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Homeland Security Infiltrates World of Warcraft

gnometerror.jpgMMORPGs may just be the place to find potential terrorists, according to the Reynard project. The goal is to detect "suspicious behavior and actions in the virtual world."

As an admitted WoW addict (though I'm in a 6 week withdrawal right now) I have to ask... what would count as aberrant behavior in this admittedly violent game? I'm supposing it would have to be something completely anarchical and against the intended social structure, like, for example, a pacifist!

Here's an excerpt from the proposal:

The cultural and behavioral norms of virtual worlds and gaming are generally unstudied. Therefore, Reynard will seek to identify the 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.

If it shows early promise, this small seedling effort may increase its scope to a full project.

To which Charlotte, who pointed out this whole absurd thing to me, said:

Some nerd just figured out how to get Uncle Sam to pay his Verizon bill and justify his 19 hour/day WoW habit. I salute you, unnamed nerd!

I, too, salute you unnamed nerd!


That's exactly what I thought! And just imagine what he can tell his wife/girlfriend! When Brett was at FMH and his day ended at, oh, noon, he played tons of D&D online and whatever that superheroes game is (obviously I am not a gamer). It would burn me up when, if asked to perform a household task, he would claim, "I'm saving lives," or "well, I have a raid at 2pm, and these people are counting on me." This Reynard guy can say things like "I'm working," and "Sorry, hon, I've got to put in some overtime this weekend."

Hmmm.....maybe they should, instead, work to get potential terrorists hooked on the online violence--then they won't have time to pursue it in the real world. Plus, after playing with gamers from all over the world (and attending their virtual weddings, etc., ), they may feel a new spirit of international brotherhood.

If these guys try to infiltrate XBox online games, I swear, all they're gonna find are a bunch of potheads with "420" in their gamertags

City of Heroes is the game. Fun game. Too bad they don't make it for Mac or, perhaps, a good thing.

For the record, that was not *my* comment. It was originally posted on the reason.com blog.

Oh, the email made it look like your comment.

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