SXSW Gaming Events Cancelled After ‘Threats Of Violence’

Well this is a mess but here goes, two gaming events have been cancelled at the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) festival that is due to take place next year (March 2016), after organisers confirmed they have become victim to continuous threats of violence which includes a direct message of the potential for violent behaviour “on site”.

At first, the content of the discussion panels seem compelling and rather innocuous considering the alleged reaction, the first was coined “SavePoint: A discussion on the Gaming community” while the other was named “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games”  The former was there to primarily analyse the social and political landscape within the ever-changing and diverse gaming community as well as a closer look at the journalistic integrity of gaming journalists themselves; the latter was focussed on data around abuse in larger gaming communities as well as other related topics.

Sounds interesting right? Indeed, the reason this has somewhat blown up in the organisers faces is down to the panels referring to the madness known as “GamerGate” neither panel was officially linked to this subject but did intend to discuss issues associated with both sides of the row. SavePoint was due to feature prominent GamerGate supporters while Level up was likely to feature an argument, sorry discussion against Harassment in games and I would have thought GamerGate would have come up at some point.

So that’s it, no, supporters of the GamerGate campaign suggest that they themselves have been the victim of “abuse after they tried to highlight conflicts of interest in the video games industry. The organisers of SavePoint have announced that they will go ahead with plans to host a panel discussion themselves and will do so by other means.

To add to the complications, media organisation BuzzFeed has threatened to boycott SXSW unless the festival reinstated both parties, which looks unlikely at this time considering both panels are fearful of their safety. Buzzfeed released a statement that reads as follows,

“We will feel compelled to withdraw [our staff] if the conference can’t find a way to do what those other targets of harassment do every day – to carry on important conversations in the face of harassment. We hope you can support the principle of free speech and engage a vital issue facing us and other constituents on the event.”

I have always felt rather non plus with the ideology of threats of violence, granted, if you received one then you are well within your rights to take it with the utmost of seriousness, but, if someone intended to hit you, they probably would not warn you that they intended to do so in the first place, it rather defeats the point. It’s a tough one, free speech should be the number one focus, but, free speech itself does not mean you can say what you want if there is a chance that it could cause major offence.

It does seem silly though that two gaming events have been cancelled because it has caused this reaction, can’t people debate like adults and others listen with respect like adults without the need for threats?

McAfee Says Mobile Malware Threats on the Rise in 2014

Cybercriminals are finding great success using mobile malware to compromise features and vulnerabilities of legitimate apps and services, according to the McAfee Labs Threats Report: June 2014.

Much of the attention focuses on the Google Android mobile operating system, but Apple iOS users are vulnerable to malware and other sophisticated attacks, too.

In addition, there are a growing number of mobile malware that target trusted apps and services users grant permissions to on smartphones and devices.  Threats such as Android/BadInst.A, Android/Waller.A, and Android/Balloonpopper.A are increasingly common and can do everything from money-transfers to accessing app stores.

Here is what Vincent Weafer, McAfee Labs Senior VP, said in a press statement:

“We tend to trust the names we know on the Internet and risk compromising our safety if it means gaining what we most desire.  The year 2014 has already given us ample evidence that mobile malware developers are playing on these inclinations to manipulate the familiar, legitimate features in the mobile apps and services we recognize and trust.  Developers must become more vigilant with the controls they build into these apps, and users must be more mindful of what permissions they grant.”

McAfee’s “zoo” of mobile malware samples increased a whopping 167 percent year-over-year, with suspicious URLs also rising 19 percent – more than 18 million – during Q1 2014.

Mobile users should run some type of anti-virus software on mobile devices, though security researchers recommend also installing an anti-malware solution.

Thank you to McAfee for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of GSM Nation

Justin Carter Out On Bail After Anonymous Person Posted $500,000 Bail

When does your online life become your real life? Always, apparently. As a bonus anything you do in your life, especially any felony actions will stay to haunt you forever! Justin Carter, 19 and a gamer at heart was placed in jail and given a $500,000 bail for making a comment.

“Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head,” “I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts.” Making this comment on Facebook after a League of Legends match.

Not only is the comment considered a “Terroristic Threat” or “Criminal Threat” in some places, it can carry a 10 year prison sentence. Carter has already spent nearly four months in jail awaiting trial. Making a comment, sometimes even taking a single action could place the title of Felon over your name for the rest of your life in the United States, there are no second chances.

For those of you who are gamers, most likely know that what he said is just trash talk, and anyone in their right mind would likely know that he was not serious. After making the comments Carter supposedly followed the comment with “lol” and “JK”, which stand for Laugh Out Loud, and Just Kidding.

Much trash talk from gamers or anyone online for that matter, many times consist of homophobic, racist, threatening and sexist remarks. While many websites, and even games give you a feature to report said comments, or even posts, someone felt the need to report this comment to the police.

For those of you who have heard about this before, and are following the case, you might be interested in learning that Carter has been released from jail. According to Kotaku an anonymous person posted the $500,000 bail. If found guilty, Carter could spend up to 10 years in prison, and carry the lifetime title of felon, not a title that you earn from a video game, but a title you earn in real life. One that will likely haunt him for the rest of his life. If he does earn this title, he will likely be forced to work a dead end job, and be judged by everyone he meets for the rest of his life.

In the State of Texas a “Terrorist Threat” is a third-degree felony.

Do you feel that Carter deserves to earn the title of a felon, and serve a lengthy prison sentence. Or do you think he should be free?

Image courtesy of Christian Post.