Seattle police roll out a 'registry' that allows 'swatting' targets to better protect themselves
Seattle's new initative could save livesBy Cohen Coberly 49 comments
Although choosing to livestream video games for a living doesn't necessarily carry the same risks as being a police officer or firefighter, that doesn't mean it can't be dangerous.
As we've seen time and time again, the internet can be a ruthless place at times; that was made evident in December when 25-year-old Tyler Bariss allegedly "swatted" a fellow Call of Duty player. Bariss reportedly called the police and claimed said player had killed his father and was about to kill the rest of his family.
Unfortunately, the address -- which was in Wichita, Kansas -- given to Tyler was not his opponent's, but an innocent civilian's. When the SWAT team arrived at the individual's home, one team member shot and killed 28-year-old Andy Finch, who was merely opening the door after allegedly hearing noises outside.
Though Bariss has since been arrested and charged with manslaughter, police in Seattle are looking for a more future-proof solution.
In a blog post published recently, the city's Chief of Police, Carmen Best, announced that her department has launched a "registry" that allows prominent gamers to list themselves as potential swatting targets.
In theory, this would allow officers responding to a hoax call to tailor their response appropriately. Instead of going in under the assumption that a streamer is actually a domestic terrorist, they might be a bit more skeptical and practice restraint.
This is certainly great news for Seattle-based streamers, gamers, and other internet personalities, but only time will tell how well the new registry will work in practice.