News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
GET RECOGNIZED.
Let an ISACA® certification
elevate your career.

Register today and save
You are here: Home / Digital Life / NSA Spied on WoW Gamers
DDoS Protection Powered By Verisign
Leaked Documents: NSA Spied on World of Warcraft Gamers
Leaked Documents: NSA Spied on World of Warcraft Gamers
By Seth Fitzgerald / NewsFactor Network Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
DECEMBER
09
2013


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:

Like Us on FacebookFollow Us on Twitter
TOP STORIES NOW
MAY BE OF INTEREST
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.
MORE IN DIGITAL LIFE
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Are Government Spies Tipping Off Tor?
Less than a month ago, tech news headlines heralded a Tor Project breach. Now, some are saying that government spies are sharing information with Tor to help it prevent future breaches.
 
Backoff Malware Hits 1,000+ Businesses, Likely More
More than 1,000 businesses across the U.S. might have been affected by Backoff, a new kind of point-of-sale (PoS) malware, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
 
PlayStation Network Back Online After Attack
Sony’s PlayStation and Entertainment Network are back online after a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack crashed the systems on Sunday. But Sony says no personal info was accessed.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Alert: HP Recalls 5 Million Notebook AC Power Cords
HP is recalling about 5.6 million notebook computer AC power cords in the U.S. and another 446,700 in Canada because of possible overheating, which can pose a fire and burn hazard.
 
Acer's New Desktop Box Rides the Chrome OS Wave
Filling out its Chrome OS line, Acer is following the introduction of a larger Chromebook line earlier this month with a new tiny $180 desktop Chromebox and also a smaller Chromebook.
 
Feds OK $2.3 Billion IBM-Lenovo x86 Server Deal
IBM and Lenovo are celebrating U.S. approval of their x86-based server deal, having cleared some major security hurdles. The deal makes Lenovo a major player for enterprise data centers.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Verizon Hops on the Voice-Over-LTE Bandwagon
Wireless provider Verizon is gearing up for a nationwide launch of its Voice-over-LTE service over the next several weeks, promising clearer and crisper phone calls and a Skype-like video service.
 
Smartphone 'Kill Switch' Law in California; Will Other States Follow?
California’s new law -- signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday -- aimed at deterring cellphone theft could mean most mobile phones sold in the U.S. will soon include similar “kill-switch” tech.
 
Apple To Replace 'Small Percentage' of iPhone 5 Batteries
If you've noticed your iPhone 5 isn't acting right, it might be because of a bad battery -- and you might be eligible for a replacement. Apple is offering new batteries, though only for a small percentage of users.
 

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.