Microsoft, Xbox key in missing child case

Microsoft has become involved in the search for Brandon Crisp, a 15 year old from Barrie, Ontario, about 100 km north of Toronto. The company, which runs the Xbox Live service, has increased the reward amount for helping to find Brandon to $50,000, according to the CBC. They also said that they were open to the idea of getting information from the Xbox itself.

Brandon went missing over the Canadian thanksgiving weekend, on October 13. His parents have said he became addicted to "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare", and threatened to take his Xbox away. The child fled the home, and hasn't been seen since.

Brandon had also become involved in "teams" that competed on Live, which the parents say "gave him a new identity", and taking the Xbox away "stole that identity from him", which they believe is the root cause behind him running away.

Their largest worry at this point is that he's being held against his will, possibly by someone who he met through Microsoft's Xbox Live service. Microsoft is assisting to the best of their ability in the search, even breaking their privacy policy to try and find who may be responsible for the missing boy. Police are analyzing both Brandon's laptop and Xbox hard drive to try and find a new clue that could lead to a breakthrough in the search.

Several of his belongings, including his bike, have been found abandoned in the area of his home, leading both his parents and police to believe mischief may be behind his disappearance.

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It's really sad what happend, those who don't know, the boy was found today. near his home. He passed away from what they believe to be hypothermia.

Well on a lighter note...there goes Xbox Live. LOL jk. anyway I hope they find the kid. I play Halo almost 98% of the time and well I don't feel like i need to go kill a bunch of aliens that breathe methane to feel normal. I hav created an alternate identity and i do hav alternate friends...but wat keeps me sane and normal is reality, friends, and family. If i didnt know that i would feel bad that i didnt spend time with any of those I probably would hav done the same thing as this kid when his parents took it away. but i dont feel that Microsoft is to blame...afterall it is in their terms and agreement that they are not responsible for pedophiles and that the parents should b more proactive with their children by sitting down with them and discussing what not to do while talking to ppl over the internet...

I don't have an XB or XBL, but could someone post the relevant portion of the privacy policy? Whether or not it is moral to break the privacy policy are pretty meaningless when everyone is just speculating as to the content of it.

I completely understand why Microsoft broke the privacy policy - It's for a good cause, and they only broke it to access one kids Xbox LIVE account, that's it - stop bitching on about what Microsoft should/shouldn't do, that policy is there to break in case it's needed, it can save a life.
You would be more than grateful if your life was saved just because of your stupid little privacy policy that was broken and your account accessed and crucial information was retrieved!

In a way I do blame the parents for letting their kid play such long hours which in return became an addiction, that is why Microsoft added "Parental Control" to the console, so that parents have the SAY over how long and how much is played!
The fact that he is 15 years old doesn't justify anything, he's still a kid living at home and not an adult looking after himself!

Some of you people are just sick and disgusting with your own opinions.

When a person goes missing, the first 48 hours are CRITICAL to finding that person alive. Using the "proper legal channels" would take WEEKS and literally ensure that the kid is dead long before a subpoena is issued.

I seriously hope none of you go missing, because by your own logic, you would have just signed your own death warrant with red tape.

Stop drinking the kool-aid and realize that in no way does this break the spirit of any privacy agreement. This was a temporary suspension of the rules in a time-critical issue to save the life of a young child.

Get some sense back into those skulls and pray to your god that this kid is found alive.

I don't really see what information they can grab from his Xbox anyway, as I doubt he will be using his account nor are any of the people who may have him, gonna have it listed in their bio. Good job for MS offering the reward as the story does link to their product, but in reality as others have said this is nothing more than a spoiled whiny brat running away because his parents took his toy away.

Letting the kid get addicted is one thing. Stonewalling the police 'cause of some "Privacy Agreement" is another, especially if the police are thinking "abduction/murder". Another thing: I know in the US if you're under 18, you can't enter into a legal agreement. In this case, Microsoft can share the info with the police with the parents permission, which more than likely they gave.

The kid, if he did the whiny brat thing and ran away when his parents finally had enough, will be in for major trouble when he shows back up.

All these people believing that Microsoft are offering this gesture from the kindness of their hearts are deluded. Christmas is approaching and that's a key time to sell Xbox units. Who buys the Xbox units? The parents of course. Now, if parents think that playing Xbox games could, in any way, lead to this sort of problem for their own children, they will be dissuaded from buying them. Never underestimate the paranoia of the modern parent.

Microsoft recognise this and offer some money to try to help get the problem resolved so that the bad press doesn't linger at this critical time of the year. Potentially losing $50,000 now is much better than the amount they could lose through lost sales once the paranoia tightens its grip on the parents who chat outside the school gates. It's always about the money...

If Microsoft themselves abducted the kid and then gave money to try and find him, I would understand your point. But I don't think they would.

This is like Apple donating to the NO on Prop 8. Sure, they could gain from it, but aren't there more important things to look at, like the fact theu actually did it?

To them, a cash grab. To the rest of the world, something that helps nevertheless.

vlsi0n said,
Exactly, I doubt that Microsoft's ulterior motive is to gain applause in order to sell more units.

It isn't about increasing the volume of sales. It's about not losing sales. There is a wealth of difference between the two states. Bad press lingers and has the potential to affect the Christmas sales as word passes from parent to parent. The quicker the issue goes away, the better for Microsoft sales. Christmas is THE vital period for such companies.

Doesn't it strike you as even slightly odd that they only give a damn about lost children when the loss centres around their product? There are millions of other missing children. Do you suppose they will be stumping up cash for any of their safe returns too? I'll bet they don't but let's see shall we?

SniperX said,
Doesn't it strike you as even slightly odd that they only give a damn about lost children when the loss centres around their product?

You want this?
"In other news: Microsoft hacks Nintendo servers to find a missing Wii Fit addict."

SniperX said,
All these people believing that Microsoft are offering this gesture from the kindness of their hearts are deluded.

If anyone thinks your post doesn't pursue egoistic goal they are delusional. Don't you understand I can logically prove that you wrote this post to benefit yourself. It's always about benefits...

RealFduch said,
If anyone thinks your post doesn't pursue egoistic goal they are delusional. Don't you understand I can logically prove that you wrote this post to benefit yourself. It's always about benefits...

Er, yes. Thank you for your razor-sharp retort. You are indeed a master of the put-down response. Was that your way of saying that you disagree with me? Bless. How sweet.

SniperX said,
Microsoft recognise this and offer some money to try to help get the problem resolved so that the bad press doesn't linger at this critical time of the year. Potentially losing $50,000 now is much better than the amount they could lose through lost sales once the paranoia tightens its grip on the parents who chat outside the school gates. It's always about the money...

You're totally wrong. It's not Microsoft fault if the kid flew away. It's parents. If it was the way you mean, why not blame it to Call Of Duty 4??? I mean, other games didn't do that, but COD4 did. It's not about the console or game.

This a is a parents-children issue, not a kid-game one.

Glendi said,
This a is a parents-children issue, not a kid-game one.


Exactly. But he is right as the media IS looking at the video game aspect. As long as they are it is in Microsoft's best interest for this to go away. And yes, this is commendable on Microsoft's behalf.

it's a hard world we live in. i really hope they find him. but one thing i noticed in the comments here above is how some people say that it's good microsoft breached the policy, while still thinking it's wrong to do since the police most likely hasn't requested it. as some of you may understand, the police may not have requested it, but the parents may have requested or at least allowed microsoft to look in his xbox live profile(messages, recent played etc). since the kid is 15, a minor, his parents are his legal guardians, and because of that, microsoft has the legal request needed to breach their policy... and by helping with a reward(which is just pocket money for them anyways), i think microsoft shows the humanity we all should have(even if it's only planned as a pr boost). let us cross our fingers that they find this boy and get him home safely.

whats sad is some of the users responding to this issue, especially on the CBC. I was reading one of the comments about this, and the person said "Why is Micro$oft donating this money? Maybe they just don't want to get blamed later since its their fault the child went missing in the first place" or "Micro$oft has a hidden agenda, they would not donate unless they benefit somehow"... etc.

Personally I think this is good on Microsofts part, its good they are getting involved and helping out the community, especially in finding a missing child. Considering the amount of "friends" the kid has, I wouldn't be suprised if he ran off to another players house and they aren't saying anything because it would jeopordize them losing a teamate for tournaments or something. One of my friends did that, ran away from home to join a professional gaming team. His parents filed a missings person report but he finally sent them an update 6 months later.

Titoist said,
whats sad is some of the users responding to this issue, especially on the CBC. I was reading one of the comments about this, and the person said "Why is Micro$oft donating this money? Maybe they just don't want to get blamed later since its their fault the child went missing in the first place" or "Micro$oft has a hidden agenda, they would not donate unless they benefit somehow"... etc.

Personally I think this is good on Microsofts part, its good they are getting involved and helping out the community, especially in finding a missing child. Considering the amount of "friends" the kid has, I wouldn't be suprised if he ran off to another players house and they aren't saying anything because it would jeopordize them losing a teamate for tournaments or something. One of my friends did that, ran away from home to join a professional gaming team. His parents filed a missings person report but he finally sent them an update 6 months later.


I may be wrong, but follow this thought. If Microsoft couldn't sell game consoles, they would lose quite a bit of their cash. Now obviously the world would never ban game consoles, there's too many arguments against it being harmful, many of which could be true.

But what if the world got to the point where they did ban game consoles because things like this started to happen on a very large scale. Microsoft is trying to save face before anything even starts, and try to help as much as possible to avoid disaster.

Keep in mind this is just a string of thought from where the "hidden agenda" thing comes from, as I don't really believe this myself. But you know, we live in a world of possibility and change, and it wouldn't surprise me if something like this came up in the next 20-40 years.

Just saying, cheers.

This is not tech news, remove Microsoft and the video game from the story and you just have a whiney brat kid who ran away because their parents took ______ toy away. While the child may still be missing, He RAN AWAY, when I ran away, guess what? I didn't want to be found! On a hopeful note, I hope he returns home safely soon and his parents are held liable.

um isn't the privacy policy in place for a reason. i agree that this is a perfectly good time to break it but technically they should NEVER break the privacy policy unless legally forced to. i guess it doesn't mean as much to microsoft as i thought.

We don't know what "breaking the privacy policy" means at this point. They might have just looked at the kids recoreds and shared them with the cops without the need for legal action. That's not a bad thing at all, and somehting I agree with.

Microsoft only broke privacy to let the police know who he might have ran to by looking at who his online friends are. Microsoft has this information, and they felt it would be irresponsible of them not to let the police have it too if it meant it might contribute to his possible safe recovery. The safety of a minor trumps someone's right to privacy in this case.

Airlink said,
Microsoft only broke privacy to let the police know who he might have ran to by looking at who his online friends are. Microsoft has this information, and they felt it would be irresponsible of them not to let the police have it too if it meant it might contribute to his possible safe recovery. The safety of a minor trumps someone's right to privacy in this case.

But isn't the point that it isn't Microsoft's information to give away. My list of friends belongs to me, not Microsoft. I pay Microsoft to keep that list of friends on their servers for my convenience. The data belongs to me and should not be given away.

However, as this kid is a minor, his parents probably gave permission to Microsoft as they are his legal guardians.

TCLN Ryster said,
But isn't the point that it isn't Microsoft's information to give away. My list of friends belongs to me, not Microsoft. I pay Microsoft to keep that list of friends on their servers for my convenience. The data belongs to me and should not be given away.

However, as this kid is a minor, his parents probably gave permission to Microsoft as they are his legal guardians.


The data is on microsoft's servers. They can use it as they want, and in this case they should. Dont want your data given away? Dont use Xbox live. You pay for them to maintain the service, not to protect your information.

The data is on microsoft's servers. They can use it as they want, and in this case they should.

They posted an agreement stating "we won't do the following things with your informationâ€Â¦" then they did one or more of those things. Why is it acceptable for them to break their agreement in some situations (ie: to give information to the police) but not in others (give it to partner-advertisers)?

If the investigators think that whatever information Microsoft has is valuable then they could easily have obtained it through standard legal channels. The legal process for requesting information and Microsoft's privacy policy exist their clients: it's disturbing how readily some people will give up those protections if told it's really important and for a good cause. The same reasoning has allowed for things like extraordinary renditions on a record scale, the PATRIOT act, torture, illegal wire taps, etc.

If they aren't going to be held to their agreement, why even bother with having a privacy policy at all?

I still don't see what the problem is, the main difference between giving it to advertisers and police is that the police aren't advertising off this, they're using this information to help find someone. It's not like they're sending over credit card numbers ... If you or someone you knew went missing, wouldn't you want all options exhausted to try and find you?

another case where a computer game will be responsible for tenage nonsense...

Anyway the game is rated M, that means 17+ in Canada and US... So how come that the kid could play this game? Blame the parents not the game!!!

WAR-DOG said,
another case where a computer game will be responsible for tenage nonsense...

Anyway the game is rated M, that means 17+ in Canada and US... So how come that the kid could play this game? Blame the parents not the game!!!


Bingo. The parents failed to see to it that their child would use either use video games in modernization or not at all. They let their child become so addicted to video games that he literally ran away from home rather than face the prospect of a day without his Xbox It's not the kids fault, and it's not the fault of a video game. Want someone to blame? Blame the parents. They were the ones in charge here. Their child. Their house. Their rules. Their fault. Period.

Airlink said,
Bingo. The parents failed to see to it that their child would use either use video games in modernization or not at all.

I think you chose the wrong word there bud. Moderation perhaps? Modernisation (or Modernization in American English) means something becomes more modern.

Most likely if he was abducted and there wasn't a ransom, since it is far beyond the 48 hour point he is dead and will never be found. Sad times these are, especially since I'm a future parent.

even breaking their privacy policy

Uhh... its a sad thing he's missing and whatever .... but they shouldn't be breaking the privacy policy without just cause and legal action.

simon360 said,
Seriously? This isn't a just cause?

The kid got up and left after his parents took away his xbox. How is him being missing anyone but his own fault?

ellianth said,
The kid got up and left after his parents took away his xbox. How is him being missing anyone but his own fault?

You mean besides the parents who let him get addicted in the first place?

ellianth said,
The kid got up and left after his parents took away his xbox. How is him being missing anyone but his own fault?

Just to get this straight, if it's his own fault he deserves to be kidnapped and forced to do things against his will?

I mean if that's your honest opinion, so be it. I'm just a little bit more kind-hearted than you I guess.

Gamerhomie said,
I'm wondering then what is a just cause. It's not like a kid who plays Xbox LIVE goes missing everyday.

Just cause is a legal term that is determined in court. Not just when one of the parties of the agreement see fit.

I don't think Microsoft would let you get away with it if you just broke their TOU or EULA whenever you wanted, so they shouldn't be able to either.

episode said,
Just cause is a legal term that is determined in court. Not just when one of the parties of the agreement see fit.

I don't think Microsoft would let you get away with it if you just broke their TOU or EULA whenever you wanted, so they shouldn't be able to either.



It's a safe bet that his parents are okay with it.

Eis said,
Just to get this straight, if it's his own fault he deserves to be kidnapped and forced to do things against his will?

I mean if that's your honest opinion, so be it. I'm just a little bit more kind-hearted than you I guess.

Kids must have a guardian until 18 years old if I'm correct.

episode said,
Just cause is a legal term that is determined in court. Not just when one of the parties of the agreement see fit.

I don't think Microsoft would let you get away with it if you just broke their TOU or EULA whenever you wanted, so they shouldn't be able to either.


MS did not have any choice to cooperate.

The police needed the list of his teammates and without MS cooperation would have get it by legal action. And just try to imgine the bad press toward MS if the authorities needed to take legal action to get those informations.

Yeah, I'm glad Microsoft pulled through in this case. We can only hope it will be enough.

It really makes you think, though: I know this isn't the case for most people, but it really shows that video games can be very bad for people, particularly youths, if they play them too much. I'm only 16, and this is definitely making me realize how careful I should be.

simon360 said,
Yeah, I'm glad Microsoft pulled through in this case. We can only hope it will be enough.

It really makes you think, though: I know this isn't the case for most people, but it really shows that video games can be very bad for people, particularly youths, if they play them too much. I'm only 16, and this is definitely making me realize how careful I should be.

well said :-) video games for the majority are completely fine, and for me personally a great way to unwind. however there are some who may be 'outcasts' in real life and find that video games (particularly the multi-player aspect) offer them an escape from their less-than-optimal real life persona, some sort of neo-identity. i think parents should be more keen on their kid's gaming habits and regulate where regulation is needed! i gamed a lot when i was a teenager (i'm only 22 now) and i was lucky enough to have a great life that i didn't need to supplant, but my parents would have no doubt regulated if they saw the necessity. gaming's definitely a great thing but just like a lot of other things, it can be good and bad, depending on the person and the situation they're in!

good for Microsoft though, that's for dang sure!

simon360 said,
Yeah, I'm glad Microsoft pulled through in this case. We can only hope it will be enough.

It really makes you think, though: I know this isn't the case for most people, but it really shows that video games can be very bad for people, particularly youths, if they play them too much. I'm only 16, and this is definitely making me realize how careful I should be.

At sixteen you shouldn't be worrying about that, you should enjoy yourself and understand that some people are more susceptable to addiction at all levels, even if it's the internet, drugs, alcohol or playing on games. Not everybody needs to worry when something like this happens. Nobody should change their life now just because of what happened to this one person.

I just know that it'll be games that get blamed for this happening, when it shouldn't be. Think of how many people are playing games every day all over the world, and how many people is this happening too? Yet it'll still cause a riot about how games should be monitored better etc.