (#30620270)

      I'm glad the bad guy got caught,

      Alleged bad guy. Even you, with your demonstrated skepticism, have been suckered in by the "if the cops want him, he must be guilty" mindset.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Especially when how they probably do things in China makes the american blizzard division look like a saint.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by Hurricane78 (562437)

        Exactly. I was once dragged out of a club by two giant bouncers, fully patted down and insulted by seven cops, because some new idiot bouncer who was a colleague of a bouncer friend of mine saw us exchange little pieces of paper (drink coupons) which he thought were drugs!

        One cop even, after he told be to turn my back pockets inside-out (not possible with jeans), himself grabbed in there, and came out with a small bag of drugs! The pockets were empty when I had the hands inside, about 5 seconds earlier!! So

    • you'd think they'd want a subpoena to cover their own butts in the event that the cops got it wrong and the guy sues them.
    • Re:Impropriety (Score:5, Informative)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:31AM (#30620298) Journal
      They were upfront about it: it's in the privacy policy [blizzard.com]. In general it says they won't give out your information to third parties without informing you, but they do make an exception for law enforcement:

      We reserve the right to disclose your personal information as required by law or in special cases when we have reason to believe that disclosing such information is necessary to identify, contact, or bring legal action against you if you are violating the Terms of Service or Use Agreements for a Blizzard site or product, or may be causing injury to or interference (intentionally or unintentionally) with Blizzard's rights or property, other users of a Blizzard site or product, or anyone else who could be harmed by your activities.

      They basically say if the police come, they'll have no problem giving up your information. I guess that is a problem for some people, but so far it doesn't bother me enough to make me stop playing.

      • Re:Impropriety (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:45AM (#30620352) Homepage Journal

        On a different note a guy who was fairly senior in a large ISP here told me that one of their subscribers send whattlooked like a suicide note over IRC. The person who spotted it got onto the ISP, who gave the billing address to the local police in that jurisdiction. They got there just in time.

      • by pete6677 (681676)

        Anyone who has a problem with this should simply not use their services. There is certainly no law that states a company cannot cooperate with police without a search warrant. Especially when they disclose this in their terms of service.

        • by thsths (31372)

          > There is certainly no law that states a company cannot cooperate with police without a search warrant.

          Maybe not in American, but here there certainly is :-).

        • Besides, killing real people doesn't leave a data trail, and is far more realistic. Why pay for the fake stuff that gets you busted!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by houghi (78078)

        In Belgium that could mean that the data was obtained illegally and the case could be thrown out. You need a court order to get privacy data, even if you are a cop and walk into the building. Well, especially if you are a cop, as you should know what the procedure was.

        Not only would it be possible to get the case thrown out, it would also be possible to sue the company for giving out personal information. There is a reason for this and even now it happens that in individual cases police abuse the knowledge

    • by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:42AM (#30620336) Homepage

      One has to wonder, if Blizzard goes that far above and beyond requests of law enforcement and gives mountains of data in response to polite requests-- not even subpoenas-- how seriously do they take the privacy of *your* personal information?

      Well, though people do tend to gloss over the fine details in things like EULAs and Terms of Service, it's not as if Blizzard is hiding anything from its users. From the WoW Terms of Use: [worldofwarcraft.com]

      C. Blizzard may, with or without notice to you, disclose your Internet Protocol (IP) address(es), personal information, Chat logs, and other information about you and your activities: (a) in response to a request by law enforcement, a court order or other legal process; or (b) if Blizzard believes that doing so may protect your safety or the safety of others.

      Blizzard gets a request from law enforcement, Blizzard hands over the info, simple as that. (And actually, if it were my company I'd probably have a similar policy. A "polite request" is just about the only contact I'd ever want to have with law enforcement, and the sooner they disappear from my life the better.)

    • Let’s find out. I’m assuming your Slashdot user name is also your WoW name, right? ^^

    • When you give your information away for the purposes of online gaming, no court in the world will consider it ANYONE'S property. It is effectively ABANDONED.

      See, any information of value cannot be offered in trust to anyone that isn't trustworthy, i.e. licensed by a relevant authority. If you submit your information to an unlicensed entity of any kind, you have submitted it to public domain. The "company privacy policy" only offers means for you to sue them if you catch them breaking the policy, which yo

  • by A12m0v (1315511)

    No need for invading our privacy.
    It's my body, I decide what to do with it!

    Plus, you'll get rid of the middleman, legalize drugs and there will be no need for dealers or drug gangs. The government WILL be the sole dealer of drugs, and due to economies of scales, they'll be able to sell them for far less than any dealer while making a good sum of money thanks to all the taxes.

  • obligatory (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:20AM (#30620260) Journal
    Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] did their thing about it.

    It kind of sucks for that guy, but basically if you don't like laws, you'll usually be better off trying to change them than run away. There's generally nothing unethical about helping the police find someone who's accused of committing a crime.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      There's generally nothing unethical about helping the police find someone who's accused of committing a crime.

      But this isn't the general case.

      This is a case where a company has violated the presumptive right to privacy of its customers in order to do so. That completely changes the situation.

      • Re:obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

        by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:41AM (#30620332) Journal
        They followed their privacy policy. The guy should have read it. This seems to be a surprise to you, so maybe you should have read it to, and if it bothers you, stop playing.
        • Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. The fact that you went off on a complete tangent instead of addressing the point that this is not the general case as you portrayed it just indicates that you are a bootlicker. You have no consistent idealogy other than kowtow to authoritae and when pressed on your rationalizations you can't support them and just make up new rationalizations to justify your bootlicking.

    • Re:obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

      by johncadengo (940343) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:14AM (#30620500) Homepage

      Funny. I found out about it on penny arcade way before slashdot posted it.

      And on another note, there are plenty of unethical instances of helping the police find someone accused of a crime. Just ask Anne Frank.

    • It kind of sucks for that guy, but basically if you don't like laws, you'll usually be better off trying to change them than run away.

      Sounds great... until you realize how some incredibly unjust laws are the result of a racist billionaire's self-serving propaganda campaign [drugwarrant.com], and even the president laughs off the wishes of the people! [luxamericana.com]

      How can one win such a battle? The game is loaded so that freedom is not allowed to win.

      I'm not religious, but I have to quote Saint Augustine here: "An unjust law is no law

    • by houghi (78078)

      To me giving out privacy related data is worse then whatever a person did. You know with all the 'innocent until proven guilty' stuff. Get a court order and I will happily give out any data that is written in the court order. If not, you are out of luck with me. And yes, I have been in positions where I had data that could lead to the arrest of a possible criminal. Get back with a court order! Oh, the court does not want to give that order? Then you don't need the data.

      To me the police is also not the same

      • To me giving out privacy related data is worse then whatever a person did.

        1. Your name and address are not "privacy related data".
        2. Giving out any really private data about a drug dealer is not worse than dealing drugs.

  • strange (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scapermoya (769847) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:21AM (#30620264) Homepage

    “I did a search off the IPaddress to locate him,” said Roberson. “I got a longitude and latitude. Then I went to Google Earth. It works wonders. It uses longitude and latitude. Boom! I had an address. I was not able to go streetside at the location, but I had him.”

    this doesn't seem accurate. ip address -> long/lat -> address? no chance. i can believe that they used his ip to find him, but probably through his ISP. In my experience, those geographic traces are only very rough estimates. sounds like this cop thinks he lives in CSI or something. i wonder if any of it is true?

    • Re:strange (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bmo (77928) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:01AM (#30620430)

      Some IP geolocation websites have the correct town I live in, but none had the correct street, and others, well, they put me on the opposite coast in San Diego.

      One in particular had a way to "correct" it. I submitted 383212N 684648E.

      Tajikistan.

      --
      BM0

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      He probably used this.

      http://bobsworthindustries.com/csi/enhance.html?image1=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.maptown.com%2Fimages%2Fntscanadafull.jpg&image2=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.delawareonline.com%2Fblogs%2Fstrange-brew.jpg&x=48&y=80 [bobsworthindustries.com]
      miles away from my current location.

      Yeah, an ip address search only gives you the location of the nearest "box". Mine puts me 27 miles away in a pretty affluent part of town, while I live in the shitty part. The way they find people through an ip address is to look up billing i

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by canajin56 (660655)

      If it has no info, it uses the registered address of your ISP. Otherwise, it's all data-mining. They have agreements with data-miners, who themselves have agreements with thousands upon thousands of websites. Go to Best Buy's websites, enter a zip/postal code to find the closest store to you? There, bam, the geo-locators have a zip code tied to an IP address. If you're not on an ISP that cycles frequently, they have you. I don't know how accurate USA zip codes are, but Canadian postal codes, they wil

  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Donkey_Hotey (1433053) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:32AM (#30620304)

    Just one drug dealer ratting out another. Move along, nothing to see here...

  • Heh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by headkase (533448) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:44AM (#30620346)
    What's Blizzard going to do when someone posing as law enforcement gets some information and then goes and murders that person... Hmm?
    • by timmarhy (659436)
      umm, nothing. what the fuck do you think they would do, cry a river? seriously lets also ask why cows are purple and how wet water is.
      • by headkase (533448)
        Whats Blizzard going to do with the resulting civil suit. Should have pointed everything out...
  • RTFA people... (Score:5, Informative)

    by CaptainPotato (191411) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:48AM (#30620370) Homepage

    Blizzard was subpoenaed:

    “None of that information was sound enough to pursue on its own, but putting everything we had together gave me enough evidence to send a subpoena to Blizzard Entertainment. I knew exactly what he was playing — World of Warcraft. I used to play it. It’s one of the largest online games in the world.”

    Due to the guy being in a different country, there was not a need to respond to it, but I guess that there would have been nothing to have stopped one being sought in Canada....

    • Blizzard was subpoenaed:

      Well, they really weren't. A subpoena is a writ issued by a court, and the article heavily implies that this was simply a written request and that no judge had signed off on it. Why the deputy sheriff insisted on calling it a subpoena behooves me. Here's the quote I'm referring to:

      But this is the Internet, and Blizzard is in California. Roberson’s subpoena was nothing more than a politely worded request, considering the limits of his law enforcement jurisdiction and the ambiguity of the online world.

      So, it doesn't look like it was signed off by a judge - it was just a written request by the police. I'm not trying to split hairs or anything, but Blizzard wasn't exactly forced to comply.

      Due to the guy being in a different country, there was not a need to respond to it, but I guess that there would have been nothing to have stopped one being sought in Canada....

      Blizzard didn't have to respond because t

  • by MrMista_B (891430) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:53AM (#30620398)

    He's an alleged drug dealer.

    Which means he is not a drug dealer.

    He is innocent.

    (until proven guilty in a court of law, but that bit always gets left out)

  • Armory Link (Score:5, Funny)

    by doomy (7461) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:59AM (#30620422) Homepage Journal

    He is pretty bad at wow too.

    Look at his Armory.

    http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Bladefist&n=Rastlynn

    • All I see is he's level 80, which seems pretty high to me (it's the cap, isn't it?). Can you explain how you can tell he's lousy in terms us non-WoW players can understand?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The game is set up so that you can get to level 80 fairly quickly... the amount of experience required to go from level 1-70 has been reduced significantly since the game came online, and the 70-80 grind can be done in a weekend if you're serious about it (and have no life). Most people who play the game fairly regularly have at least one level 80 character, many have multiple level 80 characters.

        The reason he's saying that this appears to be a pretty bad player is because his equipment is sub-par in some c

  • Tracking (Score:2, Funny)

    by andrewbwn (1075131)
    Sir, I think we've located him, he's in Orgrimmar. Wait.... he just teleported in Thunder Bluff, he must be a mage, and he's talking to Cairne Bloodhoof. APB: Be on the look out for a level 65 undead mage wanted for selling Vision Dust and Dream Dust in the Orgrimmar Auction House. Be advised he's speced in Frost. Sir, I think we should send our undercover Troll Hunter with Humanoid Tracking to catch him.
  • Mass exodus (Score:2, Funny)

    by Kenoli (934612)
    This decision is just going to lead the game straight to ruin.
    I imagine the total number of accounts that will be closed as a result of this incident will be somewhere around, well, one.
    Assuming the guy goes to jail

    And assuming they don't have WoW in jail.
  • by goodmanj (234846) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @07:51AM (#30621340)

    Nevermind the Internet angle, the real question here is an ancient one: should you cooperate with the police?

    I think most of us would agree that law enforcement is necessary -- if you don't, you and I are never going to see eye to eye so you might as well stop reading now. Law enforcement needs information to work properly. If citizens universally refuse to provide that information, the only way to get it is via direct police surveillance.

    So you've got three options: A) police act without any information, B) they set up ubiquitous surveillance to get their info, or C) they get information from citizens. I hope we all agree that C) is the lesser of evils.

    So our society has set things up so that in certain very limited circumstances, people are *required* to give information to the police (search warrants, subpoenas, etc.) In other situations, police are forbidden from demanding certain kinds of information, to protect the rights of the accused. (Miranda laws, etc)

    For everything in between, cooperation is optional and voluntary. We can decide whether to help or not, based on our sense of the severity of the crime, our personal ties to the suspect, our trust of the police, and any details of the case we're familiar with. It's a judgment call.

    I think we need to respect the fact that different people or entities are going to make that judgment call differently, based on their own priorities and values.

    To say that helping the cops is always the right or the wrong choice is ridiculously simplistic. You can comment on Blizzard's decision in this particular case, but tying it to some absurd moral absolute is asking for trouble.

There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.

Working...