This is some really interesting stuff and people should be very aware. The research that this and other similar projects may generate could be a useful tool, but could also lead to may “false positive” conclusions.
Be careful who you frag. Having eliminated all terrorism in the real world, the U.S. intelligence community is working to develop software that will detect violent extremists infiltrating World of Warcraft and other massive multiplayer games, according to a data-mining report from the Director of National Intelligence.
The Reynard project will begin by profiling online gaming behavior, then potentially move on to its ultimate goal of “automatically detecting suspicious behavior and actions in the virtual world.”
The cultural and behavioral norms of virtual worlds and gaming are generally unstudied. Therefore, Reynard will seek to identify the emerging social, behavioral and cultural norms in virtual worlds and gaming environments. The project would then apply the lessons learned to determine the feasibility of automatically detecting suspicious behavior and actions in the virtual world.
U.S. Spies Want to Find Terrorists in World of Warcraft (Feb 22, 2008; Wired: Threat Level)