New Snowden leak reveals U.S. NSA planted agents inside ‘World of Warcraft’

The Guardian recently said they have only published a very tiny percentage of the NSA documents provided to them by the now-infamous leaker Edward Snowden, and now a new revelation has taken a strange turn into the video game realm,” Paul Tassi reports for Forbes. “Documents provided by Snowden from 2008 say that the NSA and the UK’s GCHQ agencies planted agents inside MMOs like World of Warcraft and Second Life. The document, called Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments, was published this week, and tells tales of the spy agencies trying to track down terrorist communications through each of the games. Eventually, Xbox Live was considered a possible means for terrorist contact as well.”

Tassi reports, “The idea was that games like World of Warcraft and Second Life could be used as under the radar avenues for communication between terrorist, and even help transfer funds. The document also shows that the NSA tried to recruit gamers to help with the project, but ultimately, it’s never said that they found any evidence of terrorists using either game for communication or collaboration, or that any terror plots were stopped through their work in the virtual realms.”

“Since the revelation, Blizzard has spoken out saying that they were ‘unaware of any surveillance taking place,’ and never gave the NSA permission to infiltrate the game,” Tassi reports. “There’s no telling just how much data the NSA collected on ‘suspect’ players, which could include everything from personal information to text or verbal in-game communication. Yet again, privacy seems to mean little to the NSA, in this world or virtual ones.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve got a great iPhone game for the government spooks:

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[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “TheloniousMac” for the heads up.]

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    1. The NSA brought all of this criticism down on themselves. (And yes, the same goes for President ‘Constitutional Scholar’ Obama). What’s sad and problematic is that the NSA actually HAS an important purpose that is beneficial to the citizens whom they have vowed to serve. And yet, this treasonous harm to citizens perpetrated by all involved has marked the NSA as a CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION as a whole. That will no doubt lead to their beneficial work for citizens being diminished, which is NOT a good thing.

      I’d like to see some severe surgery whereby the LEGAL behavior of the NSA (and all the rest of the alphabet soup of US spy agencies) are maintained while all the criminal, treasonous behavior is gouged out and burned out permanently, never to return. No fascism allowed here, thank you.

      1. Our government is obsessed with security theater and the money chase for contracts- not the real security of our nation and our people. The politicians profiting from this wish you to be paranoid and afraid- kind of like the old Bush era threat color crap.

        1. FUD is consistently a favorite form of manipulation/propaganda. There results are crap compared to positive reinforcement (where people feel good and productive) but when you’re a lazy ass corporate oligarch or dumbass politician, it’s good enough.

          I could rant all day about the FUD tactics of the Neo-Conservatives. There is a seriously hot hole in hell for those scum for all the lives they ruined and ended for the sake of their crazy schemes. Just wait until all the details of the Neo-Con’s participation in 9/11 are public knowledge. I hope I’m dead by then because there will be riots. (And no, I’m not interested in going all conspiracy theory. I’ll let history reveal itself in its own good time).

            1. And further more: Get off the idiotic 1 dimensional political spectrum. You won’t find me there. You won’t actually find anyone there. We live in a 3 dimensional world where we think in 3 dimensions. The KISS Principle is just an excuse to be stupid.

          1. I think you’re saying to look for the crooks that pull the puppet strings on all three branches of government, that these crooks use this machine to step on people and loot the country, in which case I agree.

            1. When I find I have to state the same things over and over I like to throw in some diversity if only to relieve my own boredom. So YES, you are correct. Pull the strings, aka throw money, and the puppets will dance. The man behind the curtain is pulling the levers. Etc.

      2. … just when the NSA was formed? 1952.
        It’s powers were broadened significantly under most presidents since Ford. Bush II being the greatest recent curse, but Obama did nothing to rein the agency in. Nothing at ALL.
        I would have no real problem with these criminals, were they acting within the Constitution – that is, getting warrants FIRST – but that doesn’t seem to be the reality of it. Still, the reality of it is NOT that “it’s Obama’s fault”. So … back off on that.

        1. I don’t comprehend what Obama actually IS. Just another charlatan? A coward against the will of the machine? An idiot with no comprehension of the ramifications of his actions and inactions? This is what historians are for.

          But I will always remember him as a ‘Constitutional Scholar’ who actively destroyed the Constitution.

          1. Lets see… he was a disciple of Alinksy, a devout communist, was raised to be a Islamofascist in Indonesia, hates white people including his own mother, is currently sending hundreds of millions of dollars to the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Quaeda… helping them take over Middle Eastern counties to turn into Sharia dictatorships…

            Hmmm, maybe he is Rumpelstilsken?…

            Or just your average Democrat … yeah that’s it.

            1. And he wasn’t born in the USA…

              I’ll leave the conspiracy theory stuff to someone else. I just know he’s wrecked the US Constitution and isn’t very concerned about it.

              And please, neglect not the GW Bush administration contribution to the FUD mongering, ‘Patriot’ Act, unwarranted surveillance, blahblahblah. There’s nothing better about the Neo-Cons.

    2. Exactly right. All this illegal, unconstitutional spying on American is for what reason? The only answer is political purposes because they haven’t convicted one person of espionage.
      Obama has an enemies list and he is keeping track of them. Criticize Obama and get your phone tapped, your computer confiscated and your IRS return audited. It is all happening.

      1. Obama is but one of a cabal of people willing to wipe their backside on your rights for their political ends. The cabal includes people of both parties, so don’t try to turn it into an anti-Obama diatribe.

  1. If the NSAbwants to play games to learn about other players, then I consider that free game. No different than if they were to pay for access to a night club in Las Vegas to see who is there. This is a far cry different than snooping on ones personal life without permission, this is their public life. But if the NSA uses any system other than the actual game, if they employ any sniffing/hacking techniques to glean information of the users from the system that is not supported by the system (such as listening in ither other gamers private conversations) then I have an issue with it. Just as if they started using special mics to listen to distant conversations in a club without a warrant.

  2. I always figured that if I wanted to communicate with my “terrorist cell” informal meetings in WOW would be perfect.

    If you’re on WOW, late at night, say 02:00am -04:00am PST, there are some weird people on. Chinese gold farmers are a crack up, and if you make the mistake of speaking to one, they will never leave you alone after that.

    They ALL pretend to be women. They LOVE practicing English and understanding where WOW speak ends and real English begins, but sometimes, they start asking weird questions…

    Do you like Mr. Obama?

    Not a fan.

    Do you hate Mr. Obama?


    Then there’s the one’s who pretend to be children trying to ferret out the child molesters. Some of that stuff got to the point where I had a “Go ask your parents and never speak to me again” macro.

    1. … Which I can only assume is meant to be sarcasm. –Humor is getting a bit too subtle around here today. I could actually see some nut job at the NSA posting this crap for real, if he could get away with it. Such lunacy does exist.

    2. Is that 911 you are talking about Mr. NSA agent?

      Funny thing is I just see idiots like you at the NSA (or whatever other “AGENCY of the government” you belong to) going out to do a Tonkin believing that in the long run you are a patriotic American. So what if on the way you have to kill a few of your fellow citizens…eh? They can just … did you put it….oh yes….fuck themselves.

  3. This wasn’t really spying, it was a report written AFTER a bunch of NSA guys got busted playing games while at work. Their excuse was they were “researching” how terrorists could use MMO games to communicate, launder funds, etc. What really surprised them is that the boss bought it.

  4. This really isn’t news for those in the know, in fact one terrorist agency (possibly the NSA or FBI) did try to destroy the world and were almost a threat to global security, if it were not for the brave efforts of those who rise to the call of justice.

  5. I’ve heard good excuses given to the boss for slacking off before, but “we have to play World of Warcraft to catch terrorists” has to win some sort of award surely?

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