Around the Virtual World

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A weekly wrap up of interesting news about virtual worlds, virtual goods and other social media.

Judge Says Warrant Required for Cell Phone Location Data

In recent years, the courts have struggled to decide whether the government needs a warrant to access historical records about a cell phone user’s location. Some courts have found that when users turn on their cell phones, they “voluntarily” transmit their location to their cell phone providers and thereby waive any expectation of privacy.

Social Media Could Render Covert Policing ‘Impossible’

Facebook has proven to be one of the biggest dangers in keeping undercover police officers safe due to applications such as facial recognition and photo tagging,
according to a adjunct professor at ANU and Charles Sturt University.

Building With Someone Else’s Blocks: Going Open Source With Games

Giving players access to source code has been a part of gaming’s history for years, from the earliest MUDs to Tim Sweeney’s ZZT. As console gaming’s proprietary hardware and its closely guarded development tools slowly squeezed PC play from its central place in the industry the idea of open source play declined.

Wirklich? Germany Declares Facebook ‘Like’ Button Illegal

The German government on Friday declared the Facebook “Like” button, which appears on countless websites accessible all over the world, in violation of the country’s strict privacy rights — and thus illegal.

U.K. Pulls Back From Threat to Control Social Networks

The British government stepped back from threats to shut down social networks during future disturbances and instead is seeking to work with the networks on how best to use them to help. A high-profile political meeting today between the government, police and the networks was described as “honest and refreshing”
after police admitted they struggled to understand social media.

Al Qaeda In Azeroth? Terrorism Recruiting and Training in Virtual Worlds

In their pursuit of terrorists, government intelligence agencies leave no digital rock unturned:
telephone calls, emails, text messages, blogs, news sites – they monitor them all. Sometimes, as with social networks like Facebook, the companies behind these services gladly hand over data to governments to assist in this hunt. Yet there is still one place where terrorists can go, one place where they can talk to each other openly without fear of being detected: online video games.