Somewhere among the frat boys and the foul-mouthed pre-adolescents that play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 are terrorists, the infamous British tabloid The Sun is reporting.
The paper claims that terrorists may be logging on with these young American gamers — who have a reputation for spouting an irritating stream of insults at competitors — to not only play the game that has been shunned by the core of the online gaming community, but to also plan terrorist attacks.
“It's a terrifying reality. These people waste no time finding a secure method of chatting. They are logging into group games over the internet and discussing terror plots. Security people know about it. For millions who love these games this will be a huge shock. To think fanatics use them for their own ends is a real worry," an unidentified source told the Sun.
The unidentified source, incidentally, was the only source quoted in the piece.
Last month the UK government announced new laws that require communications and data companies to store all information passed between users on the internet.
However, to say that such are anonymous overlooks that fact that in order to play on these multiplayer platforms, the user must pay a fee with a credit card. Users could also purchase a prepaid card from brick and mortar retailers to pay the fee. But it might be easier, and a lot cheaper, to simply use a VPN or a proxy to keep online communication anonymous.
The Sun describes the game in ominous language, writing about the “addicts” who join “clans” online, referring to groups of players that join with their friends to play competitively.
Fox News ran with the story as well, calling the article in the Sun an “investigation.” Fox News also claims that there has been evidence that war video games are used as training tools for insurgents. Fox did not cite any sources for that claim.
But as any gamer will tell you, running up to a group of 10 players and killing them at point blank range with a sniper rifle isn’t exactly realistic. Nor is running people over with fighter jets.
Perhaps if the Taliban in Afghanistan start drop shotting American soldiers — then there may be some cause for concern.
Meanwhile in Washington, the Smithsonian American Art Museum is showcasing the “Art of Video Games” exhibit, attracting more than 18,000 visitors last weekend. The exhibit takes a chronological look at story lines and technology involving the making of video games over the past three decades, citing their unique ability to blend visual art and graphic design with literature.
Terrorists looking for new training methods were not reported to have visited the exhibit.