A Palermo, Italy woman’s virtual home in Pet Society, the social pet Facebook game, was recently burgled. Paintings, mirrors, carpets, a jacuzzi, a designer sofa, a billiards table, and an aquarium, items she’d spent around $139 to obtain, were missing. Only the cat remained.
If this were a hackers movie from the 90s, the group responsible would be a crack team of misfits, malcontents, and one attractive girl in a hoodie with a nose ring and a pixie haircut hunkered down on oversized laptops projecting their avatars into “Cyberspace.” Everything would be visual. They’d be clacking away on the keyboard, seemingly at random, and you wouldn’t understand how the keystrokes translated to the incredible things occurring on the screen. The woman’s items would be stored on a floppy disk. They would escape on roller blades.
But alas, it is not a movie. In reality, Italian postal police are investigating a very real crime: “‘illegal and aggravated entry’ into someone’s email account.” SInce there’s no legitimate way to “steal” in Pet Society, I imagine these guys had to gain access to her account in order to “give” her stuff away. However they did it, the charges carry a potential prison sentence of between one and five years.
This might sound a bit silly, but just because the goods are virtual doesn’t erase the fact that real money was spent. Goods are goods, $139 is $139, and theft is theft. You could even argue that it’s more troublesome given the ramifications of their intrusion on her privacy. If they could access her Pet Society account, what other information do they have on her?