NSA 'planted agents' into World of Warcraft gaming.

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#1 Posted by thebest31406 (3775 posts) -

Spies’ Dragnet Reaches a Playing Field of Elves and Trolls

Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.

Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.

The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents, disclosed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. Because militants often rely on features common to video games — fake identities, voice and text chats, a way to conduct financial transactions — American and British intelligence agencies worried that they might be operating there, according to the papers.

Online games might seem innocuous, a top-secret 2008 N.S.A. document warned, but they had the potential to be a “target-rich communication network” allowing intelligence suspects “a way to hide in plain sight.” Virtual games “are an opportunity!” another 2008 N.S.A. document declared.

But for all their enthusiasm — so many C.I.A., F.B.I. and Pentagon spies were hunting around in Second Life, the document noted, that a “deconfliction” group was needed to avoid collisions — the intelligence agencies may have inflated the threat.

The documents do not cite any counterterrorism successes from the effort, and former American intelligence officials, current and former gaming company employees and outside experts said in interviews that they knew of little evidence that terrorist groups viewed the games as havens to communicate and plot operations.

Games “are built and operated by companies looking to make money, so the players’ identity and activity is tracked,” said Peter W. Singer of the Brookings Institution, an author of “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know.” “For terror groups looking to keep their communications secret, there are far more effective and easier ways to do so than putting on a troll avatar.”

The remaining article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/10/world/spies-dragnet-reaches-a-playing-field-of-elves-and-trolls.html?_r=1&

Additional sources:

http://rt.com/news/nsa-uk-spy-world-warcraft-942/

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/09/nsa-spies-online-games-world-warcraft-second-life?CMP=twt_gu

http://www.propublica.org/article/world-of-spycraft-intelligence-agencies-spied-in-online-games

I'd laugh if it weren't so damn pathetic...and depressing.

Avatar image for mindstorm
#2 Posted by mindstorm (15254 posts) -

So what you are saying is that the SI:7 in World of Warcraft are actually NSA agents?

Perhaps you yourself are an NSA spy. Are you spying on us?

Avatar image for LoG-Sacrament
#3 Edited by LoG-Sacrament (20397 posts) -

all i can think of now is james bond playing WoW.

Avatar image for Makhaidos
#4 Posted by Makhaidos (2162 posts) -

I wouldn't know anything about secret agents making avatars on certain websites to spy on other gamers. Nothing at all. *shiftyeyes*

Avatar image for johnd13
#5 Edited by johnd13 (9336 posts) -

It'd be cool working for them in-game.

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#6 Posted by plageus900 (2434 posts) -

@johnd13 said:

It'd be cool working for them in-game.

No. I'd tell them to piss off if I was approached.

Avatar image for LJS9502_basic
#7 Edited by LJS9502_basic (163065 posts) -

NSA operated British intell now...WoW indeed. Anyway....nothing illegal about that.

Avatar image for plageus900
#8 Posted by plageus900 (2434 posts) -

@LJS9502_basic said:

NSA operated British intell now...WoW indeed. Anyway....nothing illegal about that.

The Gestapo weren't operating 'illegally' either :P

Avatar image for LJS9502_basic
#9 Posted by LJS9502_basic (163065 posts) -

@plageus900 said:

@LJS9502_basic said:

NSA operated British intell now...WoW indeed. Anyway....nothing illegal about that.

The Gestapo weren't operating 'illegally' either :P

Such hyperbole. The fact of the matter is...it's not illegal for anyone to play WoW. You can beat some agents are gamers. Would they ignore an issue if they came across it while playing? No. So I don't see what the fuss is except for the hyperbole.....

Avatar image for plageus900
#10 Edited by plageus900 (2434 posts) -

@LJS9502_basic said:

@plageus900 said:

@LJS9502_basic said:

NSA operated British intell now...WoW indeed. Anyway....nothing illegal about that.

The Gestapo weren't operating 'illegally' either :P

Such hyperbole. The fact of the matter is...it's not illegal for anyone to play WoW. You can beat some agents are gamers. Would they ignore an issue if they came across it while playing? No. So I don't see what the fuss is except for the hyperbole.....

No I suppose not. I just think purposefully infiltrating the WoW community is a bit much. We're already living in a police state as it is.

Speaking of the Gestapo, I was looking up their rank structure. Their equivalent to a Major is the rank of Kriminalrat. Ha!

Criminal rat. Kind of amusing.

Avatar image for ad1x2
#11 Posted by ad1x2 (6706 posts) -

@plageus900 said:

@LJS9502_basic said:

@plageus900 said:

@LJS9502_basic said:

NSA operated British intell now...WoW indeed. Anyway....nothing illegal about that.

The Gestapo weren't operating 'illegally' either :P

Such hyperbole. The fact of the matter is...it's not illegal for anyone to play WoW. You can beat some agents are gamers. Would they ignore an issue if they came across it while playing? No. So I don't see what the fuss is except for the hyperbole.....

No I suppose not. I just think purposefully infiltrating the WoW community is a bit much. We're already living in a police state as it is.

Speaking of the Gestapo, I was looking up their rank structure. Their equivalent to a Major is the rank of Kriminalrat. Ha!

Criminal rat. Kind of amusing.

I would consider it a huge exaggeration to claim we are living in a police state compared to what a police state really is.

As for this latest disclosure, it kind of surprises me how much people may become upset over this particular. The reason is because for years undercover police officers and FBI agents already visited online hotspots posing as children in order to catch pedophiles looking for a hookup.

Your average person doesn't have a problem with with the pedophile hunting but some of those same people seem to have a problem with undercover government agents posing as terrorists to out real terrorists. Or, in the case of non-undercover agents who happen to be gamers reporting something suspicious they found.

At worst, I could see this story being used by Cows and PC gamers as more ammo against Xbox to claim that they are letting the NSA use Kinect to spy on people. But they were saying that since the first set of classified NSA documents were published by the media.

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#12 Posted by GazaAli (25216 posts) -

War on terror is a troll fest, what else is new?

Avatar image for plageus900
#13 Edited by plageus900 (2434 posts) -

@ad1x2 said:

@plageus900 said:

@LJS9502_basic said:

@plageus900 said:

@LJS9502_basic said:

NSA operated British intell now...WoW indeed. Anyway....nothing illegal about that.

The Gestapo weren't operating 'illegally' either :P

Such hyperbole. The fact of the matter is...it's not illegal for anyone to play WoW. You can beat some agents are gamers. Would they ignore an issue if they came across it while playing? No. So I don't see what the fuss is except for the hyperbole.....

No I suppose not. I just think purposefully infiltrating the WoW community is a bit much. We're already living in a police state as it is.

Speaking of the Gestapo, I was looking up their rank structure. Their equivalent to a Major is the rank of Kriminalrat. Ha!

Criminal rat. Kind of amusing.

I would consider it a huge exaggeration to claim we are living in a police state compared to what a police state really is.

As for this latest disclosure, it kind of surprises me how much people may become upset over this particular. The reason is because for years undercover police officers and FBI agents already visited online hotspots posing as children in order to catch pedophiles looking for a hookup.

Your average person doesn't have a problem with with the pedophile hunting but some of those same people seem to have a problem with undercover government agents posing as terrorists to out real terrorists. Or, in the case of non-undercover agents who happen to be gamers reporting something suspicious they found.

At worst, I could see this story being used by Cows and PC gamers as more ammo against Xbox to claim that they are letting the NSA use Kinect to spy on people. But they were saying that since the first set of classified NSA documents were published by the media.

I have no problem with law enforcement luring child molesters out into the open so that they can catch them. In this case, they're going after someone who's going to commit the crime anyway, regardless if its a real child or an agent posing as one.

What I have a problem with is law enforcement going to EVERYONES data, analyzing it, storing it, etc. I have a problem with them flagging people for speaking they're opinion about our government. I have a problem with them feeling the need to keep us in check, when really it should be the other way around.

Avatar image for LoG-Sacrament
#14 Edited by LoG-Sacrament (20397 posts) -

@plageus900 said:

@johnd13 said:

It'd be cool working for them in-game.

No. I'd tell them to piss off if I was approached.

i'd tell them that i'm not on the roleplaying server.

Avatar image for plageus900
#15 Posted by plageus900 (2434 posts) -

@LoG-Sacrament said:

@plageus900 said:

@johnd13 said:

It'd be cool working for them in-game.

No. I'd tell them to piss off if I was approached.

i'd tell them that i'm not on the roleplaying server.

:D

Avatar image for one_plum
#16 Posted by one_plum (6514 posts) -

Surprised to see me?

Avatar image for Makhaidos
#17 Posted by Makhaidos (2162 posts) -

Never found no NSA agents in D&D.

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#18 Posted by worlock77 (22552 posts) -

Jesus Christ that's terrible. Men and women who are trying to serve and protect their country shouldn't be punished like that for it.

Avatar image for Treflis
#19 Posted by Treflis (13402 posts) -

So that's who those ninja looters are.

Avatar image for xdude85
#20 Posted by xdude85 (6346 posts) -

That's gotta be the shittiest job ever. Makes you wonder what they did to piss off their superiors.

Avatar image for vl4d_l3nin
#21 Posted by vl4d_l3nin (1210 posts) -

Well, if you've been watching the mainstream media in the past decade, you would know that video games have been the biggest cause of violence throughout history.

Avatar image for ferrari2001
#22 Posted by ferrari2001 (17763 posts) -

Where can I score that job?

Avatar image for SaintLeonidas
#23 Posted by SaintLeonidas (26735 posts) -

"Agents"? Lets be real people, these were no spies, just the geeky tech guys in the IT departments of these organizations who played the game anyway and were told to "look out for any suspicious activity...and take a shower."

Avatar image for ad1x2
#24 Posted by ad1x2 (6706 posts) -

@plageus900 said:

@ad1x2 said:

@plageus900 said:

@LJS9502_basic said:

@plageus900 said:

@LJS9502_basic said:

NSA operated British intell now...WoW indeed. Anyway....nothing illegal about that.

The Gestapo weren't operating 'illegally' either :P

Such hyperbole. The fact of the matter is...it's not illegal for anyone to play WoW. You can beat some agents are gamers. Would they ignore an issue if they came across it while playing? No. So I don't see what the fuss is except for the hyperbole.....

No I suppose not. I just think purposefully infiltrating the WoW community is a bit much. We're already living in a police state as it is.

Speaking of the Gestapo, I was looking up their rank structure. Their equivalent to a Major is the rank of Kriminalrat. Ha!

Criminal rat. Kind of amusing.

I would consider it a huge exaggeration to claim we are living in a police state compared to what a police state really is.

As for this latest disclosure, it kind of surprises me how much people may become upset over this particular. The reason is because for years undercover police officers and FBI agents already visited online hotspots posing as children in order to catch pedophiles looking for a hookup.

Your average person doesn't have a problem with with the pedophile hunting but some of those same people seem to have a problem with undercover government agents posing as terrorists to out real terrorists. Or, in the case of non-undercover agents who happen to be gamers reporting something suspicious they found.

At worst, I could see this story being used by Cows and PC gamers as more ammo against Xbox to claim that they are letting the NSA use Kinect to spy on people. But they were saying that since the first set of classified NSA documents were published by the media.

I have no problem with law enforcement luring child molesters out into the open so that they can catch them. In this case, they're going after someone who's going to commit the crime anyway, regardless if its a real child or an agent posing as one.

What I have a problem with is law enforcement going to EVERYONES data, analyzing it, storing it, etc. I have a problem with them flagging people for speaking they're opinion about our government. I have a problem with them feeling the need to keep us in check, when really it should be the other way around.

The main point of this story and thread was that there were people who worked for the government that monitored online games for suspicious activity. I wasn't replying to that post based on NSA surveillance in general.

Avatar image for plageus900
#25 Posted by plageus900 (2434 posts) -

@ad1x2 said:

@plageus900 said:

@ad1x2 said:

@plageus900 said:

@LJS9502_basic said:

@plageus900 said:

@LJS9502_basic said:

NSA operated British intell now...WoW indeed. Anyway....nothing illegal about that.

The Gestapo weren't operating 'illegally' either :P

Such hyperbole. The fact of the matter is...it's not illegal for anyone to play WoW. You can beat some agents are gamers. Would they ignore an issue if they came across it while playing? No. So I don't see what the fuss is except for the hyperbole.....

No I suppose not. I just think purposefully infiltrating the WoW community is a bit much. We're already living in a police state as it is.

Speaking of the Gestapo, I was looking up their rank structure. Their equivalent to a Major is the rank of Kriminalrat. Ha!

Criminal rat. Kind of amusing.

I would consider it a huge exaggeration to claim we are living in a police state compared to what a police state really is.

As for this latest disclosure, it kind of surprises me how much people may become upset over this particular. The reason is because for years undercover police officers and FBI agents already visited online hotspots posing as children in order to catch pedophiles looking for a hookup.

Your average person doesn't have a problem with with the pedophile hunting but some of those same people seem to have a problem with undercover government agents posing as terrorists to out real terrorists. Or, in the case of non-undercover agents who happen to be gamers reporting something suspicious they found.

At worst, I could see this story being used by Cows and PC gamers as more ammo against Xbox to claim that they are letting the NSA use Kinect to spy on people. But they were saying that since the first set of classified NSA documents were published by the media.

I have no problem with law enforcement luring child molesters out into the open so that they can catch them. In this case, they're going after someone who's going to commit the crime anyway, regardless if its a real child or an agent posing as one.

What I have a problem with is law enforcement going to EVERYONES data, analyzing it, storing it, etc. I have a problem with them flagging people for speaking they're opinion about our government. I have a problem with them feeling the need to keep us in check, when really it should be the other way around.

The main point of this story and thread was that there were people who worked for the government that monitored online games for suspicious activity. I wasn't replying to that post based on NSA surveillance in general.

Ah.

Avatar image for thebest31406
#26 Posted by thebest31406 (3775 posts) -

Right-wing marks still attempting to legitimize this nonsense with this 'fear of the unknown' campaign. When the world's population is being monitored for suspicious activities, they're not under protection, they're suspects.

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#27 Edited by coolbeans90 (21305 posts) -

Sounds like some guy really just wanted to play some vidya gaems at work.

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#28 Posted by airshocker (31700 posts) -

I'd play WoW if the NSA paid me to. -Shrug-

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#29 Posted by comp_atkins (34679 posts) -

"johnson!, what are you doing? playing games at your desk?"

"uh, no sir, we're hunting terrorists"

"i see, very well. carry on then"

<under breath> "haha, sucker"

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#30 Posted by Hexagon_777 (20348 posts) -

@thebest31406 said:

Right-wing marks still attempting to legitimize this nonsense with this 'fear of the unknown' campaign. When the world's population is being monitored for suspicious activities, they're not under protection, they're suspects.

Someone who understands the situation. Thank you.