On Friday, Darius III (D3) made an interesting claim on the EVE Online forums:
In mid 2012 I was contacted by a leader of one of the largest alliances in the game and he asked me if it was true that CCP was intercepting player communications.EVE News 24 picked up on the story and expanded on it not long after the message was posted on the forums. The short version, as I understand it? CCP developers are known to play EVE, but are discouraged (but not forbidden) from taking place in large-scale sov warfare. In this case, one CCP employee apparently claimed to Darius III that a second CCP employee playing EVE on the side of the Honey Badger Coalition used his access to tap into either personal EVE mails or alliance EVE mails of the Southern Coalition during the war between these two groups in mid-2012.
Indeed that was true-CCP intercepted player communications.
Under the various rules that manage communications between EVE players and CCP employees, plus the additional rules that D3 agreed to when he became part of the CSM, he believed he could not legally share this information at that time. But at some point in the last six months, D3 apparently received additional confirmation from some public source that confirmed his original information. Since the second source was public domain, he supposedly now feels comfortable revealing this information.
Remember: this isn't me saying these things. This is me doing my best to present what I believe happened from D3's perspective while trying not to judge. Got that?
Great. Let's start judging.
Let's get the obvious bit out of the way: I would be stunned if CCP didn't monitor and log in-game player communications. If I make a claim of real-life threats or harassment and the supposed perpetrator denies it, how is CCP supposed to confirm or refute these claims and then take appropriate action without such logs? So the real question here isn't whether CCP intercepted those communications. I think we can accept that as a given: CCP captures everything you write in EVE mails, alliance mails, and chat logs and stores it somewhere. The real question is "Did a CCP employee use player communications to his or her own advantage, or to the advantage of the in-game entity that employee was part of?"
And that comes down to CCP internal accountability: who has access to those logs, and under what conditions may they be accessed? That's the part we don't know about, and the part D3 isn't sharing.
The problem here, though, is that the claim fails the Occam's Razor test: what is more likely? That a CCP employee risked his or her paycheck, reputation, and the welfare of his or her family for the very dubious benefit of providing intel on an alliance that was massively outnumbered and outgunned and wavering on the edge of defeat anyway? Or that SoCo communications were compromised by one of EVE's legion of player spies, and someone thought it would be "funny" to claim that their information came from a rogue CCP employee? Which are you more likely to believe? Yeah, me too.
But fine, let's say for a moment that D3's unnamed source (that he can't reveal) is a current or former CCP employee who is absolutely irrefutable and his proof is likewise beyond question. I can hardly think of a more ironic messenger for this message than someone who literally owes his positions on CSM6 and CSM7 to outright lying to hundreds and hundreds of EVE players over a long period of time!
Talk about the boy who cried wolf!
So yeah, I detect a bit of a credibility gap. We'll see where this story goes, if anywhere.