Report: MMOs targeted by intelligence agencies
Posted: 09.12.2013 14:17 by Simon Priest Comments: 4
According to the latest reports from The Guardian from the Edward Snowden leaks, the NSA and the UK's GCHQ have both committed to gaining footholds in virtual communities like World of Warcraft.

At least that's what analysts said on their expenses and when quizzed why they're in a 15-man raid in Azeroth. Is that Orc Shaman really little Tiffany, or an NSA role-playing spy?

Documents have been published by The Guardian and other publications showing the intelligence communities arguing MMOs are a 'hotbed' of communication.

"The NSA document, written in 2008 and titled Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments, stressed the risk of leaving games communities under-monitored, describing them as a "target-rich communications network" where intelligence targets could "hide in plain sight"," wrote The Guardian.

"Games, the analyst wrote "are an opportunity!". According to the briefing notes, so many different US intelligence agents were conducting operations inside games that a "deconfliction" group was required to ensure they weren't spying on, or interfering with, each other." Interoffice conflicts were common between Horde and Alliance agents I'm sure.

"If properly exploited, games could produce vast amounts of intelligence, according to the NSA document. They could be used as a window for hacking attacks, to build pictures of people's social networks through "buddylists and interaction", to make approaches by undercover agents, and to obtain target identifiers (such as profile photos), geolocation, and collection of communications," continued the report.

"...the documents contain no indication that the surveillance ever foiled any terrorism plots, nor is there any clear evidence that terror groups were using the virtual communities to communicate as the intelligence agencies confidently predicted." Put this together with the rise in webcams or motion cameras like Kinect 2.0 and you get a scary picture.

Blizzard Entertainment has officially stated they are unaware of any such surveillance going on in Azeroth.

"We are unaware of any surveillance taking place," said a spokesman. "If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission." Microsoft and Second Life founder Philip Rosedale has declined to comment on these documents, as has the NSA. The GCHQ however said all their operations were 'lawful with strict oversight'.

The Guardian has a lengthy report on the leaks which show that our oppressive overlords are perhaps not as brilliantly Machiavellian as previously thought, after all they've succumbed to World of Warcraft. Blizzard 1, NSA 0.

The NSA believed Second Life was destined to be an online bazaar of terrorism - they underestimated how boring it was.


By nocutius (SI Elite) on Dec 09, 2013
The future really looks scary right now, it's not a question if technologies like the Kinect will be exploited or not but to what extent.

I liked it better when people making such claims about the government were still considered paranoid lunatics, now we own them a collective apology :/.
By danfreeman (SI Elite) on Dec 09, 2013
I`m not gonna lie this is pretty disturbing,i may be in the EU instead of the USA but i`m sure we have our own version of the NSA here and even if we didn`t i doubt the NSA wouldn`t stick their nose here anyway.The world of Mirror`s Edge is looking a lot more like ours,you know with everyone and everything being watched 24/7,even within the confines of our home.
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Dec 09, 2013
1984 is an obvious comparison, at the moment certain technologies are still voluntary but what happens when you won't even be able to buy an NSA-free appliance anymore? :/
By Hammerjinx (SI Core) on Dec 09, 2013
Every appliance?

Toaster Report:
Day 1: No Toast
Day 2: No Toast
Day 3: No Toast
Day 4: Used to warm up cake
Day 5: Toast. Wholemeal detected.
Day 6: No Toast
Day 7: Used to hide mircofilm. No Toast.