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NSA Agents Snoop on Gamers

Jessica Valdez / December 10, 2013 at 8:00 AM / Gaming, News

National Security Agency operatives are exceptionally skilled at protecting our country by gathering data on potential terrorists while leveling up and completing quests in the fantasy realm of World of Warcraft.

Both the NSA and GCHQ have sent agents into online gaming spheres such as Second life, World of Warcraft, and Xbox Live to spy on gamers in order to monitor these social outlets for suspicious activity. The agencies were drawn to online gaming because they viewed it as a “target rich communication network.”

Evidently, concern grew because they felt that leaving online gaming platforms neglected would allow terrorists to “hide in plain sight.” According to a 2008 NSA document that was obtained by Edward Snowden individuals could be using the platforms to communicate, move money, and even plot attacks.

The titled document “Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments,” reveals that spies were not just limited to keeping under the radar or hiding behind their avatars and achievements, in fact, they were also recruiting potential informants. Somewhere in the middle of recruitment and slaying mythical characters operatives found time to listen in on gamer conversations. I bet those conversations were sophisticated!

There were so many agents from various agencies constructing their own gaming addictions that a “deconfliction” group was formed so operatives wouldn’t interfere with each others snooping activities. The leaked document does not state whether this online movement has uncovered terrorist plots or generated success in capturing important information.

It just goes to show that even the intelligence community finds it compelling to either become an Orc or an Elf.

[Source: theguardian.com]


Jessica Valdez

RPGs and strategy games are my indispensable weaknesses that often result in surrendering to the call of my console. When I’m not busy looking into the latest gaming news I can be found spending time with family and friends.