NSA Spies On MMOs Says Snowden Reveal

Karloff

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NSA Spies On MMOs Says Snowden Reveal



I'm sorry, is this serious business or a remake of Spies Like Us? I've lost track.

"We are unaware of any surveillance taking place," says Blizzard. "If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission." But whether Blizzard knew it or not, according to documents from the NSA - published by the Guardian, New York Times and ProPublica as part of the Snowden exposé - that's exactly what the world's spy agencies have been doing since 2008. World of Warcraft, Xbox Live, Second Life, are all known to have been targeted by the world's intelligence agencies. After all, as an NSA document announced in 2008, virtual games "are an opportunity!"

In fact, so great was the opportunity that CIA, FBI and Pentagon spooks found to their dismay that they were chasing each other around Second Life, and had to set up a networking group so they could tell the spies from the normals. Meanwhile the UK's GCHQ was busy looking at the World of Warcraft accounts of embassy employees, scientists and other important people, including intelligence operatives of other nations. Perhaps, thought GCHQ, these orcs and night elves could be turned, and used as intelligence assets; George Smiley meets Garrosh Hellscream.

The chat features of online gaming really got the intelligence agencies steamed. There was a chance, the spies believed, that enemies could use chat to transmit secret messages, perhaps arranging a terror attack using code words like 'fireball'. Or perhaps the cash economies would be used to transmit funds.

Don't worry, it's not just the national security agencies who are spying on you. Specialist outside contractors are hawking their services to the governments of the world. Science Applications International Corporation, aka SAIC, says it can provide "intelligence collection in the game space," and both SAIC and Lockheed Martin have been awarded million-dollar contracts to work on means of spying on MMO gamers.

Occasionally the surveillance reaped dividends. GCHQ used Second Life to collect information for Operation Galician, which resulted in the elimination of a London crime ring that sold stolen credit card information within virtual worlds. However there seems to be little indication, from the documents revealed so far, that all this effort resulted in anything substantial. Even when persons of interest were detected playing online games, there seems to have been no evidence that their game habits were linked to any more serious activity.

Sources: The New York Times [http://www.propublica.org/article/world-of-spycraft-intelligence-agencies-spied-in-online-games]

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Phrozenflame500

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This sounds like a gigantic waste of time and money.

So in other words, government spying as usual.

EDIT: <quote=The New York Times>?If they ever read these forums,? wrote a goblin priest with the user name ?Diaya,? ?they would realize they were wasting their time."
 

Me55enger

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No wonder it took awhile for this story to come out, Blizzards avatar naming policy would restrict DeepThroat.
 

RJ 17

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Nov 27, 2011
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Phrozenflame500 said:
This sounds like a gigantic waste of time and money.

So in other words, government spying as usual.
Don'tcha just love all the mooks that are in charge of spending our tax money? It's almost like they don't even care about the cost since it's not really their money to begin with!

Oh wait...
 

Muspelheim

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I was involved in planting an IED and blowing up a bridge, once. It was a lovely RP event, but I hope those chatlogs won't come back to haunt me later.
 

Erttheking

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*Head desk* Why are so many people in my government so stupid? Hey, here's a damn question, how many terrorists have they caught?
 

Gregory Wollf

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NSA: Oh man, we found Vladimir Putin's avatar on WOW, quick, join his guild so we can spy on him!

Vladimir Putin: Haha! Those foolish NSA spies have joined my guild! Time to troll the political crap out of them... KGB style!
 

Karloff

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... Not quite as bad as phone-tapping and spying on foreign diplomats, but still not okay I suppose.

I kinda wish I knew what was going on in the heads of people giving out these orders. This kind of shit is pretty plainly, cut-and-dry morally wrong, and even the Founding Fathers that the patriot-types like to quote flat out said freedom trumps security. So, is there some kind of ancillary reason they're doing all this Master Mind, Big Brother shit? Just trying to justify their budget, or what?

Good to see Snowden's still kickin' around, also. I hadn't heard about him in a while, and I was starting to worry he'd been blackbagged.
 

Karloff

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I can imagine some poor fresh NSA desk spy on Eve Online tracking down a foreign national, spending months upon months of in game cash and time to get on their good side.



then fucking GoonSwarm flies in, kills everyone, person blames the poor NSA sod, and nearly a year is wasted.
 

CriticalMiss

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Are they actually spying or did someone just tell their boss that so that they can level up their paladin at work? It's the kind of thing I'd do.

'Al Qaeda are sending messages via Team Fortress 2, it's a tough job but I volunteer for the assignment. We should probably hack the Valve computers for information about a secret terrorist plot called 'half life 3' whilst we're at it.'
 

synobal

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I can just see some NSA spy getting outted as a spy due to some alliance in eve online and their anti-spy counter measures.
 

Storm Dragon

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Oh no! Now they'll know who's a N00B and who's 1337! Seriously, I think this was just someone's excuse to play WoW at work.
 

Excludos

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erttheking said:
*Head desk* Why are so many people in my government so stupid? Hey, here's a damn question, how many terrorists have they caught?
In general or through spying in MMOs? I don't know the latter, probably none. But they do catch real terrorists now and then. Since no attack takes place in these events, the media isn't that interested in it, and thus the general population doesn't know or care to know about it either.
 

Jandau

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Dec 19, 2008
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CriticalMiss said:
Are they actually spying or did someone just tell their boss that so that they can level up their paladin at work? It's the kind of thing I'd do.

'Al Qaeda are sending messages via Team Fortress 2, it's a tough job but I volunteer for the assignment. We should probably hack the Valve computers for information about a secret terrorist plot called 'half life 3' whilst we're at it.'
No no no, you aren't taking it far enough: "Boss, Al Qaeda are using WoW to send secret messages. You must buy me Mists of Pandaria and a full year of subscription. Also, I heard they might be using Hearthstone for the same thing, so you must acquire a Beta key... no, wait, make that 2 keys - Bob in Accounting says he can help. Finally, in order to stay one step ahead of those terrorist bastards, you should secure access to closed betas of games such as Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar, just so we can lay the groundwork for our intelligence gathering in advance."
 
Jan 12, 2012
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Doesn't seem that crazy to me. In the book Daemon by Daniel Suarez, the national security agencies point out that there are millions of communications sent through MMOs every day, between people with multiple accounts, and that what little security exists is focused on stopping gold farming and exploits. It would be easy to have entire conversations with people with very little risk of others finding out what was said or who those people were.

Then again, this book also has an evil computer program that takes over the world, so it might not be the best source for information.
 

gigastar

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Well, this made my day. Knowing that the worlds superpowers have nothing better to do than spy on mine and my compatriots increasingly insane arguments on PvP MMO balance.
 

Erttheking

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Excludos said:
erttheking said:
*Head desk* Why are so many people in my government so stupid? Hey, here's a damn question, how many terrorists have they caught?
In general or through spying in MMOs? I don't know the latter, probably none. But they do catch real terrorists now and then. Since no attack takes place in these events, the media isn't that interested in it, and thus the general population doesn't know or care to know about it either.
I feel like the amount of terrorists that they catch isn't enough of a result to justify the extreme measures that they take. I mean, when was the last time there actually was an attack on American soil by a terrorist organization? I'm more scared of other Americans trying to kill me than some religious nutjobs.
 

Karloff

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well i hope the mooks getting told to do this have good mental health insurance...because chat in an average MMO is...not..er...well it's...lemme put it this way: you'd have to pay me a hell of a lot...and give me lengthy breaks...before i'd even consider sitting and religiously reading it...
 

Karloff

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It's true.
Everytime I log into World of Warcraft, I plot the murder of hundreds in the hopes of getting a bit of money and goods. I'm in a ring of likeminded people and we coordinate our attacks to get stronger, more resources and better equipment.
We use advanced tactics that need delicate timing and movement.

This of course all carries over to real life and has made us one of the most powerful organizations in history, capable of taking on entire nations.

You too can join our ranks in our fight for independance; You only have to live by our motto:
Don't stand in the fire.
 

Karloff

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Smilomaniac said:
It's true.
Everytime I log into World of Warcraft, I plot the murder of hundreds in the hopes of getting a bit of money and goods. I'm in a ring of likeminded people and we coordinate our attacks to get stronger, more resources and better equipment.
We use advanced tactics that need delicate timing and movement.

This of course all carries over to real life and has made us one of the most powerful organizations in history, capable of taking on entire nations.

You too can join our ranks in our fight for independance; You only have to live by our motto:
Don't stand in the fire.
Lok'tar ogar Commrades.

for some reason that phrase lept into my head and made me burst out laughing...although in my head it was in stereotypical Russian accent and being said by an Orc in a fur hat and thus better :\
 

Jamieson 90

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Spy: Okay so where's Putin's orc?

Beggar: Got gold? I need gold.

Spy: What?

Beggar: 1 gold please?

Spy: No I don't have gold! Go away!

Beggar: But I need gold...

Spy: Shut up I need to spy on Putin! Shit! I just said that out loud! You didn't see nothing...

Beggar: Gold???.....
 

Karloff

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Jamieson 90 said:
Spy: Okay so where's Putin's orc?

Beggar: Got gold? I need gold.

Spy: What?

Beggar: 1 gold please?

Spy: No I don't have gold! Go away!

Beggar: But I need gold...

Spy: Shut up I need to spy on Putin! Shit! I just said that out loud! You didn't see nothing...

Beggar: Gold???.....
i truly dread to think what the governments deductions might possibly be from playing WoW...

"where can i mine for fish ?"

...
 

Grimh

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Well that's just silly.

I mean WoW... Whoever approved of this initiative is probably a bit of a Dofus.
I guess they think these Secret Worlds are a perfect place for terrorists to plot and scheme.
Maybe they think it's absolute Anarchy Online and they want to keep an eye on it? But it will probably just serve widen the Rift between the government and the people.
But perhaps we should be happy to have these Champions Online to protect us from evil, if there are any threats online they'll know the full Fury of the government. I mean these guys just want to protect the Soul of the Ultimate Nation.
Who knows? They might uncover a whole City of Villains!
Or maybe this is a sign that there are Dark Ages ahead...
But honestly though this seems like a bit of a Dead Frontier as I don't think terrorists are actually hiding in these games. But even so they are venturing into a World of Darkness what with all the creeps and general idiots online.
But I guess they get a lot of time on their hands to become very good Dungeon Runners.

Seriously though, I'd Love for this to be fake. Sometimes I think they want to control everyone on this Earth & Beyond, I guess in a Perfect World there would be no suspicion.
Perhaps this truly is the Face of Mankind... Will this really be our Lineage?
 

Jamieson 90

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Sleekit said:
Jamieson 90 said:
Spy: Okay so where's Putin's orc?

Beggar: Got gold? I need gold.

Spy: What?

Beggar: 1 gold please?

Spy: No I don't have gold! Go away!

Beggar: But I need gold...

Spy: Shut up I need to spy on Putin! Shit! I just said that out loud! You didn't see nothing...

Beggar: Gold???.....
i truly dread to think what the governments deductions might possibly be from playing WoW...

"where can i mine for fish ?"

...
I know or "Where can I learn how to use guns?"
 

Headbiter

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This could be so funny if I couldn't imagine SO WELL that whoever initiated this actually considered ingame-chat as a real potential threat to "national security" and would be ready, even now, to defend those actions as vital and "essential in stopping at least x terroristic attacks, whom we cannot discuss in public at this point".

Yeah, it'd be amusing if this was just someone trying to make up an excuse for playing at work but I'm almost ready to bet that they were, sadly, being serious when starting this.

*sigh*
 

Jamash

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Jun 25, 2008
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...Lockheed Martin have been awarded million-dollar contracts to work on means of spying on MMO gamers.
Weren't Lockheed Martin also given the contract to conduct the official Census?

I suppose it makes spying easier if everyone is required to give you their information.
 

Canadamus Prime

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Jun 17, 2009
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What? Do they think terrorists play WoW in their spare time? What would be their guild name? Get Rid Of Slimy InfidelS?
 

Karloff

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Jamieson 90 said:
I know or "Where can I learn how to use guns?"
i'm imagining lots of Goblin engineers getting stalked now...

canadamus_prime said:
What? Do they think terrorists play WoW in their spare time? What would be their guild name? Get Rid Of Slimy InfidelS?
thing is once this story breaks some WoW players will troll the shit out it,

give it 6 months and "9/11 raiders for Allah" or "the fabulous Blood Elf jihadis" will probably be a top 10 raiding guild on Magtheridon or something.
 

Pebkio

The Purple Mage
Nov 9, 2009
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The real amusing twist is to imagine that this is exactly what is happening.

"Michael, what are you doing?!"
"I'm leveling my undead mage until Jack gets on."
"Oh, you're playing an undead mage? Want to raid the newest dungeon?"
"Sure, but let's not forget our overall plan to overthrow the government."
"WoW sure is addictive..."

That or it's equally funny to think that there is this entire group of gamers in the CIA who've completely scammed their bosses into paying for their subscriptions.
 

Frission

Until I get thrown out.
May 16, 2011
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The U.S is cutting down on many essential agencies, yet they're keeping these branches of the NSA open? What are they thinking?

EDIT; Or it's one of the best scams to get the government to pay for WoW subscriptions.
 

Eldritch Warlord

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Karloff said:
The chat features of online gaming really got the intelligence agencies steamed. There was a chance, the spies believed, that enemies could use chat to transmit secret messages, perhaps arranging a terror attack using code words like 'fireball'. Or perhaps the cash economies would be used to transmit funds.
Here's a thought:

Instead of collecting zettabytes of useless data in violation of the 4[sup]th[/sup] Amendment the NSA instead uses warrants to collect and/or monitor relevant chat-logs and transaction histories when they have an actual reason to suspect these things are happening.
 

RandV80

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Honestly if they're already spying on every damned little thing then putting their all encompassing data mining to work on MMO's isn't really surprising.
 

Weaver

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Mcoffey said:
... Not quite as bad as phone-tapping and spying on foreign diplomats, but still not okay I suppose.

I kinda wish I knew what was going on in the heads of people giving out these orders.
They want to digest, process and monitor information. Any and all information. If there is a communications channel they aren't monitoring, they will monitor it.

I would bet $1000 this forum is logged in an NSA database and monitored. You can count on it.

People just don't seem to realize the scope of the NSA. It's gigantic and it's sole purpose in the last 15 years has been to suck in any and all data it possibly can. It's safe to assume their goal is to monitor any and all communications everywhere in the world at all times. Americans like to point at China as a government gone mad with power. China's intelligence collection pales in comparison to what the Americans do every second of every day.
 

Karloff

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Weaver said:
Mcoffey said:
... Not quite as bad as phone-tapping and spying on foreign diplomats, but still not okay I suppose.

I kinda wish I knew what was going on in the heads of people giving out these orders.
They want to digest, process and monitor information. Any and all information. If there is a communications channel they aren't monitoring, they will monitor it.

I would bet $1000 this forum is logged in an NSA database and monitored. You can count on it.

People just don't seem to realize the scope of the NSA. It's gigantic and it's sole purpose in the last 15 years has been to suck in any and all data it possibly can. It's safe to assume their goal is to monitor any and all communications everywhere in the world at all times. Americans like to point at China as a government gone mad with power. China's intelligence collection pales in comparison to what the Americans do every second of every day.
Well, yeah, I know what their goals are. I question the motivation behind it. Our media, at least in America, pretty much constantly beats you over the head with the "Freedom trumps security" message, and 1984 is required reading in most high schools. How did these guys miss that message their entire lives? Like, it's hilariously obvious for us that they're looking fairly evil right now. How is it not obvious for whoever decided this was a good idea?
 

Itchi_da_killa

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I'm thinking what happened is that some people just wanted to play WoW, and were able to successfully convince "who ever" was in charge to let them. In the guise of security of course. As long as reports were written, everything seemed legit to the higher ups.
 

Redlin5_v1legacy

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Aug 5, 2009
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These people isolate themselves from society and spend years talking to a small group of people across the country... THEY MUST BE RADICALIZING AND PREPARING FOR AN ATTACK!

All these years we thought people were talking about in game assets when in reality they were codewords for real world weapons of...

I can't do it anymore, this is just too absurd.
 

gamegod25

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Any terrorist/criminal stupid enough to discuss their illegal activities over any of these services kinda deserves to get caught. And frankly while I don't like the thought I'm being spied on i don't have anything to hide and if I did there would be far easier methods for them to find out anyway.
 

Reyold

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Grimh said:
Well that's just silly.

I mean WoW... Whoever approved of this initiative is probably a bit of a Dofus.
I guess they think these Secret Worlds are a perfect place for terrorists to plot and scheme.
Maybe they think it's absolute Anarchy Online and they want to keep an eye on it? But it will probably just serve widen the Rift between the government and the people.
But perhaps we should be happy to have these Champions Online to protect us from evil, if there are any threats online they'll know the full Fury of the government. I mean these guys just want to protect the Soul of the Ultimate Nation.
Who knows? They might uncover a whole City of Villains!
Or maybe this is a sign that there are Dark Ages ahead...
But honestly though this seems like a bit of a Dead Frontier as I don't think terrorists are actually hiding in these games. But even so they are venturing into a World of Darkness what with all the creeps and general idiots online.
But I guess they get a lot of time on their hands to become very good Dungeon Runners.

Seriously though, I'd Love for this to be fake. Sometimes I think they want to control everyone on this Earth & Beyond, I guess in a Perfect World there would be no suspicion.
Perhaps this truly is the Face of Mankind... Will this really be our Lineage?
That... that was brilliant. Well played, good sir.

OT: Oh goody. As if my government wasn't wasting enough money already.
 

Pedro The Hutt

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"The chat features of online gaming really got the intelligence agencies steamed"
So they got all hot and bothered over all the "role play" going on in Goldshire and all of Second Life? Oohmyy~
 

Baldr

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Jan 6, 2010
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I know in early 2008, there was a report out of the pentagon that World of Warcraft could be used as a platform for planning terrorism, and three confirmed reports of terrorist who had WoW accounts since then. Most of us who read the report had assumed Blizzard was working with the CIA.
 

zalithar

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I can't wait to see the next big headline to come out of this mess.

My money is on "THE NSA ACTUALLY READS YOUTUBE COMMENTS!"
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

I never asked for this
Sep 8, 2011
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Wait! Wasn't it Blizzard the ones who tried to force everyone to use their real names on their forums a few years back? And now they claim that they have no knowledge of any spying going on. I'm a bit skeptical.
 

MCerberus

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It's been reported that the guy in charge of going through Imperial-side chatlogs on ToR is forbidden from having a sense of irony.
 

Pirate Of PC Master race

Rambles about half of the time
Jun 14, 2013
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If I am a terrorist, not that I am, then I would use some kind of private game server nobody knows about to send a message.

Why rely on some big companies who is likely to side with government when there are thousands of unrecognized independent messaging methods?
 

Frezzato

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I read two pages of the game-spying documents on The Guardian. Honestly, it's written with the same grasp of gaming that an older, non-gaming parent has. I guess I should bear in mind who exactly it was written for, i.e. old lawyers/lawmakers that don't play games, but there's nothing vaguely insightful in that document at all.

As for what they were doing in games like Second Life (mwahahaha!), they would have had better luck catching terrorists/criminals by sending agents out to Starbucks locations and snooping on people. Who knows, maybe next week there will be a story about how the NSA sent folks to buy choco-mocha-lattes, for uh, "research" purposes. Yeah.
 

Frezzato

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Weaver said:
[...]

I would bet $1000 this forum is logged in an NSA database and monitored. You can count on it.

[...]
Ooh, thanks for reminding me!

The chair is against the wall.

John has a long mustache.

-message ends-
 

Kargathia

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Smilomaniac said:
It's true.
Everytime I log into World of Warcraft, I plot the murder of hundreds in the hopes of getting a bit of money and goods. I'm in a ring of likeminded people and we coordinate our attacks to get stronger, more resources and better equipment.
We use advanced tactics that need delicate timing and movement.

This of course all carries over to real life and has made us one of the most powerful organizations in history, capable of taking on entire nations.

You too can join our ranks in our fight for independance; You only have to live by our motto:
Don't stand in the fire.
If the typical raid-member's ability to not die in a fire is any indication of competence, then terorrists as a threat are vastly overrated.
Adam Jensen said:
Wait! Wasn't it Blizzard the ones who tried to force everyone to use their real names on their forums a few years back? And now they claim that they have no knowledge of any spying going on. I'm a bit skeptical.
They have no knowledge of spying, because that's their prerogative, and they're not going to willingly let some government agency have all the fun.
 

Neonit

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"Because we have to do something with this money! I mean, come on, its almost the end of the year, We have to spend this or they will cut our budget!"

I fail to see any other reason. Sure, there could be terrorists there. There also could be terrorist in that strip club over there.... you know what, forget it, i dont want to give them ideas.

Good thing I dont pay for that bullshit.

Oh yeah, keep on democrac-ying? or however you call that illusion of choice of yours.
 

Someone Depressing

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These people are crazy..

"dude im out of mp"

"YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT! DO NOT LAUNCH ANY FIREBALLS!"

Oh God, the potential scenarios...
 

faefrost

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Jandau said:
CriticalMiss said:
Are they actually spying or did someone just tell their boss that so that they can level up their paladin at work? It's the kind of thing I'd do.

'Al Qaeda are sending messages via Team Fortress 2, it's a tough job but I volunteer for the assignment. We should probably hack the Valve computers for information about a secret terrorist plot called 'half life 3' whilst we're at it.'
No no no, you aren't taking it far enough: "Boss, Al Qaeda are using WoW to send secret messages. You must buy me Mists of Pandaria and a full year of subscription. Also, I heard they might be using Hearthstone for the same thing, so you must acquire a Beta key... no, wait, make that 2 keys - Bob in Accounting says he can help. Finally, in order to stay one step ahead of those terrorist bastards, you should secure access to closed betas of games such as Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar, just so we can lay the groundwork for our intelligence gathering in advance."
The scary thing is, having known so very many government workers. You two are probably extremely close to the truth of the matter. our government just spent 10's of millions of dollars in order to allow a crack team of 100 low level government workers to play WoW for the past 6 years while drawing an annual salary for doing so of around $150,000. Great work if you can get it.

I'm betting the top Raid guild is CIA.
 

Vrach

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This is news? Feels a bit last decade...

MMOs have a chat and often a trial version of sorts, making them perfectly viable means of communication. The whole laughability of the matter is merely more reason to use it, who'd look there (except, as I said, this was last decade's thing, so now they actually do). The whole "it's a wretched hive of scum and villainy" aspect of user communication again goes in favour of it.
 

The Enquirer

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Grimh said:
Well that's just silly.

I mean WoW... Whoever approved of this initiative is probably a bit of a Dofus.
I guess they think these Secret Worlds are a perfect place for terrorists to plot and scheme.
Maybe they think it's absolute Anarchy Online and they want to keep an eye on it? But it will probably just serve widen the Rift between the government and the people.
But perhaps we should be happy to have these Champions Online to protect us from evil, if there are any threats online they'll know the full Fury of the government. I mean these guys just want to protect the Soul of the Ultimate Nation.
Who knows? They might uncover a whole City of Villains!
Or maybe this is a sign that there are Dark Ages ahead...
But honestly though this seems like a bit of a Dead Frontier as I don't think terrorists are actually hiding in these games. But even so they are venturing into a World of Darkness what with all the creeps and general idiots online.
But I guess they get a lot of time on their hands to become very good Dungeon Runners.

Seriously though, I'd Love for this to be fake. Sometimes I think they want to control everyone on this Earth & Beyond, I guess in a Perfect World there would be no suspicion.
Perhaps this truly is the Face of Mankind... Will this really be our Lineage?
You have earned my eternal respect for this.

But seriously, if I didn't know better I would just say that this is someone's excuse to play games online at work. OH WAIT I don't know better.
 

Alcamonic

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NSA stealing YOUR raid tactics? Likelier than you might think!

I knew those beggars were upto no good. Hidden in plain sight. IT WAS SO OBVIOUS!
 

kael013

New member
Jun 12, 2010
201
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The comments on this are pure gold. Thanks for the laughs everyone.

OT: I hope whoever has to read the chatlogs also plays the game, because me and my Imp guild in ToR constantly talk about all the dark-side things we do. "So I electrocuted a guy to get him to sing, oh and I got some information out of him as well." "I managed to infiltrate an enemy cell and turn them to our purposes without them realizing it." "Well, [i/]I[/i] captured a high-ranking operative, tortured him, and turned his backup to our side." Seriously, without context the Imp chatlog sounds like a terrorist and serial killers convention.
 

chadachada123

New member
Jan 17, 2011
1,195
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erttheking said:
*Head desk* Why are so many people in my government so stupid?
Because the average citizen continues to vote for (the lesser of two) evil(s). Which is still voting for evil.

That's how we end up with shitheads like our current president, a fraction of a hair less of a shithead than Romney, but an obvious shithead nonetheless.
 

Summerstorm

New member
Sep 19, 2008
759
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Grimh said:
Well that's just silly.

I mean WoW... Whoever approved of this initiative is probably a bit of a Dofus.
I guess they think these Secret Worlds are a perfect place for terrorists to plot and scheme.
Maybe they think it's absolute Anarchy Online and they want to keep an eye on it? But it will probably just serve widen the Rift between the government and the people.
But perhaps we should be happy to have these Champions Online to protect us from evil, if there are any threats online they'll know the full Fury of the government. I mean these guys just want to protect the Soul of the Ultimate Nation.
Who knows? They might uncover a whole City of Villains!
Or maybe this is a sign that there are Dark Ages ahead...
But honestly though this seems like a bit of a Dead Frontier as I don't think terrorists are actually hiding in these games. But even so they are venturing into a World of Darkness what with all the creeps and general idiots online.
But I guess they get a lot of time on their hands to become very good Dungeon Runners.

Seriously though, I'd Love for this to be fake. Sometimes I think they want to control everyone on this Earth & Beyond, I guess in a Perfect World there would be no suspicion.
Perhaps this truly is the Face of Mankind... Will this really be our Lineage?
Oh, VERY good.

So, on topic:
One thing we shouldn't forget is that all data can be useful. Problem is: It's WAYWAYWAY too much, it is VERY complex to use "random" bits of information to model a behavioral pattern for somebody.

But overall a working "Social determinism"-model can be a huge bonus for the one with the most computational power and most information. If you know where somebody works, what he thinks about cute kitten videos, what he likes, his hobbies, friends, performances, political opinions, sock size etc. you can highly accurately predict future reactions and also how to manipulate him/her to mold into the man/woman you want him to be.

This weird "grab data in unlikely places" and "what the hell are we doing here?" might be a half-brained/half understood attempt to realize just this.

Captcha: Nul Points (Also i like it that they changed the captchas to spout these phrases, so people accept them better)
But really... zero points?
 

Karloff

New member
Oct 19, 2009
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From other news articles on the same subject: "Officials also kept tabs on Xbox Live, but it's unclear exactly how far that surveillance reached and how the agencies got access to the information."

http://gazette.com/report-nsa-spying-on-online-games/article/1510727

Ya know, it's funny. When I pointed out that Microsoft was involved with the PRISM program and thus was likely handing over details about their console users willingly to the NSA, these forums laughed me off as a tinfoil hat nutjob. Yet now, these leaked reports confirm that I absolutely called this shit.

Unfortunately, this site's users keep forgetting that when it comes to the government, being paranoid means you're right more often than you're wrong.
 

Strazdas

Robots will replace your job
May 28, 2011
4,317
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Look folks, WOW gold was used to trasfer money to criminasl before, on multiple ocasions, so its not that outlandish of an idea. Buy gold from reseller, transfer the gold to a criminal for a "favour". that transfer is suppsoedly untracable and the gaming company wont know/care why its transfered, then the person cashes the gold in at te very same reseller. no direct contact, yet money trasnfered.


As far as chats go, noone actually sits there and plays the game guys. what they do is make a robot run though the data and highlight words they dont like and then the person interferes only.
That being said i have plotted to d a lot of things in chats before that i knew i will never actaully do but its sometimes fun to plot a perfect crime especially when you got couple other people poking holes in the plan. it woudl raise quite a few red flags. not to mention all the talk about "killing this guy" becuase you can kill ingame you know.


Weaver said:
I would bet $1000 this forum is logged in an NSA database and monitored. You can count on it.
Of course it is. Google databases it as well. i can find my posts faster by typing in a few words from it and my name on google than searching my posting history. its very easy for NSA to track open forums. but its not like we even can talk about anything illegal here without moderator wrath. On MMO chats - everything is fair game though.

gamegod25 said:
Any terrorist/criminal stupid enough to discuss their illegal activities over any of these services kinda deserves to get caught. And frankly while I don't like the thought I'm being spied on i don't have anything to hide and if I did there would be far easier methods for them to find out anyway.
actually ingame chats are quite safe enviroment. they dont get logged. they dont get sent via the usualy http or irc traffic so its much harder to intercept them. they go via centralized game server so there is no direct connection. of course nowadays it would be better to use ingame voice chats, as those are pretty much untracable.
 

Yopaz

Sarcastic overlord
Jun 3, 2009
2,951
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erttheking said:
*Head desk* Why are so many people in my government so stupid? Hey, here's a damn question, how many terrorists have they caught?
OK, stop criticizing them. Don't you know 60% of all terrorists play MMOs? The rest play Facebook games. This is because they know that the best way to discuss targets, strategies and goals is through the safety of general chat in online games... yeah, I can't take this any further without getting too silly. Seems like they could save some money and just recruit someone who's playing 24/7 regardless of looking for spies or not. Heck, it could even give those poor souls an illusion that they are holding down a honest job.
 

SeventhSigil

New member
Jun 24, 2013
120
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Okay, now I can't help but picture Government employees, wearing ties and proper work attire, seated in cubicles and wearing reading glasses, frowning sternly at the screen as they raid for loot, pausing occasionally to write notes in a small notepad beside them. ('Half-Naked Junp Spammer... Al Qaeda?" "Stole My Kill - Deport To Guantanamo.")I also wonder how long it took them to adjust to in-game chat lingo.

"Why do those people keep saying LFG?"
"We think they're announcing Looking For Jihad."
"isn't Jihad spelled with a J?"
"we believe they are using a G to try and throw us off the trail sir."
"very good, Johnson. I'll mobilize the SWAT teams."
 

Cid Silverwing

Paladin of The Light
Jul 27, 2008
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Now even the SPIES are hit by the retard virus?

Politics have tunneled right through the fucking bottom of the barrel at this point.
 

Charli

New member
Nov 23, 2008
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Sleekit said:
Jamieson 90 said:
I know or "Where can I learn how to use guns?"
i'm imagining lots of Goblin engineers getting stalked now...

canadamus_prime said:
What? Do they think terrorists play WoW in their spare time? What would be their guild name? Get Rid Of Slimy InfidelS?
thing is once this story breaks some WoW players will troll the shit out it,

give it 6 months and "9/11 raiders for Allah" or "the fabulous Blood Elf jihadis" will probably be a top 10 raiding guild on Magtheridon or something.
I've already made a million 'I'm an NSA agent, OR AM I?' jokes last night alone.

And yeah these kinds of trolling have always been around but now it's just going to explode. *sigh*
 

Dragonlayer

Aka Corporal Yakob
Dec 5, 2013
521
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Not only would I approve of extensive surveillance of MMORPGs and online games, I would call for government hit squads to eliminate potential threats to national security with maximum force.

And no, this isn't because I was kicked out of that guild two years back!

>_>

<_<
 

likalaruku

New member
Nov 29, 2008
2,297
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Why stop at WoW & SL? Let's see if spending 8 hours a day, 5 days a week reading the chat in League of Legends, Defense of the Ancients 2, Heroes of Newerth, SMITE, Guild Wars 1 & 2, Darkfall, TERA, Eve Online, Age of Conan, All Point Bulletin, The Secret World, Lineage 2, Warhammer Online, Aion, & Star Wars: The Old Republic doesn't utterly destroy their faith in humanity.
 

alj

Master of Unlocking
Nov 20, 2009
162
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And now you know who is always AFK in raid finder.

Can we not have them arrest people who don't know how to play there class? You know like warriors with bloody intellect plate!
 

lacktheknack

Je suis joined jewels.
Jan 19, 2009
9,968
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Waitaminutewaitaminute.

You're telling me that incredibly stupid sequence in CSI where the investigators chased the bad guy through Second Life... was a thing that might have actually happened?

That's

That's

I don't know what to live for anymore.