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FBI Seeks Suspect's Web Game Records

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the we'd-like-to-see-those-please dept.

Privacy 446

wiredmikey writes "The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday asked the administrator of an Internet game to hand over records of communications by Jared Loughner, following a Wall Street Journal article describing disturbing messages the accused shooter wrote over a three-month period last year. In an interview, David McVittie, the administrator of the Web game Earth Empires, said he was contacted by the FBI, which requested the files, including 131 messages that Mr. Loughner wrote."

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This one makes some sense (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865792)

The going after twitter messages looks kind of dubious, but this request has more grounding - it would be very easy for someone to use any online RPG to use as a conduit for messages if they thought someone might be monitoring email or phone. Given that the U.S. is treating him as a criminal suspect (which I'll leave the validity of to the side), this request seems pretty reasonable to build a case against someone.

Re:This one makes some sense (-1, Offtopic)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865856)

No, it's one thing to go on fishing expeditions and monitor innocent people in the hope of catching someone saying bad words. It's another thing to look for information to build a case for prosecution for someone suspected of perpetrating a crime. Are you saying the government has the burden of proving his guilt, but isn't allowed to search for information to do so?

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865924)

How is what he said any different than what said?

Re:This one makes some sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34865948)

Um, you responded to a post titled "This one makes some sense" and proceeded to argue with the OP that it does in fact make sense. Perhaps you read to much Slashdot and just assumed that everyone would be up in arms over this, but sometimes it helps to actually read the post you're replying to, or at least it's subject.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866430)

I think we agree... I said that's what they were doing.
Unless you are commenting on the twitter thing, but that's a little less clear to me if they need the information they are seeking to build a case. It's a pretty limited set of people there so it might be the case, though the thing is all twitter messages are public and so I don't see what they would really get out of it once they know the identities they seek.

Re:This one makes some sense (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865906)

Given that the U.S. is treating him as a criminal suspect (which I'll leave the validity of to the side),

Say what? You'll leave that to the side, will you? Well color me flabbergasted. He is technically a criminal suspect, because he has not been tried yet, but dozens of witnesses directly observed him committing murder. How can you question the validity of treating him as a criminal suspect?

Re:This one makes some sense (-1, Flamebait)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866066)

He might be a tea party member AKA nutjob. In that case he might believe that Laughner was just seeking second amendment resolution to an election.

Re:This one makes some sense (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866322)

Interviews with his friends say that he did not listen to talk radio, did not watch the news, was registered as an indepentant and did not vote. I cant recall the name of the video his friends said really set him off, but it was full of stuff on how christianity was a farce and 9/11 consiriacies. Nothing remotely points to him as a Tea Party member or a conservative, except for people that might have some political agenda to associate him with that.

Re:This one makes some sense (0, Troll)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866374)

I don't think he is a teabagger or a conservative. He is a nutjob who was almost certainly going to snap someday. The question is, was his choice of target influenced by teabaggers, conservatives, and right wing pundits' inflammatory, violent anti-government rhetoric?

Re:This one makes some sense (1, Offtopic)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866582)

I was referring to the poster I responded to, not the shooter.

Re:This one makes some sense (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866694)

Did you even *read* anything about it? Or are you just making things up as you go?

He had a *personal* thing with the congresswoman. He had asked her a question a few years ago and got a smoke up your ass answer. He took it personally. He asked her a question and she did not answer it. So somehow he took that to mean 'she must die'. I am sure he has a logic train here. You dont just go crazy. He was building up to this for a few years.

Re:This one makes some sense (1, Offtopic)

modecx (130548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866740)

I think it's more likely that Loughner had the hornies for Giffords. Many times it has happened before, that a deranged stalker says "If I can't have you, nobody else will", before attempting (and often succeeding) to assassinate the target. He probably figured that if he was going to get in that deep, that he would shoot up anyone else that he possibly could, to pay back society for this perceived injustice, just before sealing the whole deal by putting a bullet in his own brain... But that part of the plan was upset via the bystanders.

Would vitriol and rhetoric fuel such an individual? I don't think so. Constantly seeing his love interest in the media spotlight during the recent election, on the other hand?

Re:This one makes some sense (-1, Flamebait)

itlurksbeneath (952654) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866506)

the name of the video his friends said really set him off

Zeitgeist: The Movie

He's being tagged as a conservative because it was a Democrat that was shot. Would the tables be turned if it was a Republican? Would we assume the shooter was a liberal? Doubtful.

FWIW, I don't think any self respecting conservative would be caught dead watching that movie. Well, maybe if they needed a good laugh. Maybe.

Re:This one makes some sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866424)

Right, because Tea Party members believe that the right to bear arms somehow relates to a homicidal rampage against a Congresswoman who actually supported the very amendment you mocked.

A Tea Party member is as likely to believe that, as I am to believe that you are not a moron too biased to see past his own nose.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866488)

I was referring to the poster, not the killer BTW.

And have you seen the comments section of Fox news and the yahoo news articles before they were deleted? I did. Thousands of people were cheering at these murders.

Re:This one makes some sense (5, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866450)

He is a registered independent and never registered Republican, nor has any affiliation with the Tea Party.

He is pro-pot, anti-religion, and pro-Communism. He certainly doesn't fall within the demographic of any Republican or Tea Party member that I know of. He did have a personal history of hatred with Giffords and that appears to be his motivation. But feel free to continue to invent lies at your leisure.

Re:This one makes some sense (3, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866516)

Nothing on the record shows he was pro communism, he happened to have read Marx, but he also read Ayn Rand. Hmmm, pro-pot, anti-religion, read Marx and Rand? To me, that sounds more like a libertarian than a liberal or a conservative.

Re:This one makes some sense (0, Offtopic)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866620)

I read that he quoted Marx and seemed to support Commmunism in his videos. I haven't bothered to watch his videos myself. Admittedly I could be mistaken as to whether or not he is pro-Communism. At the least, a fan of Marx and Rand is certainly not a Tea Party Palinite.

But the point remains that an immediate fiction was created that he is some tool of the Tea Party that seems to bear no semblence to reality.

Re:This one makes some sense (0)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866718)

... a fan of Marx and Rand is certainly not a Tea Party Palinite.

Yeah - I don't think Palin has ever read a book, let alone books by those two...

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866600)

No lies. The potential tea partier I was referring to was the parent poster, not the shooter.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866076)

Maybe because it looks like he is mentally ill?

Personally I say treat him like a criminal suspect until we find out if he is or is not as sick as many think he might be.

Re:This one makes some sense (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866164)

Even if he is mentally ill, he is a criminal suspect. Insanity is a possible defense against criminal charges, it does not negate criminal charges. At his trial, he might be found not guilty by reason of insanity. Until then, he is a criminal suspect.

Maybe he's not guilty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866512)

for reasons of insanity:

"I couldn't stop hearing Palin's voice in my ear telling me to shoot them all!"

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866526)

The point is that the logic and lawfulness of this request applies to anyone to government is treating as a criminal suspect with due process, and that the specific details of this case aren't the issue.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866634)

:Say what? You'll leave that to the side, will you? Well color me flabbergasted.

I hope you are just trolling and not serious. His point was that he it didn't matter. If he is a suspect, then it is a logical thing to do, and should NOT be compared to the Twitter case.

Re:This one makes some sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866690)

Given that the U.S. is treating him as a criminal suspect (which I'll leave the validity of to the side),

Say what? You'll leave that to the side, will you? Well color me flabbergasted. He is technically a criminal suspect, because he has not been tried yet, but dozens of witnesses directly observed him committing murder. How can you question the validity of treating him as a criminal suspect?

I took that to mean "I don't want to argue about that. I'm just saying 'IF he is a suspect, this was ok' ". Of course I am not the OP, so I could have completely misinterpreted him.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

Therilith (1306561) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866724)

Because it's irrelevant to the OP's argument?

Re:This one makes some sense (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34865916)

I live in Victoria, Canada... we had two young teens murder a young girl, it was all planned and VERY sad what they did to her.

They used WOW to communicate, and one guy admitted to another friend to killing her on WOW... and they got those records.

Not surprised at all. I'm actually very satisfied knowing that NO channel of communication should be considered '100% secure'. Face to face is the only place 'privacy' has a chance at existing... and I say chance, because technology can be anywhere at anytime.

Hopefully these messages give more insight... what an amazingly sad example of how broken our society is, and how helpless the parents are when their ADULT son is off the hook

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866012)

There are channels that are very secure, wow is not one of them. To me it seems lots of folks had a chance to help this, mostly his parents. He was clearly mentally ill.

Re:This one makes some sense (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866102)

Lots of folks did do something to help. It is pretty clear that nearly everyone who knew him saw his descent into madness and tried to help in some way. But it is very hard to help the mentally ill against their will.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866176)

I'm actually very satisfied knowing that NO channel of communication should be considered '100% secure'.

While it may not be 100% secure, it's not very difficult to even make things like e-mail, Instant Messengers, etc. extremely secure. All you have to do is make use of plug-in's that enable PGP, Blowfish, or other good quality encryption. As long as you use a good encryption key of sufficient length & complexity then there's virtually no way law enforcement could crack your messages. That is, of course, unless the NSA gets involved. wink wink.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866342)

Good encryption isn't very useful if you are trying to broadcast information publicly, for instance in a forum.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866402)

That is where anonymity comes in. You post from wireless you do not own, using forged mac addresses to connect. You also use high gain antennas so you can do this from your car.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

MikePikeFL (303907) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866642)

It all depends on how deep the threat (or paranoia?) goes. DLL based keyloggers or malware can be very hard to both detect and bypass- so can full screen Javascript based ones. Hardware based (PS/2, USB, even other) keyloggers exist as well, and depending on the situation could be present (or imagined). There are many layers that can grab the plaintext before it becomes ciphertext and store it, beam it, or just piggyback out to the internet. Hardly anyone does exfiltration (it's such a pain right?). The DOD found a ton of stuff this way and now they do it. There's been rumblings over the last few years over foreign manufacturers building this stuff into normal hardware, like hard drives, NICs, keyboards, etc.

Again- risk, threat, paranoia.

Re:This one makes some sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866698)

I'm actually very satisfied knowing that NO channel of communication should be considered '100% secure'.

Please turn in your Slashdot Hivemind Membership Card IMMEDIATELY.

Face to face is the only place 'privacy' has a chance at existing...

Please turn in your Slashdot Hivemind Membership Card YESTERDAY.

and I say chance, because technology can be anywhere at anytime.

Please GTFO Slashdot RIGHT NOW. We will be purging all records of your presence here, as your "rational", "logical", and "non-inflammatory" thoughts would prove damaging to the Hivemind's preconceptions.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

Frangible (881728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865922)

I guess I'm not sure why it's needed to build a case against him; the evidence and eye witness accounts are overwhelmingly damning as-is.

And why shouldn't the US treat Loughner as a criminal suspect? If a bunch of people see you shooting a lot of people in the head, that's a pretty good reason to be suspected of committing a crime.

Re:This one makes some sense (5, Insightful)

fermat1313 (927331) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866024)

I don't think the prosecutors are worried about proving he did it. However, his defense will likely mount an insanity plea. Proof of pre-planning pretty much kills an insanity plea, so any evidence that they have that he pre-planned this is definitely important to the prosecution.

Also, I think they haven't ruled out that someone else was involved in the planning of the attack, so they are still looking for any evidence relating to this. Getting these records is simply competent lawyering by the prosecution.

Re:This one makes some sense (2)

Philomage (1851668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866262)

How does "[p]roof of pre-planning pretty much [kill] an insanity plea"? Have you never read "The Tell-Tale Heart"? Sure it's fiction, but many insane individuals (especially schizophrenics) are capable of extensive planning in their "madness".

Re:This one makes some sense (2)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866540)

It's important to establish that he knew what he was planning was wrong, and that he has the cognitive ability to distinguish "right" from "wrong" in a way that reasonable people understand it. I do not believe this will be a problem in his case.

There is another element. The federal case against him depends in part on his knowledge that the judge he shot was a judge. If he did know that he was assassinating a judge, the federal prosecution can seek a federal death penalty. They want to prosecute him under 18 U.S.C. 1114, but in order to do that, they need to either show that the judge was at the event on official business (which he probably was not), or (gray area!) that the shooter had intent to stop that judge from conducting official business.

None of this will matter much, because it's the state of Arizona that will prosecute him for murdering the 9 year old child, a slam dunk death penalty case in a state where the insanity defense will, at best, take the death penalty off the table in return for life without parole -- and in Arizona for an infamous child killer that will amount to a death penalty at the hands of another inmate while the wardens look away.

Re:This one makes some sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866646)

IANAL, but there is a difference between being medically insane and legally insane. proof of preplanning may negate the definition of legally insane when the defendant could still be clearly medically insane.

Re:This one makes some sense (5, Informative)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866320)

An insanity defense has nothing to do with whether it was pre-planned or not.

Insanity is about whether the defendant knew what he was doing was wrong. Not whether or not it was planned.

Re:This one makes some sense (0)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866734)

Insanity is about whether the defendant knew what he was doing was wrong.

What if what you're accused of doing isn't wrong? For instance, Cannabis possession. There's no coherent way anyone can believe that is actually wrong. Do I qualify for an insanity defense?

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866040)

Because from all outward signs he is a nutcase not a criminal. Crazy people are going to do things like this and throwing them in jail helps no one. It will not discourage other crazy folks, because they are mentally ill.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866248)

Wow, I hope you don't have any friends or family that are Schizophrenic or Bi-polar or have other mental illnesses. They might be hurt by your insinuation that they have no control over their actions are are basically ticking time bombs waiting to explode and kill dozens of innocent people.

For the record, there are an estimated 20 million people with schizophrenia in the world, and that is only one of the many diseases that will earn someone the moniker 'crazy'. You'd think if they were all an inch away from murder you would have heard about it by now.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866418)

Not all mentally ill folks are time bombs.

The only crazy person I fear insulting is myself.

Re:This one makes some sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866460)

My mother is bipolar. She's the first to admit she doesn't have much control over he actions if she isn't medicated.

The rest of us are second.

This does not offend her. We simply try to make sure she keeps taking her meds, and doesn't try to take her pet gold fish for a walk...

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866662)

I am the same without my meds. Mine are not even for a psychiatric condition but a hormonal one. Without them I fly in to fits of rage for no reason. I even will claim I do not need my medication, latter after taking it I know I was wrong.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866380)

you can be both a nutcase and a criminal. And locking someone like that away does help people by severely restricting the number people he can target for his next insane killing spree.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866442)

Putting him in a home for the mentally ill does the same thing.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866566)

No. Putting him in a home for the mentally ill will out at risk the non-violent residents. If he really is mentally ill, he can be institutionalized in a maximum security mental institution until such time as he is fit to stand trial. That time spent institutionalized will not count towards his eventual sentence.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866494)

You can argue that anyone who wants to murder innocent people is a nutjob. And there is evidence this was pre-meditated.

An insanity plea doesn't get you off just because you're a little nutty. The purpose of an insanity plea is for people who have lost connect with reality to the extent that they truly don't understand the repercussions of their actions.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

sseaman (931799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866046)

I guess I'm not sure why it's needed to build a case against him; the evidence and eye witness accounts are overwhelmingly damning as-is.

State of mind, for example.

Re:This one makes some sense (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866110)

There's more to this kind of case than "Did he shoot a bunch of people in broad daylight?", obviously he did. You can bet the defense is going to play the mental illness card. Communications over the past year with him talking lucidly of killing people goes a long way towards proving that his mental illness isn't the direct cause.

It's easy to see his actions and watch his videos and say "Dude's crazy and he killed some people because of it" and move on, but you need to remember that there are millions of schizophrenics in the world that don't go around shooting dozens of innocent people. It's up to the prosecution to prove that he was no different from any millions of people in the world that have violent impulses but keep them under control. So, if you can prove that the killings were calmly, rationally planned and premeditated and that he was aware of what he was doing, then it doesn't matter much that the motive is rooted in his mental illness.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866612)

I hope he raises the insanity defense and is successful, and gets his death penalty "reduced" to life without parole as a result. I hope this, because I honestly believe that life in prison is a far more severe punishment than execution. This is especially true because it's pretty obvious to me that he was on a suicide mission in the first place. I think he intended to kill as many people as he could, creating as much chaos as he could, and then either shoot himself or be shot by cops. Being interrupted before he was even 1/3 of the way through his killing spree and then surviving was not in his plan.

I hope he lives a very, very long life, in the least comfortable prison in Arizona.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866614)

It's easy to see his actions and watch his videos and say "Dude's crazy and he killed some people because of it" and move on, but you need to remember that there are millions of schizophrenics in the world that don't go around shooting dozens of innocent people

True but, if your read DSM-V draft section on schizophrenia [dsm5.org] you will learn that it not a specific disease but a continuum of disorder. Their is a varying level of lucidity present in the various form of the disorder therefore some untreated schizophrenics are really walking time bombs.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865988)

I think you're confusing the shooter in arizona with the wikileak crap.

Re:This one makes some sense (4, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866054)

For those who don't recognize the name, Jared Loughner is the fellow accused of the shooting spree in Tuscon that claimed six lives and seriously wounded a U.S. Representative. Given that he was arrested at the scene and two eyewitnesses reported having wrested a smoking gun from his grasp, I mean, innocent till proven guilty and all, but it would be hard to argue that calling him a "suspect" is jumping to conclusions.

Re:This one makes some sense (3, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866056)

Amazing how many take what you said out of context. As for the content, that is exactly what I was thinking. This isn't a fishing exposition, this is gathering evidence to demonstrate forethought of his actions, which is necessary for this type of investigation. Not only is it acceptable, but obviously necessary for them to be exercising due diligence in prosecuting the case, assuming they have any suspicion that the logs will provide ANY insight into his actions.

Re:This one makes some sense (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866324)

I haven't kept up on the news recently, and while the name rang a bell I hadn't really looked into this story until now. Now looking at it quickly, and skimming the article...

I agree with you, though I think whatever they find needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Loughner is about the same age as me, and I'm not going to lie, guys our age like to still pretend we are in high school. We like the attention that comes with being a comedian and we'll use jokes that kind of go against the grain of society to stand out from the crowd. Sometimes things that are actually horrific, we find some comedic value in them. I personally read the Cyanide and Happiness comics, which for those who don't read is a childish comic written by 4 guys and they are 90% ridiculous puns that have to do with either violence, terminal illness, or suicide. Every year they have what they call "Depressing Comic Week" which is, quite literally, a week full of comics that have no punch-line, just incredibly sad situations. Yet somehow individuals such as I find them funny. Who knows, maybe laughing bad things off is just a coping mechanism that has somehow engrained itself into the "funny" section of the brain.

Now I'm not going to go and say I'm a perfectly sound and healthy person, I think most people who think they are perfectly healthy mentally probably have some problem that they wouldn't consider part of a mental illness. Whether that be insecurities or arrogance or whatever, they will all plague you in one way or another, and I think finding horrific situations funny is probably one that would affect you the least. After all, you don't come across a gruesome scene every single day, but you might be overly concerned about your weight every single day. Very rarely would I let my mental deficiency affect my day to day life.

Back to Loughner, the article had this quote

On April 24, for instance, Mr. Loughner titled an online thread: "Would you hit a Handy Cap Child/Adult?" He wrote: "This is a very interesting question."

Now I'm not trying to defend Loughner, but this is typical of anyone who has ever visitted /b/ on 4chan. I don't think ANYONE in /b/ is of sound mental state either, but I don't necessarily write them all off as criminals, murderers, or rapists waiting to happen. Often its just a place to vent, let it all out. I think the reason why someone might avidly visit a site like this is because it lets them know that they are not alone. Its like a support group without the holistic stigma or guilty feelings. There isn't any study one could realisticly pull off to prove that a site like this reduces crime, but when you look at the statistics of the real world environment, the internet and the propogation of this nasty stuff has shown a drop in the rate these crimes occur per population. Whether Loughner meant to pose this question as an intellectual thought discussion, something to start a flame war, or something to prop up some laughs, is entirely unknown. Did they ask him? I'd be curious to know why he did it from his point of view.

I guess what I'm getting at, the TL;DR is this:
Whatever they find, be it gruesome, disturbing, or all around disgusting, it shouldn't be considered conclusive evidence that something was wrong - after all there are hundreds of people who make the same kinds of comments who don't go around killing people. Just something to think about.

They are building a case (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865798)

Why exactly is this news or a surprise? Will everyone be shocked because they request credit card, banking and cell phone information too?

Re:They are building a case (2)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865852)

Will everyone be shocked because they request credit card, banking and cell phone information too?

THEY CAN DO THAT???!??!?! :p

Re:They are building a case (2)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865964)

Why exactly is this news or a surprise? Will everyone be shocked because they request credit card, banking and cell phone information too?

No, but the first few times they did request phone or credit card information it was news. There was a time when cell phones weren't a ubiquitous part of our world, so this serves as a reminder of what is becoming a larger and more involved part of our lives. If this happens in a dozen more high-profile cases, it will no longer be interesting, just like cops/jobs using Facebook is becoming a very boring story now compared to a few years ago.

Re:They are building a case (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865984)

It is a surprise because it does nothing to prove that he did, or didn't shoot a bunch of people. This is for the later "blame game" that will be played out by the lawyers that has no real bearing on guilt or innocence of the suspect. The end "blame game" is of course not part of "justice" in any sense, but has become ingrained into the legal system because it plays upon the emotions and sympathies of juries.

Re:They are building a case (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866330)

It's investigating his state of mind and whether he planed it or just went on a random shooting spree.

The FBI (well the prosecutor) wants to be able to counter the insanity claim the defense will make. Or if you have a friendlier view of law enforcement actually want to determine if he is legally sane...

But yes, if he's been playing GTA/whatever then the media circus is warming up.

Re:They are building a case (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866518)

Legally a crime of passion, and premeditated murder are two different things. If they can prove he discussed killing her in advance, it matters.

Not to mention they may need to build a case against a possible insanity plea.

Not to mention the fact that he came to scene with another person. People keep forgetting there may be an accomplice here who hasn't been arrested. If they believe he discussed and planned the murders with an accomplice, then finding those conversations is critical.

Not only that (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866124)

They want to see if he's insane or not. Given the amount of crazy this guy has displayed, it is possible he's actually legally insane. Part of determining that will be looking in to the communications he's made. That's going to include things in games, as well as e-mail and so on. The more information the better.

'disturbing to who?' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34865802)

This is just another example of our fascist dictatorial government shitting on free speech.

Re:'disturbing to who?' (4, Insightful)

dougmc (70836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865934)

This is just another example of our fascist dictatorial government shitting on free speech.

Really? Is his right to free speech being infringed upon simply because the government is looking to see what he said?

If you want to say something but don't want anybody else to know what you said, mumble to yourself. But if you speak out loud, don't be surprised if somebody heard you.

And "freedom of speech" was never about "no consequences for your speech".

Re:'disturbing to who?' (3, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866006)

No, it is not. You do not understand what "fascist" and "dictatorial" actually mean. Plus, exhortation to violence is not protected speech. Finally, even if it were protected speech, the government is allowed to access it with a warrant while building a criminal case. You, sir, are an idiot.

Re:'disturbing to who?' (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866152)

I'm pretty sure "exhortation to violence" is actually protected speech (in the US), as long as it's not immediate violence - a clear and present danger. If a skinhead website wants to go on a rant about how the Jews are evil and should be killed, without suggesting any specific and immediate illegal acts ("are there any queers in the theater tongiht? Get em up against the wall!"), that's protected. Eventually we'll fuck the constitution yet again and outlaw unpopular speech (aka hate speech), but it hasn't quite happened yet.

Re:'disturbing to who?' (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866264)

Correct, it must be an immediate exhortation to violence. Sorry if that was unclear.

If you don't like what someone is saying.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866180)

Then turn off the computer.

For example, I think you're a shit eating fuckface. Don't like that? Turn off your computer. Pussy.

Re:If you don't like what someone is saying.. (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866316)

U mad?

Re:'disturbing to who?' (2)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866552)

Personally, I think free speech should be an absolute. Thusly I should be able to say I think all Yankee fans should die in a fire without fear of being dragged to court for it. All speech, even hate speech, should be protected.

That being said, this isn't an issue of prosecuting him for speech. It is a matter of using his statements to prove the murders were premeditated.

Re:'disturbing to who?' (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866722)

If free speech is an absolute, and all speech is protected, then libel and slander would not be crimes. You okay with that?

Re:'disturbing to who?' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866652)

Your statement is borderline crazy. Please educate yourself on the actual rights provided by the constitution so you can identify the many actual abuses made by the US government. This isn't one of them.

There is something about your tone that makes me fear for the lives of congress-people.

Re:'disturbing to who?' (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866678)

The guy shot 20 people in broad daylight, killing six including a little girl, an old man trying to shield his wife with his body, and a federal judge. Among the 14 wounded were a US Rep who may never fully recover. He was only prevented from killing more people by people tackling him during a reload... If ever there was an excuse to get a warrant for some transcripts this is it.

Re:'disturbing to who?' (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866710)

You're talking to people who have no idea what evidence is, or the chain of evidence. Or how it's used in law to build a case, this is pretty much normal, run of the day type of stuff.

Seems fair (3, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865872)

Obviously, they have plenty of probable cause connecting him to an actually serious crime, and they probably obtained a warrant in this case to get these records. While Loughner may not have left explicit notes along the lines of "I'm going to shoot people", it would definitely be relevant for the purpose of establishing his mental state.

Not every search-and-seizure is objectionable, you know. Sometimes, the government is actually doing its job properly.

shame on you (1, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866114)

every time someone in the government so much as sneezes, you are supposed to read their actions as the continual destruction of our rights and the inevitable vise-like tightening towards the establishment of worldwide freedom crushing fascism

not, you know, meat and potatoes law enforcement

so shame on you. where is your requisite dose of paranoid schizophrenia when making comments on a comment board? i have never been so outraged at such a reasonable and even tempered post in a long time

now get back to your keyboard and find something to whine about hysterically!

Re:shame on you (1, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866730)

now get back to your keyboard and find something to whine about hysterically!

You know what makes me sick? You know what makes me so mad I just want to punch a kitten?

People not using proper capitalization and punctuation. Seriously, what the hell is your problem? Carolingian script was invented to make it easier to separate words and sentences. What do you have against the period? Did a period kill your parents or something? I almost hope one did - anyone too lazy to use proper punctuation deserves no parents.

It's two buttons. Two simple buttons: a shift, and a period. The same two buttons necessary to produce the > you needed to separate your paragraphs. Not that difficult. You seem to have no problem with the comma, or the exclamation point, or the question mark. Why you would skip the capitalization and the punctuation is beyond me.

You, sir, have murdered the English language. Murdered, I say!

Re:Seems fair (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866376)

Yes, it certainly is fair. It would have been preferable if the admin in question had demanded to see a warrant first though. Demanding a warrant every time will help stop FBI fishing expeditions, and only inconvenience those who really deserve the data a tiny bit.

I'm Sorry.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34865876)

But why?
I mean, how does this help?

Complete travesty (1)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865880)

Oh no. An agency authorized by the people to keep them safe has used the system we created to keep the people safe. Will there be no end to this tyranny?

Web Gaming Communication (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865898)

Hey, I have no doubt Loughner said some creepy stuff on some online games. I have $10 that says none of it was half as bad as the shit that I hear Halo-playing 12 year olds say on XBox Live at night though.

Re:Web Gaming Communication (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866030)

What twelve year old says shit creepier than "I know how to keep you alive for a week while I eat your flesh?"

Re:Web Gaming Communication (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866166)

One that plays a lot of Plants vs Zombies.

FBI make reasonable request (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34865942)

for case. This is what they are supposed to be doing.

Re:FBI make reasonable request (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866230)

Correct, though "asked" raises the question on if they issued a warrant, subpoena or if they did it informally. The article isn't clear on this.

Rather pointless... (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866034)

It is rather pointless to get this information and perhaps dangerous. Things said in-game could be construed by others to mean things other than what they intended. While undoubtedly Loughtner is guilty, it sets a disturbing precedent where people will be judged out of context for what they said. I mean, whats next? Arresting someone because they said in the middle of a Call of Duty game that they were going to shoot someone (referring to the game)?

Re:Rather pointless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866284)

As someone else has stated, it blocks certain defence strategies as it would prove premeditation. Not that every comment someone makes in a game is fact that they are planning something. But after the fact, if someone does something, and there is proof they said they were going to do something, it limits you defence strategy (and strengths the prosecution's chances of winning what should be a slam dunk case).

Re:Rather pointless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866290)

I bet if you started making specific threats against the President of the US multiple times while playing Call of Duty you'd probably get a visit from the Secret Service. They take ALL threats against the President seriously. What they are doing here is preparing to fight the insanity defense that Laughner is likely to use. If they can demonstrate that he actively discussed and planned the attack then they can fight that defense. They also need to be 100% certain that Laughner was acting alone and that there aren't any other people (nutjobs like him or not) that he conspired with and who may still pose a threat.

Re:Rather pointless... (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866332)

Just about any trial will involve a jury judging intent. Saying in Call of Duty that you were planning to shoot someone is not particularly confusing when it comes to intent, and any defense lawyer would be sure to point that out. OTOH, saying that you were plannning to shoot someone by their real name when there's no record of them ever playing CoD, that would be quite relevent to intent.

In the current culture of paranoia, I'm careful about discussing gaming topics in public places, because someone who overheard wouldn't understand the context. But in-game? The context would be clear.

"Dangerous"? (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866386)

No, this isn't "Dangerous", it's part of the give and take of a criminal trial, and requesting this information was a perfectly proper thing to do. Just like you can use phone recordings, e-mail messages, letters, conversations, etc.... why should there be special status for his online message transcripts?

Yes, things can be taken out of context. And that is an argument the defense can make, should the prosecution choose to use this evidence in the trial. The mere possibility of the evidence being mis-interpreted is no reason for the evidence never to be collected.

SirWired

Re:"Dangerous"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866496)

Too bad that criminal trials have turned into political games of give and take. Would be nice if they'd try something new, like truth. Maybe even some justice too. Oh well, just a fantasy of mine...

Re:Rather pointless... (1)

rs1n (1867908) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866416)

It is rather pointless to get this information and perhaps dangerous. Things said in-game could be construed by others to mean things other than what they intended. While undoubtedly Loughtner is guilty, it sets a disturbing precedent where people will be judged out of context for what they said. I mean, whats next? Arresting someone because they said in the middle of a Call of Duty game that they were going to shoot someone (referring to the game)?

Are you serious? Please; at least use your head a bit. You assume too much when you think a court will simply accept that Player John Doe saying he wants to shoot someone in the game actually translates to wanting to kill someone in the real world. The prosecution would have to provide enough evidence proving without-a-doubt that your game chats indicate suspicious behavior. Unless you have vigilante lawyers, what is more likely to happen is that they would easily decide whether anything said in-game AND WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE GAME is pertinent to the case. So unless you say anything remotely related to the shootings, they really couldn't care less about you since they already have the guy they want to nail.

Re:Rather pointless... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866522)

It's not pointless, they are going to be looking for and at everything he has written or said for as far back as they can be bothered.

For all they know he wasn't a loan gunman and was just the action guy of a larger plot involving other people (the probability of this is essentially 0 but you never know).

If they find evidence of planning that makes for better chance of them getting the outcome they want in court.

all this time.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34866178)

it was computer games that caused this!!!

I KNEW IT!!

Sooo... (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866524)

It would be, actually, so easy for terrorists to communicate on games like Counter Strike.

Incriminating text (4, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34866564)

According with several FPS game logs, we have a lot of mass murderers around. They even found there who sniped the player Jfk
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