That Was Fast: Woman Arrested For Virtual Murder Of Virtual Husband

from the fantastic dept

Earlier this week, in writing about some kids convicted of theft in the real world, I jokingly asked if we’d soon hear of someone arrested for “murder” for killing a virtual character. Who knew it would happen so fast? Okay, actually, it’s not that extreme, but a woman in Japan has been arrested (in real life) for “killing” the avatar of her virtual husband, who had apparently “virtually” divorced her. The charges are not for murder (phew), but illegally accessing his computer. She basically logged in to his account and killed off the character. Of course, you might argue that she didn’t do anything illegal, since the guy had given her his password in “happier times” and hadn’t changed it. Also, again, this certainly seems like the sort of thing that could (and should) have been taken care of directly in the world. The folks who run the world could easily revive the guy, and kick the woman out of the world. Case closed.

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Comments on “That Was Fast: Woman Arrested For Virtual Murder Of Virtual Husband”

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Rob says:

Actually, it’s no big deal if they were virtually killed. Every game I know has a resurrect option with small, if any, penalty. If she actually Deleted the character, that would be different.

Since he gave her the account information, it then means that she did NOT “break in” but merely abused the privilege he had given her. I don’t see this as being something to arrest her for and charge her with – and I’m a gamer. Of course, not even my wife has MY password…

Anonymous Coward says:

This would be a big deal if she had been arrested for murder. But she was arrested for illegal access to a computer. That is a whole different thing.

I am disappointed in techdirt for publishing this article. It is hyping something in the headline that simply is not true. I don’t see any difference between this and someone hyping that video games promote violence or that piracy is ruining the recording industry. Please, please don’t become what you have fought so hard against for years.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I am disappointed in techdirt for publishing this article. It is hyping something in the headline that simply is not true.

Actually, many of the mainstream press are using a headline about murder, but I specifically chose to highlight VIRTUAL twice, to make the point of how silly that was. Perhaps it was too subtle? The headline is mocking the concept…

Plus, the post is quite clear on what happened. So I don’t think we have fallen into the hype problem you describe.

Igor says:

Makes total sence

I do not see what the problem is (except that some prosecutor’s office had so little work that they bothered with this case).

Forget the game. She accessed his account w/o authorization. The fact that he gave her a password is irrelevant. It is people and not the passwords that grant/deny authorization.

Since the husband (obviously) never say directly or even implied that he is authorizing her to login to his account to deliberately perform such actions as killing his avatars, she was doing so without authorization.

Just imagine instead of screwing up his “avatar state information”, she was “deleted his doctoral thesis research notes” stored in some account to which he had previously gave her a password. Both are purelly “the state of some bits on some magnetic media”.

Overtkill says:


She could have given him a bad haircut and a few tattoos in raunchy places. That would likely be a lesser charge of “Virtual Assault.”

You know the lawyers would have fun with that charge too. I suppose players of games like rainbow six, ghost recon, and battlefield would have some stiff fines place on them. Assault…. a very wide definition. 🙂

Out of curiosity, in what game did this happen??

Igor says:

> Seeing how they are husband & wife and he gave her his password, it would be a civil case, not a criminal one.

What are you smoking? Who cares whether they were “married” or who gave whom a passowrd?

I can give a neighbor keys from my house, so in case I lock myself out, I can ask him to open my door. That does not give him any more rights AT ALL to come into my house to destroy my furniture.

Anonymous Coward says:

Arrest someone over this? It’s not hacking by any stretch of the imagination. You leave your account and password out for anyone and you take this chance. The furthest this should have gone is banning her account and restoring his. It’s a story because how far the police went in this case…which it should have been a civil matter.

chad says:

They were only married in the game. She is wrong. she should be held to some kind of penalty. It could have been his bank account or his wrok files or any number of importan info we now trust our computers to “hold” safe for us. If she gets away with it,how long till it is ok for me to hack all your money out of your bank and get away with it???

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