NSA Spies On MMOs Says Snowden Reveal

Baldr

The Noble
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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Apr 22, 2013
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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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Jun 26, 2013
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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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Oct 17, 2012
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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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Oct 17, 2012
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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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Jul 16, 2009
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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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Dec 24, 2008
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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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Jan 16, 2011
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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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Jun 2, 2010
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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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Jun 17, 2010
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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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Apr 10, 2013
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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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Jan 6, 2010
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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

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Jun 12, 2010
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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

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Jan 17, 2011
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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

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Sep 19, 2008
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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?