Unfair Game: NSA Spys On Online Gamers

World of Warcraft

As more information continues to be revealed of the NSA’s surveillance program, it seems that no stone was left unturned by the agency. More news from Ed Snowden’s whistleblowing is revealing that the NSA even spied on online gamers, especially through the game World Of Warcraft. As reported by guardian.com:

“[A] vision of spycraft sparked a concerted drive by the NSA and its UK sister agency GCHQ to infiltrate the massive communities playing onlinegames, according to secret documents disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The agencies, the documents show, have built mass-collection capabilities against the Xbox Live console network, which has more than 48 million players. Real-life agents have been deployed into virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human avatars of Second Life. There were attempts, too, to recruit potential informants from the games’ tech-friendly users.”

This new information about the NSA shows just how far reaching the spy program is, and also shows that it may be big but not effective. As also reported by guardian.com:

“The ability to extract communications from talk channels in games would be necessary, the NSA paper argued, because of the potential for them to be used to communicate anonymously: Second Life was enabling anonymous texts and planning to introduce voice calls, while game noticeboards could, it states, be used to share information on the web addresses of terrorism forums.

But the documents contain no indication that the surveillance ever foiled any terrorist plots, nor is there any clear evidence that terror groups were using the virtual communities to communicate as the intelligence agencies predicted.”

This is another example of crossing the line between sensible surveillance, and civil liberties. The Snowden documents show that these agencies will spy on just about every part of tax paying citizens civil liberties, and they haven’t appeared to be effective in stopping terrorism. So, when will people begin to push back against the making of a police state?





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