Skip to comments.U.S., British spy on online fantasy games seeking terrorists
Posted on 12/10/2013 7:39:44 AM PST by Behind Liberal Lines
Giving a new twist to the term "spy games," U.S. and British intelligence agents have infiltrated the World of Warcraft and Second Life online fantasy games in their search for terrorists and criminal networks.
The spy agencies "have built mass-collection capabilities against the Xbox Live console network, which has more than 48 million players," James Ball reported in The Guardian. He based his account on classified papers leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, whose release of masses of documents detailing U.S. communications surveillance has made him a finalist for Time's Person of the Year.
Spies took on fantasy roles, snooped around the games, looked for potential snitches and collected information and communications between players, said The New York Times in an article jointly produced with ProPublica, publications with which The Guardian shared the documents.
The effort grew out of fear that terrorists, already prone to using fake identities and voice and text chats, could use the games to pass secrets, move money and plan attacks while hiding "in plain sight," an NSA document from 2008 indicates. The Times said another document from from the same year declared virtual games "an opportunity!"
The U.S. spy community got busy playing games -- so busy, in fact, that a "deconfliction group" had to be set up to avoid collisions among the avatars of NSA, FBI and Pentagon spies prowling Second Life.
(Excerpt) Read more at syracuse.com ...
We’re paying billions a year to spy on 10 year olds
I’ll tell my kid to watch what himself online, the Big Bad “American” government is monitoring him
So the World of Warcraft battles between the New Sylvan Army and the Coalition of Independent Avatars was just a interagency pissing match? Let me guess, a lot of terrorists are hiding out on fantasy football boards and on online poker sites too.
It may sound ridiculous, but online games DO offer a form of back-channel communication for the less-reputable types.
There was a criminal case a couple of years ago where a couple of folks working for the Mexican Cartels were using Xbox’s game voicechat feature to arrange for contract killings.
If there’s a reason to monitor all of the email and the skype conversations out there, then the same reason would apply to text and voice communication inside computer games. Or at least that’s what I’d tell my boss if I wanted authorization to play games all day at work.
Every hour an AQ terrorist is tied-down playing World of Warcraft is one less he can listen to radical sermons or work on his suicide vest.
I’d count that as a win.
Snowden isn’t stopping, I kind of hope someone takes him out. We don’t need terrorists knowing what we are doing to combat them.
I think that’s too late. IIRC, he already gave everything to the Guardian and they are just choosing to release it in dribs and drabs
Snowden has revealed the government is spying on EVERYONE in total disregard of Constitutional rights and normal expectations of privacy.
I kind of hope someone takes your computer so you won’t call for any more murders by the government.
You know, if the NSA and the CIA were doing their jobs, there wouldn’t be any Mexican “cartels”....which are just Mexican crime families.
If you think with all the assets these clowns have that they can’t get nail all the major traffickers, then how can we even hope to go after nuclear threats?
Mass illegal immigration into the United States (invasion) and mass drug trafficking by organized armed thugs (terrorism) has changed the United States in ways that can’t be counted. If there’s anything they should be doing it’s stopping that.
Warrantless wholesale data collection for a few off the wall cases doesn’t pass the smell test. If they are going to use extra legal powers like that, it damn well better be for something serious.
The invasion and takeover of the Southwest of the United States by a hostile, violent and fundamentally criminal population of foreigners qualifies as “serious”. When do they use their capabilities to do something we actually want them to do?
PS: the other day, a truck was stopped in Orange County with 24,000 pounds of pot in it. That’s 12 tons. Um, how does a semi-truck trailer load of pot get into the U.S. undetected until it’s 200 miles north of the border?
Just think: it coulda been a trailer full of Iranian nukes.
In central L.A. if it got 20 miles further.
Where were the idiots on that? Busy listening to my kid and his friends?
Life gets more and more interesting. Now we know the Regime is into spying on online gaming groups to detect terrorists in order, allegedly, to thwart them. What if, in addition to trying to thwart terrorists and criminals, the Regime is using this information to find and develop potential mass shooters like the one who perpetrated the Newtown massacre? Indeed, it’s surprising how that individual’s computer was immediately seized and how little information has ever been revealed about what was on that computer.
Before viewing this speculation as a bit off the wall, we need to realize that the Regime has already perpetrated one deliberate mass murder conspiracy, Fast and Furious, to attack the 2d Amendment. Since that one failed to create the necessary public hysteria, it’s only logical that, led by the Criminal in Chief, they’d try to develop a shooter to do a more frightful one involving little kids; hence, Newtown.
I find it interesting how few people understand the difference between intelligence-gathering and investigation of a crime.
Intelligence gathering, at least in this case, is by definition focused on trying to find people before they commit a crime. Preventing the crime or terrorist attack. That means, also by definition, sifting through massive amounts of information, most of it utterly innocuous and produced by completely innocent people, to try to isolate out that tiny percentage that is indeed a threat.
If we know who and where the threats are, they are not really much of a threat. They’re just some guy named Mahmud who wakes up in an alley with his throat cut.
Some think that allowing such investigation is too much of an imposition on our civil liberties, and I sympathize with that POV. They should just be aware that if this work is not done, then we give up much of our right to complain when the next 9/11, possibly a nuclear version, occurs.
There are, of course, entirely legitimate debates to be had about the margins of what should and should not be permitted.
Makes sense if you are a police stater.
There is a lot of chat on those games and it is a good place to hide conversations.
Sorry, but this sounds EXTREMELY silly.
“...documents did not offer any counter-terrorism successes resulting from the effort.”
You are totally correct.
Now that this is well known, the terrorists are going go congregate somewhere else. The spies are going to be following each other through the digital fields and forests
Do terrorists play World of Warcraft?
Geez, with people like you, who needs liberals? Your rights go out the door right along with the terrorists rights.
Naw, nothing so serious. I think the geeks in government just figured out a way to goof off at work and their bosses are buying it.
Boss: "Are you playing World of Warcraft at work?"
Employee: "Uh, no sir! I'm looking for terrorists!"
Boss: "Oh, okay. Carry on."
Except that they are spying on US citizens.
Terrorist don’t use that anyway.