Missing Barrie Teen - "Lured by Gamers?"

But his worst fear is that Brandon, a Grade 10 student, has ventured too far into the fantasy world of a video game to which he was “addicted” and has run into trouble.

“I’m worried he has met someone online through this game. It could be organized crime or someone involved in Internet gambling. Pedophiles can stalk kids through these games,” the tormented father said in an interview last night.

Microsoft responds

The missing teenager was a constant player of the online game Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Microsoft Corp. has bypassed its privacy protocol to assist the investigation, Barrie police Sgt. Dave Goodbrand said yesterday.

On Friday, Microsoft added $25,000 to the reward for information on Brandon’s whereabouts, bringing the total to $50,000.

This is a pretty loaded situation. I seriously doubt that some gamer pedo-clan has taken this kid, and while I hope they locate him, breaching user’s privacy is kinda…not good?

I’m not even sure what they mean here. Neither Live 360 nor CoD4 support clans beyond a simple prefix ID tag. I guess if they can link gamertags to a clan website, that might be able to provide some insight.

Story link 1 and 2

BTW, I don’t blame the parents here at all. Yes, they let the kid play a violent game online, but they seemed to know enough to know he was in a clan. Kids are amazingly good at hiding that stuff. My parents never knew I played in Quake clans when I was 15, and that shit was impossible to monitor compared to Live.

Still, kinda sucks that gamers look like bad guys again.


I can’t imagine why breaking their privacy promise could possibly be considered “not good” in this situation. There is no law or even contractual obligation in action on the other side, and even if there were, presumably the police have some slight reason to believe the kid was somehow doing something related to the game. Even if they are clueless, the fact the kid was involved so heavily in the game that the father knew about it suggests a reasonable lead to follow – perhaps online contacts could provide some hint what the kid was talking about lately or something like that.

So no, I doubt there was an evil pedophile clan at work, and quite possibly his disappearance was something totally unrelated to the game, but the force of the privacy promise from a game company is so incredibly slight that I think it is irrelevant when any real-world situation arises.

I mean, it’s naive to expect privacy to be assured by your ISP or carrier even, for which some laws do apply, much less by some random game company, much less by Microsoft.

Speaking of which, I’m not sure what their privacy policy is - the EULA for Xbox Live specifically says Microsoft reserves the right to monitor your behaviour, communications & actions online and that they may pass information onto authorities.

I doubt the game or clan was involved in any way, but you have to look at it from a parents perspective. He plays an online game all day and talks to people across the internet via voice … and they have no idea what all is being talked about.

I don’t hold it against the parents here if the think the game is involved, it’s probably one of the larger unknowns they have with their son. Hopefully though, they will find this kid just ran away for more mundane and stupid reasons, and he finds his way back home.

Also, what kind of “fantasy world” is one that mimics current combat scenarios worldwide? At least get the press could work on getting the genre right in the damned article.

I didn’t mean “not good” in the sense that Microsoft is killing our rights and we should revolt. I’m all for it if it does help locate this kid.

BTW, IANAL, but I am ignorant and naive. Would MS have different privacy systems in Canada and the US?

My guess would be they are trying to track via IP address where the missing child or persons with access to his Live account logged in from.

In this situation I can’t see why anyone would backlash against the idea that gamers are possibly involved. The first thing police want to know when someone goes missing is “what do they usually do during the day.” If that is playing a game, so be it. Most crimes (as in, more than half of ALL crimes) are perpetrated by people who know the victims in some way, if not personally. It just makes sense to start with the game and his relationships there (if he really did play that often).

Ok, I know about the Parental Controls on the XBox, and I DON’T HAVE KIDS.

It just makes sense to start with the game and his relationships there (if he really did play that often).

From what I’ve seen on local TV, the kid ran away after his parents revoked his XBox privileges.

Then in what sense did you mean it?

Same here. I think having children prevents you from reading about those.