First, you'll need some background. As you know, I sometimes futz around with various programming calls to EVE API data. I also consider myself a rank amateur at this. I've played around a tiny bit with EVE database calls, but it's been well known for a while that there were interesting things being done using Python to make database calls directly to the EVE client (called "injection"). And as background we all know how competitive this game can get, particularly when something like the Alliance Tournament is involved.
This sort of thing is used on Kongregate to earn their achievements all the time, for instance. You have a Kongregate Flash game running on your brower. The data from the Flash game is accessible through memory. With the right tool, you can pause (either naturally or unnaturally) the Flash game, change the data right in it, un-pause, and the game will continue with your changes. Want to get the Kongregate achievement for earning 100,000 points in a particular game? This was an easy way to do it: read and change the data right in the game itself through injection. Your score would jump to 100,000 points, Kongregate would see that, and award you the achievement. No muss, no fuss.
OK, here we go. Prepare to get a little sick to your stomach.
It was pretty well known for a while that with locator agent injection, the game actually supplied more or less exact coordinates of the pilot in a system. It was just the game converted those coordinates into either "in a station" or "not in a station" because the coordinates of the stations were things that the game could look up. But if you could access those calls directly, the scanner call told the location of pretty much everything in the system. Given this information, you could triangulate the location of a ship based on the locations of known celestials around them and get a pretty good idea of the first place to put your scanner probes. Do the math well enough and you could just drop scanner probes right on them, even so far as dropping a probe close enough to them to decloak them.
As Leboe put it on FHC:
targetLocation:Yes, this has been fixed. But now Dark 0men is saying it goes even farther than that.
6: [pilot name]
There's a discussion going on on FHC about various Alliance Tournament tactics used in past tournaments. And he's claiming... well, let's start with his own words:
My stuff wasn't locator agents at all. You see, EVE has a "put item into inventory" function call. Where "inventory" is maybe a hangar, and "item" is some ammo or a mod or, if you are a cheater just screwing around, someone's character ID. Obviously, the latter would fail and not do anything, but! It would fail with a Python exception. A Python exception with the database row for the item. So you could try to put someone's character into your ship cargo, and EVE would helpfully tell you their location.This is a bit technical, so I'll translate. Basically, this is a Python injection asking the game to do something impossible: put a character into a ship as cargo. The attempt would fail, of course ("generate an exception"), but in the process, the exception would give you the character's "ship ID", an EVE database record locator. You could then try to put this ship ID into your cargo, that would again fail, but would helpfully supply you with that character's ship type and location. According to a chat log from IRC, the output of this bit of code looked like this:
Now, the location for a character would be their ship item ID (or a station, if they've been just podded and aren't in a pod yet). You would then try to put their ship in your cargo, and get the ship type and solar system/station.
[pilot name] [corp] <alliance> (online) // Drake (1560855321) "Cinderella" // Ruerrotta IV - Moon 2 - Combined Harvest Plantation
How was this used in Alliance Tournaments? Glad you asked. The claim being tossed around is that Pandemic Legion, knowing the names of the pilots that would probably be flying against them in matches, would run this Python injection against all of those pilot names in the minutes leading up to an AT match. While the pilots they were to fly against were waiting for a GM to move them to the tournament grounds, PL would be supplied with the exact ship types of the ships they were sitting in.
Again, this could be a troll. It would be trivial to forge these logs. But it sure sounds plausible given the dramatic success PL had in past ATs, doesn't it? At the time, we all assumed it was because PL just had good spies in the alliances they were flying against. But it strikes me as just as likely that they had a mole working for them: the game itself.