Blizzard Helps Cops Track Down WoW Fan, Suspected Drug Dealer

Wanted on drug dealing charges, Alfred Hightower skipped the country after a warrant was issued for his arrest. But he didn't stop playing World of Warcraft and that's how police caught him.

The Howard County Sheriff's Department in Indiana discovered that Hightower, was a big fan of some "warlock and witches game", eventually piecing together that it was World of Warcraft.

The investigating deputy contacted Blizzard to see if they would help track him down, the Kokomo Perspective reports.

"They don't have to respond to us, and I was under the assumption that they wouldn't," Roberson told the Perspective. "It had been three or four months since I had sent the subpoena. I just put it in the back of my mind and went on to do other things. Then I finally got a response from them. They sent me a package of information. They were very cooperative. It was nice that they were that willing to provide information."

Blizzard provided the sheriff the suspect's IP address, account information and history, his billing address, and his online screen name and preferred server. Deputies then used the information to pinpoint Hightower's location in Canada.

Hightower, who was wanted on charges of dealing in a schedule III controlled substance and dealing in a schedule IV controlled substance, and two charges of dealing in marijuana, was picked up by Canadian authorities and will be returned to Howard County on Jan. 5.

While it's good to see Blizzard helping out law enforcement, it is a touch Big Brothery to hear just how much information they track and keep and are so willing to give away... even when not legally required to do so.

Long arm of law reaches into World of Warcraft [Kokomo Perspective, thanks Tim]


Comments

    We'll get there fast and then we'll take it slow, thats where i wanna go...way down to Kokomo...

    This is nothing, Blizzard actually install spyware on your computer whenever you install one of their games. The “Warden Client” apparently just stays on your computer and scans it for cheating devices then sends Blizzard the information it’s collected about your computer back to blizzard. It seems innocent enough, but the sheer fact that Blizzard has a clause in most of its end user licence agreements that allows for this is a bit concerning. Just what kind of information is Blizzard getting from me?, I’ve had WoW installed on my PC before and uninstalled it, but I’m willing to bet the Warden client is just inactive, it doesn’t matter anyway I’ve got Diablo 2 installed with patch 1.12, so that means I have the client for sure. I don’t see what its actually doing because i use Hero editor to make items and characters all the time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warden_Client

    Read the 6th Term
    http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/legal/eula.html

      You're right. I've had WoW on my desktop before and apart from the concern that I was playing far too much I heard about that Warden client. I've had some problems in the past with spyware and viruses from "reputable" publishers which caused me to get the latest virus-blocker when it comes out.

        hang on, if the cop sent a subpoena to blizzard for the imformation, then doesnt blizzard have to responed with all relivant information? or is just ok for anyone to blow off a subpoena?

          Yeah, I'm not sure about that. I would have thought that under law, Blizzard would be obligated to pass on that information. The only thing I can guess at is that since the person in question committed no crime that coincides with his use of Blizzard software, they might be able to ignore a subpoena on grounds of relevancy?

          It is rather difficult time to protect your own data/personal details with our reliance on the internet (in particular, the cloud), especially with almost anything you install keeping and sending information about your usage habits.
          The best thing to do is just keep reading EULAs, and being smart about what you install. I guess if enough people are aware about it, eventually companies like Blizzard will be unable to continue with this kind of data gathering. In the mean time, it is concerning, and something to keep an eye on.

            A lot of WoW users are aware of the Warden client, ever since Blizzard sued some company (and took home a pretty penny) it’s become common knowledge. When people find out they either choose to stop playing WoW or live with the fact the Blizzard is collecting information on them. And unsurprisingly people play WoW. The fact is Blizzard know just how addictive their game is, they can treat their gamers however they like, for the most part Blizzard are actually pretty nice to people. But this is blizzard entertainment, they have 10 million WoW users, if you add the D2 and Starcraft crowd that’s probably 30 million people with the client on their computers, I don’t think people need to worry about blizzard suddenly selling their information onto some company to spam you with. They wouldn’t embarrass themselves in that way.

    That's pretty bad, shame on Blizzard.
    Glad I don't play there life eating time wasting crap.

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