World of Warcraft “Law Enforcement Guide” supposedly reveals what Blizzard would reveal about you to the cops
Starting in 2009, Blizzard started permanently storing IP addresses to connect to activity within World of Warcraft in order to cooperate with law enforcement for whatever reason law enforcement might need it, and these days it could be pretty much anything. Anyway, AntiSec got a hold of Blizzard’s Law Enforcement Guide from a couple years ago, outlining what information they would share with the po-po.
Blizzard never details which types of crimes law enforcement people might think are happening among WoW players, but they acknowledge that they get more law enforcement requests for that game than their others (bear in mind, of course, that this guide was from 2009, before StarCraft II was released).
There isn’t much game jargon in the guide. The authors don’t delve deeply into WoW lore for the cops, but one element of the game is relevant, according to page 5:
Players on each WoW server are separated into two separate factions: Alliance and Horde. For purposes of law enforcement requests, this is noteworthy only because neither faction can communicate in-game with any member of the other faction. On certain servers, however, a single account can create characters belonging to each faction.
The Blizzard guide’s authors state that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act governs Blizzard’s ability to disclose information about its players, most of which it will provide if issued a subpoenas, court orders and search warrants. Of course, that information has to be available, which is not guaranteed, not even for something like WoW which exists entirely on a computer.
There are a few pieces of information about WoW gamers that aren’t available to the public but that Blizzard would be able to give out, according to the guide. In response to a subpoena the company would be able to provide “identity and log-in information”, “but requires a court order to disclose additional user records, or search warrant to authorize disclosure of any online communications (‘player chat’).”
“For example, if law enforcement seeks ongoing information about a user’s IP address each time they log-in to their account, or the real-time monitoring of player chat, the law would require a pen register/trap and trace order in the first instance, and a Title III Wiretap Order in the latter.
In this 2009 document, the guide writer says that, for appropriate legal requests, they would be able to provide a player’s user information:
This information includes: account holders first and last name and address; connection records (including records of session times and durations); length of service (including start date) and types of service(s) utilized; IP address; account name; character name(s); and means of payment (including any credit card or bank account number).
That information is held “indefinitely,” according to the guide, whether the player is active or inactive.
Regarding IP addresses:
Blizzard may produce historic IP logs in response to a grand jury or administrative subpoena under 18 U.S.C. § 2703(c)(2).
Any active or inactive user’s IP log is retained “indefinitely” by Blizzard, “dating back to March 1, 2009.”
Private messages between players are only held for 180 days, according to the guide.