first_imgThe files Edward Snowden has shared publicly through various news outlets have revealed the extent to which government agencies are spying on us all online. But the latest documents to be released from the Snowden files show that the NSA and UK’s GCHQ weren’t happy just reading our emails, our chat logs, and tracking our every move online. They also infiltrated the games we play.The NSA wants to monitor and spy on people wherever they hang out online, so it actually makes sense that online games and communities would be a target. World of Warcraft, Second Life, and even Xbox Live were identified as opportunities, and action taken to start surveillance of those user groups, which consist of tens of millions of people.Details of such community monitoring have been revealed in a leaked document from 2008 entitled “Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments.” It details the NSA believing an online game was the perfect place for terrorists to chat in private or even transfer funds. With that in mind, agents were “deployed” into the games and communities to monitor and make contact if necessary with anyone who could potentially provide information and/or be turned informant.Did this monitoring see any success? There’s no evidence of that, but the NSA may have overdone things a bit because they also required a deconfliction group. Its purpose was to ensure the agents doing the surveillance didn’t end up talking to other agents in each game or community and get caught in some kind of spy feedback loop.So if you’ve run into someone in World of Warcraft or Second Life who seemed really friendly, but asked unusual questions before promptly disappearing, they may have been a spy. The fact that we all have encountered just such an individual online probably demonstrates just how much spying was/is actually going on. Or it could just be conicidence…last_img read more