NSA Confirmed to Be Spying on MMOs

| 9 Dec 2013 19:48

NSA and GCHQ operatives have been monitoring MMOs since 2008.

Videogames are relatively harmless when you get down to it. After all, the very act of playing a videogame generally means becoming involved in an experience that can be, at once, completely enthralling and also completely detached from the real world. Sure, you might gain a bit of heft to you waistline if all you do is sit around playing World of Warcraft but even then, at the end of the day, you're really not hurting anyone.

That being the case, games, to this day, tend to fall under intense scrutiny from varying corners of society, apparently including the "intelligence" community (we added the quotation marks; it seemed appropriate). Yes, it seems that the National Security Agency, scared that the forces of terror might be communicating with each other through games like World of Warcraft and Second Life, has been assigning agents to monitor communications in MMOs since 2008.

This reveal comes from documents leaked by none other than whistle-blower extraordinaire Eric Snowden who fled the United States earlier this years following his exposure of classified documents to society at large. The NSA's activities, along with those of its British counterpart GCHQ, apparently all occurred without the knowledge or consent of game companies, including Blizzard which claims to have been "unaware of any surveillance" efforts taking place.

These efforts apparently were able to identify some persons of interests playing online games, but were rarely able to connect in-game actions to any real world nefariousness. It seems that even terrorists sometimes enjoy some casual level grinding. The only substantial success to come from these efforts was Operation Galican, which apparently broke up a London crime ring. So, in other words, watch you say while you're questing, because you never who's listening.

Source: Propublica

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