Leaked Documents: NSA Spied on World of Warcraft Gamers

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...

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