Do you let your kids game on Xbox or Playstation without much worry as to their safety from dark forces other than digitally doing each other in? Does it ever cross your mind that bad actors, be it terrorists or gangs, might be trying to recruit them as they play?
According to intelligence reports, criminal elements such as terrorists are hard at work recruiting and planning all manner of chaos; these thugs are using gaming consoles in order to go undetected by the CIA and NSA. There are two new "Law Enforcement Sensitive" documents that repeat that sentiment. Just as there are numerous documents that blame games and gamers for all manners of evil. Now if you are the gamer, then it probably ticks you off when violent video games bear the blame after mass killings which is again the case.
In light of the Oslo, Norway, massacre in which 76 people lost their lives, violent video games are once more listed as a potential cause for the carnage. According to Forbes, terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik "wrote about how he used Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and World of Warcraft to help train for the attacks." But clinical psychologist Christopher Ferguson said, "There are groups out there who are going to blame video games on everything. They're like ambulance chasers, really." LazyGamer added, "So before any Fox news styled channel calls for the banning of Call of Duty why not rather call for the banning of hunting and guns... and then politicians."
ABC posted the "facts" about Breivik's manifesto as well as a "run down of every mention of video games in the manifesto and the context in which it appears." SabatageTimes suggested "you could use Breivik's sprawling manifesto to create an infinite number of similar narratives about different aspects of his life: family relations, trance music, steroids, religion, graffiti, politics, the online community, sexuality, Freemasonry or even his needle-work."
Previously we looked at intelligence agencies hunting for terrorists in World of Warcraft as well as FBI agents searching WoW for potential "gold famers." The Office of the Director of National Intelligence mentioned the Reynard Project [2009 PDF] which calls for data mining and profiling of online gaming behavior to spot "suspicious behavior" and terrorists in WoW and Second Life. The project is meant to find the ties between real and virtual worlds which would reveal clues about gamers in real-life. Well now Public Intelligence has posted two more related pieces regarding gaming consoles in connection to the underground.
LulzSec leaked the New Jersey Fusion Center document about MS-13 members using gaming consoles to direct operational activities, including murder, criminal activity, luring minor females across state lines for sex, and new member initiation. Posted on Public Intelligence, the "Law Enforcement Sensitive" release states, "MS-13 members in Los Angeles have directed operational activities of new MS-13 members in Birmingham, United Kingdom, using gaming consoles such as Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox 360. The MS-13 leaders appear to be taking advantage of the devices' voice over internet protocol (VOIP), text chat, virtual world, and video teleconferencing features, which allow them to communicate with fellow gang members overseas."
But wait, there's more! According to the New Jersey document [PDF], the National Crime Threat Assessment in 2009, claimed, "Criminal activity committed by certain groups, (listed at right) pose a high threat to the financial stability of the United States, as it causes substantial direct and indirect economic harm to U.S. consumers, businesses, communities, and institutions."
Also posted on Public Intelligence, "FBI New York case information indicates that Bloods gang members in the Bronx, NY are utilizing PlayStation Network (PSN) to communicate each other while on house arrest." Gang members are posting their 'PSN tag name' on social networking sites and inviting others to join them. These were the PSN services that "help users communicate" and were listed in the leak.
- Friend List: Users can maintain a list of up to 100 additional players that allows them to keep track of their activity and alert them to when they are signed into their game.
- Instant Messaging: Users can communicate via text conversations with other players signed into the same video game.
- Multiplayer Gaming: Users can link up to seven PS3 controllers to their own gaming system and/or connect online with large groups of other players.
- Voice/Video Chat/Cross Game Chat Rooms: Users can communicate to other players through Bluetooth/USB Headsets and/or PlayStation Eye/Eye ToyWebcams. (Analyst Note: Video chats only require a Webcam as they already have microphones built-in).
- Internet Browser and Google Search Engine
- Video download/sharing services
- PlayStation Home: A virtual 3D social network gaming service allowing users to create a custom avatar, interact and connect with friends and other users in a virtual world. As of December 2010, there were approximately 17 million users and over 600 organized events held in this virtual world.
- Facebook Access
Do you suppose the whole Sony hack and network down deal put the hurt to terrorists and gangs then?
There was a comment on the Bronx Blood Street Gang warning by ogie who said:
Even better, I had a friend that was on house arrest and they showed up to install his ankle monitor and software on his computer to track what he was doing. The guy came and was like "I need to install some software on your PC" my friend gives him his laptop, the guy guy opens it up and is like "what is this, this isn't windows" and my friend tells him it is Linux, and the guy had no clue what that was. My friend explained what Linux was and then the Fed asked "will this CD work on that" and my friend said no. So he left without ever installing any software on his computer. Then when they came at the end of his house arrest to "uninstall" the software the Fed that showed up was dumbfounded because the disks they have for installs have Windows, Mac and Linux versions on the same disk.
As the saying goes ..good enough for government work.
Personally, neither gang members nor terrorists have ever tried to recruit anyone that I know. How about you?