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Arma III Developers Arrested In Greece For 'Spying'

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  • So if I was there as a tourist, would I get arrested?

    Or is somehow putting your island into a video game now sedition or something?

    TFA is pretty slim, but I'm having a hard time imagine what law was broken.

    • Re:Spying? Really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @03:02PM (#41303743)

      There have been similar incidents in the past in Greece involving people taking photos of military aircraft, air bases etc. It's illegal in Greece to photograph military property, and if you do so arrest is likely. With Arma being a military game, my guess is these guys were doing exactly this, and should have known better.

      • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:41PM (#41305139)
        Illegal eh? Hey Greece: ever hear of Google? [goo.gl]

        What's that? No, we will not spot you airfare to come over here and arrest Larry and Sergei. And don't even try to mail that wooden horse to Mountain View.
      • In any case, they now have a reference for goon behavior they can also include in the game.

      • "There is no such thing as bad publicity"
                                                                            - Brendan Behan

        Who says they didn't know better?

    • Re:Spying? Really? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Night64 (1175319) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @03:02PM (#41303753)
      If it was in the US, I would say the Patriot Act. There is a Patriotikoú Nómou in Greece?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Greece often arrests people for taking photos of things which may have some public security interest. They arrest plane spotters from time to time and it sometimes reaches the British news.

      It's not really very interesting except to note that photography isn't really a fundamental human right and, outside the US and to a lesser extent the UK, you need to mind local law. If the business concerned didn't even do this little bit of research then I question how good the game is going to be - but the gap between

    • Re:Spying? Really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @03:19PM (#41304021)

      They were taking photographs of a military installation that they intended to reproduce inside Arma III. That almost certainly means moderately detailed shots of buildings, security measures, and military personal, which is illegal in some (most? all?) countries.

      Note: in the US, you can take pictures of aircraft or historical buildings, but not restricted areas. The point is to prevent surveillance intended to find weaknesses in security that can be exploited, aka "casing the joint". Pretty standard practice in the military. They should have definitely have asked for permission first.

      • Re:Spying? Really? (Score:5, Informative)

        by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:46PM (#41305235)

        >>>Note: in the US, you can take pictures of aircraft or historical buildings, but not restricted areas. The point is to prevent surveillance intended to find weaknesses in security that can be exploited, aka "casing the joint". Pretty standard practice in the military.

        In the U.S. the courts have ruled again-and-again that people may not be forbidden from recording that which is in public view. ("Per the first amendment citizens have a right to record the activities of their government officials in public areas." and "There is no expectation of privacy when in public view.") It is why places like Area 51 are surrounded by miles and miles of "buffer zone" so nobody can get close enough to see the place.

    • by bakuun (976228)

      So if I was there as a tourist, would I get arrested?

      Or is somehow putting your island into a video game now sedition or something?

      TFA is pretty slim, but I'm having a hard time imagine what law was broken.

      TFA is not thin at all. It states that the men were caught with photographs of military installations. I would wager that most countries have laws against photographic military bases, and I'm not surprised that Greece do. This was just a really stupid thing to do.

    • Re:Spying? Really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by cynop (2023642) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @03:45PM (#41304367)

      being greek, i've read some of the original articles. The problem is, they were taking photographs and videotaping active military bases. I'm pretty sure, the guys are not spies but gathering intelligence on foreign military installations constitutes spying in most of the countries i know

    • by erroneus (253617)

      I'm going to go with "this should be common sense NOT to do this without local government approval and fore knowledge in today's charged political climate."

      It should be ESPECIALLY obvious since this is a war/battle/fighting simulation where the setting is a specific (not imaginary/fantasy) location being simulated.

      I feel sorry for the people who were arrested -- they were probably not the decision makers. If they were the decision makers, they deserve what they got. If they are not the decision makers, wh

    • Re:Spying? Really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by xquercus (801916) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:55PM (#41305321)

      So if I was there as a tourist, would I get arrested?

      Or is somehow putting your island into a video game now sedition or something?

      TFA is pretty slim, but I'm having a hard time imagine what law was broken.

      This shouldn't be all that surprising. I'm not familiar with Greek law but in the US one can only be certain that photographing a military installation is legal if one has written authorization from the base commander. See here [gpo.gov]. Speaking from personal experience, if one were to stop on US Route 2 heading through North Dakota, photograph one of the Minuteman nuclear missile launch facilities just a few yards off the road, a visit from Minot Airforce Base security is quite likely. Again, speaking from personal experience, these security personnel have brand new shiny M-4s (not those beat up ones from the sandbox) and a .30 cal machine gun mounted on their HUMVEE. If one were to continue photographing, this is once again from personal experience, they will call the sheriff's deputy (who happens to be a serious hottie) and she will threaten arrest for disorderly conduct.

      My guess is that the Minuteman launch facilities are considered off limits. They have signs which say "Restricted Area" and federal statute considers these areas off limits in terms of photography. According to statute, it seems that even photographing these area from a distance, such as while standing on a publicly traveled way such as US Route 2, is likely prohibited. The signs on the nuclear launch facilities say they will shoot you if you actually climb the fence. There are hundreds of these facilities across northwest North Dakota. It seems to me that the sheer number of launch facilities would make it difficult for a tourist to photographically document their vacation to beautiful North Dakota.

      I don't see why it's surprising that other countries have similar laws in place

      • by steelfood (895457)

        they will call the sheriff's deputy (who happens to be a serious hottie) and she will threaten arrest for disorderly conduct.

        So what, you're encouraging us to go to North Dakota and photograph the missile launch facilities from US Route 2?

        Besides, we all know that's just for show, and the real missiles are underneath Manhattan.

  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @03:02PM (#41303745)

    Really? Every Real Estate Developer does the same thing in Greece, so that they can deduct the vacation from their taxes.
    Usually they also invite local people to dinner to ask them how they like their own houses, then they can also deduct the restaurants.

    That's where the money comes from, Greeks, from us taxpayers!

    But I guess the military has a bit of a paranoiac streak everywhere.

    • by vlm (69642)

      But I guess the military has a bit of a paranoiac streak everywhere.

      Thats the part I don't get. Does Greece think the Persian Empire is going to invade again or is the Macedonians again?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You must be joking. Turkey claims half the Aegean and illegally militarily occupies half of Cyprus, and you are poking fun at them
        for wanting to defend their land?

        • Hm. And Greece occupies the other half, after sponsoring a military junta in 1974. Poor Cypriots for getting caught in the middle.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        From what i understand, they have something of an asymmetric rivalry with Turkey.

        • by dargaud (518470)
          To be honest, they've only been at war with Turkey since about the time Homer wrote about it.
      • by Talderas (1212466)

        It could be Germany and to a lesser extent Italy.

        • by KDR_11k (778916)

          We're trying to get RID of Greece, not take it.

          • by Talderas (1212466)

            Well, last time I checked you didn't really want it in WW2 either but the British decided they were going to support the Greeks and so you kind of had to take it.

    • by costas (38724)

      Limnos is the most fortified Greek island and a huge military outpost. What did they expect exactly?

  • Specially before taking pictures and videos of military installations. It doesn't matter if it's for a video game, you just don't take pictures of military bases without the military getting paranoid about it.
    • by pspahn (1175617) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @03:37PM (#41304277)

      Truly a lack of intuition.

      I spent an entire summer plotting out routes of houses to photograph based on an old database of the trees that were sold there 15+ years ago as I was building a photo library of mature trees and large shrubs.

      This has nothing to to do with any sort of military installation and I thought it was pretty straightforward that I would knock of the doors, identify myself (many times it was still the same owners from 15+ years ago and they were delighted to see me), and ask permission.

      Why the hell would you go to another country and take photographs of military facilities? That is just a complete lapse of judgement.

  • ...on Operation Flashpoint, all I can say is....LET EM GO!!!!"

    Seriously, OFP was a groundbreaking game in that it was the first real attempt to simulate a real battlefield experience. Given the series' focus on realism, I have no doubt that these guys were simply doing prep work for the next version of Arma.

    Perhaps they should have called ahead...

  • Documenting military installations is illegal in every country.

    • by Night64 (1175319)
      As my friends in Wikipedia would say, "Citation needed".
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by pspahn (1175617)

        As my friends in Wikipedia

        Wikipedia has a friending feature now also? Please... make it stop... I am sick of having so many friends.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Government of Greece does not permit the photographing of military installations; violators are subject to arrest. So they were arrested. Not really surprising.

  • I'll remember not to take my camera if I do a tour of Greece for vacation.
    • Wouldn't it be easier (and safer) just to remember not to go to Greece?
    • Re:No Cameras (Score:5, Informative)

      by Reverant (581129) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @03:42PM (#41304335) Homepage
      Disclaimer: I am a Greek citizen.

      Feel free to take cameras with you and take pictures of the beautiful scenery, monuments and people. When however, you go outside military facilities that have big "NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED" signs (in english and actual no camera icons in case you don't know english) and start taking detailed photographs with your DSLR and 70-300 lens, expect to be arrested if caught. The devs should absolutely have requested a license to do it, they didn't care to do it or got caught in the bureaucracy that is to be expected with these affairs, they got arrested for breaking the law. If they were caught doing that in the US (say, outside Nellis AFB), I wonder what would have happened to them.
      • Feel free to take cameras with you and take pictures of the beautiful scenery, monuments and people.

        Me, I would rather set up an international web site collecting and assorting recent photographs of as many Greek military installations as possible. You know, the Streisand Effect. And hand-help DSLRs are not very clandestine. You can do much better today. A Micro Four Thirds camera with a suitable lens peeking out of a hole on the side of your backpack, perhaps?

        :If they were caught doing that in the US (say, outside Nellis AFB), I wonder what would have happened to them.

        Uhm...nothing?

      • by khallow (566160)

        If they were caught doing that in the US (say, outside Nellis AFB), I wonder what would have happened to them.

        I gather it happens rather frequently around Area 51 which is near Nellis AFB. According to Wikipedia, typical punishments are a $600 fine and special attention from the FBI, but I imagine the punishment would be more severe, if you photographed Elvis and some Greys looking over the latest prototype aircraft.

  • by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @03:19PM (#41304011)
    Busting the developers out of jail
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They tend to be jumpy about photographers near military installations. (they still seem to anticipate a Turkish invasion at any moment)
    Like the plane-spotters they arrested 11 years ago.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1953654.stm

  • Well, with all the austerity going on there, they must be really bored, sort of how the computers on Magrathea take potshots at passing spacecraft. I mean, c'mon, like actual spies are going to stand there obviously taking snapshots. Have they not see a James Bond film? Spies have cameras hidden in their hats and genitals.

    And, besides, if a photo of your installation renders it vulnerable, yer doin' it wrong. Unless the military base has a soul... maybe the camera is stealing the military base's soul?

    • Well, with all the austerity going on there, they must be really bored, sort of how the computers on Magrathea...

      Magrathea? Magrathea! -- Zaphod

  • The article claims they were photographing military installations. That could be anything from a snapshot that happens to include a military base to skirting the border of the thing and taking photos from every conceivable angle to get pictures of things clearly meant not to be public to actually wandering around the installation photographic everything in sight.

    The first one shouldn't cause anyone any concern. The second one I could see as being something a government could legitimately seek to limit, but

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      If you can see critical stuff on a military base just by creeping around the perimeter then it's a pretty shity base. If someone can learn something by watching your changing of the guard that will permit them to penetrate your facility, then you are incompetent shitwads and don't deserve to be guarding a shoebox. Etc.

      • by Intropy (2009018)

        Sure. I sympathize with the sentiment to some extent, but even idiots deserve some privacy.

  • I mean c'mon, I can't imagine there are a lot of big secrets they are trying to protect.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I am a Greek - those 2 people are stupid!
    They don't know Greek ... They don't know English, German, French, or all the other languages in the signs with the "NO PHOTOS" ... the fucking picture of the camera in the circle with the X how they can't understand it ... (OR RESPECT IT).
    The Greek police arrested them for taking photos of military installations, and they confessed that they had the photos (claiming it was for enhancing the next version of the game !!!).
    This island, in case of war with our beloved n

  • I figured I'd take a lookie at what all you can get from sat imagery commercially on Google Maps. Now, it says Myrina Police were involved on the island of Lemnos. Looking nearby there, I don't see anything screaming military installation. If you look, 'maybe, at : 39.867707,25.066209 (copy paste into google maps) is the base? It's close enough to town that local Police would have possibly been involved faster than MPs. If they were just looking for topography, layout, etc, than what I just took 3 minutes
  • This has happened before. A group of British plane spotters were convicted of spying and sentenced to 3 years in jail. It doesn't seem to have occured to the Greek military that real spies will be a little more discrete in their methods.

    BBC news article [bbc.co.uk]

    • by ledow (319597)

      It doesn't seem to have occurred to you that real spies would be likely to have a plausible explanation for what they are doing and sometimes get caught.

      There might be "James Bonds" running around that are infallible and undetectable, but the majority of "spies" would actually be cannon fodder - send enough of them and eventually a few would get caught. And then, of course, they have to protest their innocence (never admit to being a spy if you don't want to spend your WHOLE LIFE in prison, if you're that

      • Just because you're a "spy" doesn't mean you're not in a group of plane-spotters that plan a trip to Greece. Hell, sounds like a perfect persona to assume to me.

        Put yourself in the shoes of the spy. Your choices are

        Plan A: be conspicuous. Run a high risk of being stopped, but have a story and hope you can bluff your way out.
        Plan B: be discrete. Try to avoid being stopped, although if you are caught you are doomed.

        Opting for Plan A means you have to infiltrate a plane-spotting group. Then you have to persuade the group to go to the base you're interested in. When you get there you can only take pictures consistent with being a plane spotter, or your cover st

  • Normal reaction (Score:4, Informative)

    by cynop (2023642) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @03:55PM (#41304527)

    Most of the commentators here are speaking out of their asses. Let me tell you somethings, being greek and all.

    First of all ,Limnos is one of the Greek islands that is very close to Turkey. There have been a lot of incidents in the past there. Maybe the whole point of the clashes were moot, maybe not, but i can't blame the officials for being extra carefull.

    Secondly, personally i believe that the guys did not mean harm. But, they were photographing and videotaping active military camps. Sure there's satellite photos of everything on the island on google maps, but gathering intelligence on military installations is one of the most basic espionage actions. If that's not spying, i don't know what is.

    Finally, for all those talking about tourists and tourist activities, that's a whole lot of hors*shit. Next time you decide to come for vacations, try to stay at the beach. The military bases are off limits.

  • If this were Long Island, they would be in Gitmo by now.

  • They actually are spies. Because that's what they do, make plausible cover stories for what they are doing.
  • This is where you see the level of ingenuity....being that they are developers, they forgot that they could have saved a whole lot of time and effort and traveling expenses, and just used google's streetview!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    According to Greek media, the devs arrested had recordings of:

    * An MM-40 Exocet Block II installation (anti-ship missile)
    * The 130th Battle Squadron
    * A radar installation
    * Army base and barracks.

    Media report that the military authorities were particularly concerned that the data captured from the devs showed no only the position of these installations and the type of equipment they contained, but also things like access routes, alternative routes, fuel depots etc.

    It is also common knowledge that Greece's pr

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @09:41PM (#41307861) Homepage Journal
    Bail was set at $1.98, more than the annual GDP of Greece!

    BAM! Aww take that Greece! It's funny because they're poor!

    Oh. Don't look like that. Here's a quarter, go buy a house in Greece!

    BAM! Oh! The crowd goes wild!

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