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Epic Games' beta registration mistakes player for terrorist, CEO apologizes

'My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist'

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney has publicly apologized to a fan who was blocked from entering into the upcoming Paragon beta test because he shared the name of several individuals listed as terrorists by the United States government, Gamasutra reports.

Dr. Muhammad Zakir Khan visited the Paragon site over the weekend and submitted his application to enter the beta test for the upcoming MOBA. His name was immediately flagged for being on the Specially Designated Nationals List maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

"As part of its enforcement efforts," the Treasury states on its website, "OFAC publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups, and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers designated under programs that are not country-specific."

Polygon found four individuals named Muhammad Khan in the database, all of whom are listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

"When I went to the website to register for an account, I hit submit and that's when I faced the red text. I was shocked," Khan told Gamasutra. "Initially, I thought I had been hacked ... I felt dehumanized and discriminated against. Frankly, it hurt."

Sweeney apologized on Twitter and said that the issue was due to an "overly broad filter related to US trade restrictions."

Epic, which does business with the U.S. government both directly and through contractors, is subject to the same types of international trade restrictions as many other organizations and is not allowed to trade with designated terrorists as well as certain countries and organizations.