The latest document released from the Edward Snowed show that back in 2008 the NSA (and Britain’s GCHQ) planted agents inside on line games such as like World of Warcraft and Second Life (these games are also known as massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG).
Doesn’t the NSA understand when these game players talk about destroying the world, they aren’t talking about the REAL world?
Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.
Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.
The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents, disclosed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. Because militants often rely on features common to video games — fake identities, voice and text chats, a way to conduct financial transactions — American and British intelligence agencies worried that they might be operating there, according to the papers.
Apparently the spy agencies believed that World of Warcraft and Second Life could
be used for communication between terrorist,
and even help transfer funds.
“Al-Qaida terrorist target
selectors and … have been found associated with Xbox Live, Second Life,
World of Warcraft, and other GVEs [Games and Virtual Environments],” the
document says. “Other targets include Chinese hackers, an Iranian
nuclear scientist, Hizballah, and Hamas members.”
According to the report the evidence not conclusive. The data collected could have
simply meant that someone in the same internet cafe was gaming, or that
whatever PC was being used was at some point used to play video games
at an indeterminate point in the past.
OK, as NSA spying goes, this one is kind of on the silly side. I imagine there is a long shot possibility that games like
these could theoretically be used for the nefarious purposes the NSA
describes, but it’s hard not to laugh at the prospect of some spies in the NSA spending their days on line fighting various monsters, completing quests, and interacting with other players–all on taxpayer money. I just hope Mr. Clapper has the government players restricted via the parental controls.