ACLU rep: Government spying on video games is "overreaching and ineffective"

American Civil Liberties Union lawyer says recent revelations show that NSA's surveillance to thwart terrorism plots was "not well calculated."

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Government spying on video games is "overreaching and ineffective" as a means to thwart terrorism plots, according to a representative for the American Civil Liberties Union.

"It shares a pattern with other NSA revelations," ACLU staff attorney Linda Lye told the San Jose Mercury News. "The agency has a propensity for engaging in surveillance that is not well calculated to the goal of apprehending terrorists. It is both overreaching and ineffective."

The ACLU works in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and United States laws.

Documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released this week showed that American and British government agents infiltrated fantasy games like World of Warcraft and Second Life, as well as Xbox Live, in an effort to hunt terrorists.

The documents described World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Xbox Live as "target-rich" communications networks through which potential intelligence targets could "hide in plain sight." However, the documents never say if any terrorist plots were foiled through government surveillance.

Microsoft has since joined a coalition calling on President Obama and members of Congress to make reforms that ensure government surveillance is restricted by law.

Discussion

44 comments
Dresden05
Dresden05

they were just using government money to level up their WOW character

Dresden05
Dresden05

I bet they were just using government money to level up their WOW character

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

"Everyone meet up in front at 4 pm.  We'll go in and kill everyone and be out in time for dinner."


Raiding party, or terrorist attack planning?  I'll let you decide......

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

the us being the paranoid nation it is i am not surprised they spy on you all but my goverment in the uk i did not think we were that paranoid here. but hey i have nothing to hide so i don't care if i did you would not see me online ever

ZOD777
ZOD777

Misleading article.  I thought that the ALCU was getting involved because they thought that the spying was unconstitutional, but it turns out they just commented on the situation.  BOOO!

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

Now all the gamer zombies are concerned with politics.

Verityrant
Verityrant

There is almost nothing that our government does that isn't overreaching and ineffective...add it to the list.  

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Sounds to me like someone at the agency wanted an excuse to play video games at the tax payer's expense. Almost sounds like it came straight from an episode of South Park.

moesuir
moesuir

no surveillance for Miiverse?

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

I guess it depends on their methods. I mean how would you sniff out a terrorist in an online game as vast as World of Warcraft?

There are places you can go in the wilderness where you might not see another player for weeks if you stood in one place.

It isn't like they would be stood in the middle of the trade district in Stormwind or something.

mcullinan
mcullinan

the real question is can they see my balls. True they are small...  but if I move like this.. so quick. they can't see them can they!!!!

Xx_DemonSoul_xX
Xx_DemonSoul_xX

Ya think? I wouldn't expect masterminds to plot things out while playing Call of Duty.

jhcho2
jhcho2

Do I smell damage control?

wookiegr
wookiegr

It's ineffective because government agents are playing online games all day. Probably jacked up on red-bull and Doritos no doubt.

spenta
spenta

Releasing only part of the story is irresponsible.  Why not wait to report when you know all of the details first, like why did they think it would be effective, what means did they undertake and of course did it actually provide any intelligence.  Answer those questions with something other then conjecture and you'll have a real story.

masterwsgamer
masterwsgamer

if its overeachting and ineffective then why did you do it in the first place

grove67
grove67

government officials are everywhere

they are listening

32 listening how many of them are spies 

Paul2004
Paul2004

They forgot to say that its a complete waste of tax cash, paying spooks to play games.....best job ever XD. All the intel they got was that the kids need a baby sitter, that Leeroy still has chicken and they couldnt find anything better to do :P

cmatt28
cmatt28

I think the fair thing here is for the NSA to stop spying on us and just spy on the ACLU

19James89
19James89

Orwellianism is alive and well and nobody, not nobody will convince me that it isn't. 

MrWhalo
MrWhalo

23 people listening? How many of you are government officials?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

I think its less of the US government being paranoid as much its certain individuals in the government that are paranoid. Besides, these circumstances don't even hold a candle to what J. Edgar Hoover did with FBI resources decades ago. That guy had dirt on everyone and he did it without the internet.

Paul2004
Paul2004

Lol since South Park has already covered the console wars i wonder if this will be hit aswell :P.

Onallion
Onallion

@mcullinan I can see your balls and they are glorious, don't sell yourself short bro

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@Xx_DemonSoul_xX masterminds are not the only enemy in Socialist America. Regular American Joes are terrorists too. Anyone that doesn't obey tyrannical, unjust, anti-american laws, is a terrorist. Heil Obama! SCREW  Freedom! Everyone should be forced to pay for healthcare, and pay a fine if they dont buy it! I love Obama! I hope he kills every scumbag terrorist, like he killed that 16 year old boy from denver. the boys dad was friends with Al quaeda(ironically Obamas friends in Syria)so he deserved to be killed! he was a normal gamer american teen like everyone, but he doesnt deserve trial. Glad he got a drone to the head!

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

@Xx_DemonSoul_xX There's probably enough rage to motivate it, but way too much to practically plot anything. If they're just looking for threatening behaviour, there'll only be two or three players left. :-P

thomasn7
thomasn7

@masterwsgamer Sorry but ever since 911 in the U.S. everyone is on notice like it or not.  If you are doing nothing wrong then you have nothing to be concerned about. I highly doubt the NSA wants to see you play your video games in your pajamas. 

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@19James89Orwel's governments were finely tuned oppressive machines.


Our government is incompetent idiots seeing terrorists in online video games.

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

Very funny does this mean the NSA will be watching us more now because you said the word terrorist and you said the word to me lol

danbodamnit
danbodamnit

Sometimes, encouraging words become weird...

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

yeah sure if they can read binary and enjoy watching 1's and 0's

Saxondale
Saxondale

@thomasn7 @masterwsgamer So 9/11 gives the gov power to do whatever it wants? The unalienable rights mentioned in the Declaration are alienable so long as our infallible overlords deem it necessary? These massive surveillance powers couldn't stop the Boston bombings. They do not work. They exist for one reason: to intimidate those who would dissent or revolt against a fascist regime. The moment a group of people decide they are sick of the corruption in our bureaucracy and fight to oppose it is the moment that all of their private data will be turned against them. That's the way it works. Wake up. This has never had a thing to do with fighting terrorism. If it did our southern border wouldn't be wide open. 

pongley
pongley

@thomasn7@masterwsgamer The NYPD spied on Occupy protesters and handed significant amounts of data to law firms representing Wall Street banks. What makes you think the NSA won't do the same thing for people in the US they don't like, politicians and media personalities who oppose their spying programs for instance.

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

I think you might be just a little bit paranoid...