Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Network Security
Tame your scariest paperwork. Find Out How
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Leaked Documents: NSA Spied on World of Warcraft Gamers
Leaked Documents: NSA Spied on World of Warcraft Gamers

By Seth Fitzgerald
December 9, 2013 11:09AM

    Bookmark and Share
Originally, the National Security Agency started spying on gamers in 2008 with the intention of finding terrorists who could "hide in plain sight" among the thousands of other World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Xbox Live gamers. But, at best, the NSA has only found potential Al-Qaeda operatives playing within the games.
 



If the National Security Agency is right, terrorists are everywhere, even in video games such as World of Warcraft. The the agency has been spying on World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Xbox Live since 2008 in order to find terrorists which are hiding "in plain sight," according to newly released documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The documents have shown that the NSA, GCHQ (the NSA's British counterpart), CIA, and FBI have all used their agents to infiltrate online games to find terrorists. Although this program has grown since 2008, Blizzard Entertainment has already confirmed that it never agreed to allow the NSA to spy on World of Warcraft players.

Bad For Privacy, Or Effective?

In all of the original and follow-up documents leaked by Snowden today, it does not appear that the NSA was actually able to stop any terrorists from executing or planning attacks. If this is true, it appears that the agency has simply spied on gamers for at least five years without even asking for permission from the games' creators to do so.

As usual, the GCHQ has not confirmed or denied these in-game missions but it did state that all of its programs conform to the applicable laws. "All GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework, which ensures that its activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the intelligence and security committee."

The NSA originally started the program in 2008 with the intention of finding terrorists who could "hide in plain sight" among the thousands of other World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Xbox Live gamers. Upon hearing this, gamers provided their opinions in the form of snarky comments such as ""Keeping us safe, one gnome at a time" and "The NSA are spying because of the Darkspear Trolls."

With numerous documents stating that at best, the agency had only found potential Al-Qaeda operatives playing within the games, it does not appear as though the five years of in-game spying has paid off in any significant way.

Without Permission

Without actually hacking into the games, the NSA's in-game surveillance seems to follow all applicable laws. That being said, by not informing the game's creators, the NSA is continuing to step on toes in a way that is only going to continue to create more enemies for the agency, something that it has already done with Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google.

One of Blizzard Entertainment's producers has already confirmed that if the programs were carried out, Blizzard was never informed about the NSA's intentions. "If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission." said one California-based producer.

Not only have agents from the NSA taken to online video games in order to find terrorists, but the same documents reveal cooperation from the FBI and CIA. One of the more interesting aspects of the program is that it may have been brought up as a possibility by a former chief operating officer of Second Life.

In 2007, the COO gave a "brown-bag lunch" at one of the NSA's offices addressing the potential for terrorists to use the game as a meeting place to either plan out attacks or transfer money. Only a year after this talk was given, the agency was already working on infiltrating the games in search of terrorists.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



Salesforce.com is the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service. Its award-winning CRM solution helps 82,400 customers worldwide manage and share business information over the Internet. Experience CRM success. Click here for a FREE 30-day trial.


 Network Security
1.   Tor Working To Fix Security Exploit
2.   Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
3.   Dropbox for Business Boosts Security
4.   Hackers Breached StubHub Accounts
5.   Banks Hit by Android-Skirting Malware


advertisement
Tor Working To Fix Security Exploit
Bug reportedly reveals ID of users
Average Rating:
New Technology Defeats Privacy Efforts
Study identifies 3 browser techniques.
Average Rating:
Banks Hit by Android-Skirting Malware
34 institutions, four European countries
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Researchers Working To Fix Tor Security Exploit
Developers for the Tor privacy browser are scrambling to fix a bug revealed Monday that researchers say could allow hackers, or government surveillance agencies, to track users online.
 
Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
Hacked again. That’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports that the computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached. Customers not affected -- yet.
 
Dropbox for Business Beefs Up Security
Dropbox is upping its game for business users. The cloud-based storage and sharing company has rolled out new security, search and other features to boost its appeal for businesses.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Watson Gets His First Customer Service Gig
Since appearing on Jeopardy, IBM's Watson supercomputer has been making a living using his super-intelligent knowledge base for business verticals. Now, Watson's been hired for his first customer service job.
 
Tablet Giants Apple and Samsung Feel the Heat
When a company saturates its home market with a once-hot product, expect it to pump up efforts elsewhere. Apple, for its part, is now pushing iPads to big corporations and the enterprise market.
 
Microsoft Makes Design Central to Its Future
Over the last four years, Microsoft has doubled the number of designers it employs, putting a priority on fashioning devices that work around people's lives -- and that are attractive and cool.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
T-Mobile Calls 'BS' on AT&T's New Promotion
While Verizon Wireless is moving to throttle bandwidth hogs, a scrappy T-Mobile is taking on the giants with a limited-time promotion it hopes will drive up the churn rates of its wireless rivals.
 
Microsoft Update to Windows Phone 8.1 Already Coming
An update to Windows Phone 8.1 is on the way just weeks after the release of the product itself. Microsoft has begun detailing some of the update features to phone manufacturers.
 
Stanford Researchers Report Battery Breakthrough
Stanford researchers have found a way to use lithium in a battery's anode, a breakthrough that could triple capacity and has been described as the "holy grail of battery science."
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.