The Xbox 720 raid on Tuesday has some observers wondering just how far the FBI will go to catch their man. The Tech Game has published screenshots of the search warrant of the raid on the Perth, Australia home of tech leaker SuperDaE, also known as Dan Henry. A team of eight West Australian local police officers, accompanied by an unnamed American FBI agent, conducted a five-hour raid searching for evidence of crimes described as “unlawful use of a computer.”
The officers allegedly took everything remotely high tech including DaE’s cell phone. Not one to suffer in silence, he tweeted, “Police raided me,” using a borrowed computer.
Law enforcement officials have refused to comment on the ongoing investigation. However, Tom Warren for The Vergespeculated that the raid is related to SuperDaE’s attempt to sell a Microsoft Xbox Durango development kit on eBay last year — a reasonable guess since eBay, the popular online auction site, and its payment service, PayPal, are also mentioned in the warrant.
It’s a crime to attempt to sell stolen property on eBay, and most development kits are subject to a strict license. Even if someone offered SuperDaE a pre-release peek, he would have likely been asked to sign a strict non-disclosure agreement — and no one really seems to believe that he came by the information on the up-and-up. Microsoft, as Todd Rigney recently reported, has not commented on most Xbox rumors, and so far they have refused to issue a statement on Tuesday’s raid.
Luke Hopewell conducted an indepth interview with the Xbox 720 raid victim for Gizmodo yesterday. Noting that “Dan Henry” is not the man’s real name any more than SuperDaE is, Hopewell reported his side of the story. By any name, the leaker claims that it all started as a prank.
“As a fan of Microsoft and the Xbox, he wanted to spread the word and get people pumped for what to expect in the next-generation of consoles,” Hopewell wrote. SuperDaE thought that selling the Microsoft Xbox Development Kit was a cute prank that would grab some publicity. Instead, he found himself being investigated for corporate espionage.
“The FBI agent told me they’re trying to seek a loophole to extradite me,” SuperDaE told Hopewell. While it isn’t clear to everyone why an FBI agent would reveal that, the erstwhile Dan Henry acknowledged that there is incriminating information on the seized computers. He admitted outright that he “compromised” Valve’s systems.
While it seems likely that a crime was committed, Twitter users are sympathetic to the misguided young leaker. Nabil Freeman echoed the thoughts of several when he tweeted: “#freesuperdae for giving us news that was way more interesting than the PS4 announcement.”
What do you think about the Xbox 720 raid? Does FBI involvement seem like overkill?