It shouldn't be a shock that governments are interested in MMOs and virtual worlds. We hear that they even pay attention to the film industry, television, DVDs and other such new-fangled technological industries that turn over many millions of dollars and involve significant percentages of the population.
The US Government's Project Reynard is a different breed of fox, however. The idea seems fairly simple on the face of it. Convince MMO and virtual world operators to open up their systems for complete surveillance and then try to establish 'normal behavior patterns' and see if it is then possible to determine 'suspicious behavior patterns'.
Yes, this is technically unconstitutional (like all those warrantless wiretaps you may read about in the news), but as we've seen, a simple Executive Order signed by the Chief seems to be sufficient to brush that trifling obstacle aside.
PBS' Bill Moyers Journal takes a look at the whole issue, and gives a refreshingly non-sensationalist look at Activision-Blizzard's World of Warcraft and Linden Lab's Second Life, in this rather sobering feature.
[Via WoW Insider]