All I cared about were some ridiculous notions that CCP's Team Security is infallible. In every topic of conversation, you had some fool claim that if Team Security banned the dude, then he was guilty, no questions need be asked. Even among prominent members of the community. Questions always need to be asked. Authority should always be under a constant state of scrutiny. Team Security does not have a flawless record, to say otherwise is misleading.
Now, I think Team Security does a pretty good job at what they do. But I don't believe they've done so without error. I don't believe they'll continue to do their job without error. That's simply impossible. And to believe that their job is just 1s and 0s, black and white, that if their system pegs you for wrong doing, then there's no possible way it could be mistaken, well, that's wishful thinking.
I am also concerned about the arrogance of Team Security. The impression I get is that they do not like to cop to errors, do not like to own their errors, and seem more likely to let punishments remain than admit to any error. I find this disturbing.
So, there was a good story about a Team Security screw-up last year, involving a dude from Against ALL Authorities, that was floating about the EVE airwaves. This dude has been playing the game for awhile. He'd been a frequent purchaser of ETCs (EVE Time Codes, the only legal method to purchase PLEX.) He'd apparently purchased thousands of dollars in ETCs over his game career. Anyhow, at some point last year he bought a couple characters off the character bazaar. All legal and done according to CCP policies. Further on in the year, Team Security was conducting one of its RMT sweeps. The two characters that the dude purchased were flagged. The dude's accounts were banned, and all his ISK was confiscated. He was never personally involved with RMT, but was unfortunate enough to have purchased characters belonging to someone who at one time was involved in such activity. He appealed. He petitioned. He asked for escalations. But he could get nowhere with Team Security. The security people only saw two accounts that their system had flagged, a crapload of ISK, and thus guilt was declared, the investigation stopped there. But the dude was persistent, he was not going to give up. And he eventually found somebody, outside of Team Security, who decided to look into it a bit themselves. He just wanted someone to compare some datetime stamps. The CCP fellow did so, the dude's claims were worth looking into further. The issue returned to Team Security, where it was eventually determined that the fellow had done no wrong. His accounts were reinstated, all his ISK was returned, and CCP "rewarded" him with a bunch of extra/free time for the trouble and hassle he had to endure.
Now, if this poor fellow had come on EVE's forums to complain about his plight, you'd have had many people calling him a liar, a scammer, a dirty cheat. Some of those same people would have argued that because Team Security had banned and confiscated his wealth, that he was no doubt guilty as hell. That Team Security did not have to explain their actions to him, they did not have to escalate his complaints. They obviously had him dead to rights. People would have said all of that, and they would have been fucking wrong.
Authority needs scrutiny. There shouldn't even be a debate about that.
It seems clear to me, that Team Security is capable of some monumental blunders. Their procedures to catch these blunders were not functioning in the case outlined above.
In searching for false positives (and the "story" above) I came across the following quote by CCP Sreegs:
In every single case we've found where someone was flagged for RMT who shouldn't have been, they were doing something else they shouldn't have been. Not so much a false positive as a positive for the wrong activity.I don't know about any of you, but that statement raises about twenty red flags. Exceptionally disturbing. "We make mistakes, but even our mistakes are righteous." Arrogance piled on top of arrogance.
If that is the case, that's just bad policing. "We didn't get Joe on the murder charges, but we did find a pirated Pretty Woman DVD in his recreation room. It's a darned good thing we put him through the ringer on murder, otherwise we would have never discovered that he was a dirty pirate. Justice served!"
I realize that CCP is a private corporation, and not beholden to ideas such as human rights, expectations against unreasonable search and seizure, that sort of thing. But seriously, maybe just a smidgen of ethics is appropriate? It almost sounds like a witch hunt, 'Dammit, Jim, we couldn't get him on the RMT, he must be guilty of something. Dig. We've got to find anything, otherwise admit to error!" This is probably not what is happening, but it's certainly a valid perception given the optics of Sreegs quote above.
The next bit, before I bring it up, it needs a quick preamble. I do not believe that Team Security has engaged in any wrongdoing at the moment. I do not believe that Team Security requires any investigation at this time.
I've done a bit of asking around. (Though, not via Sreegs, who I do not know how to contact privately.) As far as I can determine, CCP's security department consists of four people. Sreegs is the Director of Security. Two additional employees work on player security issues, and one employee is assigned to internal affairs. All report to Sreegs.
Internal affairs' primary responsibility is to ensure that CCP employees are not engaging in inappropriate conduct with players (i.e., supplying them with unfair advantage, or putting themselves in a position where they can be accused of it.) As far I can tell, the internal affairs job is not full-time, and that employee helps mostly with player security issues (e.g., botting and RMT activities).
Funky Bacon characterized internal affairs as some sort of ninja team, who work outside the purview of CCP Sreegs. Which is not the case at all. The internal affairs guy is just a nerd, not unlike us other nerds, sitting within smile distance of his boss.
To sum up. Team Security is doing a mostly admirable job. Team Security has made some large mistakes in the past. Team Security, like any department, could (and should) work on improving its processes, both in terms of detecting illegal behaviour, and ensuring that false-positives (and claims of such) are taken seriously and investigated diligently.