The Search For Terrorists In Xbox Live And World of Warcraft
It has been revealed, thanks to whistleblower Edward Snowden, that United States and British government agents monitored players on Xbox Live and the MMORPG World of Warcraft, as well as Second Life. These agents performed surveillance and dug into personal data on the online networks, which have millions of users each. Snowden released documents to The New York Times and The Guardian confirming this.
Apparently the agencies were worried that World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Xbox Live were being used by terrorists to communicate, move money, and plan clandestine attacks. Agents of the NSA and GCHQ created characters and accounts to keep an eye on such users and gain information.
The NSA document released, called “Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments,” warned of what could happen should these online environments be disregarded. The document described these online worlds as “target-rich communications network,” where potential targets could “hide in plain sight.”
The document continues to say that no terrorist plots were uncovered or foiled throughout their research within the game worlds. Most targets did not use the game or services for any such nefarious deeds whatsoever. The agencies continued their search, however.
A spokesperson for Blizzard came forward telling The Guardian:
We are unaware of any surveillance taking place. If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission.
Representatives of Second Life and Xbox Live have refused to comment on the situation. This is leaving many suspicious of such activities and the companies knowledge of such actions.