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Police Militarization meets Hacker Culture: Swatting

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Published on Jun 5, 2014

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In recent years, a small amount of hackers and gamers have been anonymously reporting fake hostage situations, shootings, and other violent crimes designed to send elite police units, like SWAT teams, to unsuspecting people at their residences.

Swatting is a dangerous and expensive prank, which is easy to pull off. Swatters are utilizing easily accessible technology to mask or even alter the ID during calls to 911 dispatchers. With SWAT teams and paramilitary gear becoming the norm across small town America, these calls have predictably chaotic results.

Despite the hyper-vigilance of America's law enforcement, authorities still struggle to defend themselves from the unlikeliest of threats — tech-savvy teenagers. Police militarization meets hacker culture as VICE News investigates the dangerous crime of swatting.

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