The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has initiated an open investigation relating to the GamerGate scandal.
Muckrock – a website dedicated to news relating to government documents attained through freedom of information requests – reveals that the FBI had rejected a request for files relating to GamerGate because it "would interfere with law enforcement proceedings."
The Bureau's response reads: "The records responsive to your request are law enforcement records; there is a pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding relevant to these responsive records, and release of the information in these responsive records could reasonably be expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings."
GamerGate is the name assumed by an online campaign group which claims to be fighting ethical problems in video game journalism but which has been routinely linked to violent threats against women in the industry.
It started when a relationship was revealed between indie developer Zoe Quinn (whose jilted ex-boyfriend was behind the revelation) and Kotaku journalist Nathan Grayson. It was then assumed that the relationship had led to favourable coverage – which was later proven false by Kotaku editor Stephen Totilo.
This lead to a torrent abuse being levelled at all involved, but especially Quinn, and then later anyone who jumped to the defence of those being targeted, including critic Anita Sarkeesia and developer Brianna Wu.
The furore came to a head when bomb threats led to a Sarkeesian talk at a US university being cancelled. The story made the front page of the New York Times. The above only scratches the surface of GamerGate.
Sarkeesian, Quinn, Wu and others all reported the death threats sent their way and which lead to Wu and Quinn being forced to leave their homes after details of where they lived were exposed online.
The nature of the FBI's investigation, including exactly who or what elements of it are being investigated, is yet to be known.