World of Spycraft: NSA hunts Terrorists in MMORPGs

Damit bei den Spitzeln von der NSA keine Langeweile aufkommt, jagen sie Terroristen in World of Warcraft und Second Life. Ich musste erst zweimal schauen, habe drei Quellen gelesen um sicher zu gehen, dass das hier kein Scherz ist, aber die meinen das ernst. Heute veröffentlichte Dokumente von Edward Snowden belegen, dass die NSA und der britische Geheimdienst GCHQ Online Games infiltriert haben. Die hatten angenommen, Terroristen könnten die In-Game-Chats von MMORPGs nutzen, um Terroranschläge zu planen. Jetzt muss man also auch noch davon ausgehen, dass irgendwelche fremden Charaktere in Online-Games beknackte Spione sind. Erfolgsmeldung gab es selbstverständlich keine. Seriously, NSA? I mean… SERIOUSLY?

Die Meldungen dazu sind so dermaßen voller Gold, hier ein paar meiner Lieblingszitate und der Clip von der NYTimes:

Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents. […]

The virtual surveillance dates back to at least 2008, after the NSA and intelligence agencies began to worry that terrorist groups would use games to communicate an plot real attacks. At an intelligence conference that year, researchers outlined a fictitious scenario where terrorists took to World of Warcraft to plot an attack on the White House, but there is little evidence that terror groups view the games as safe havens.


The NSA and GCHQ have collected data or player communications from World of Warcraft, Second Life and the XBox Live system, raising questions about the legality of virtual surveillance. One document reveals that while GCHQ was testing its ability to spy on Second Life, the agency vacuumed up three days’ worth of Second Life chat, instant message and financial transaction data — totaling 176,677 lines of data.


At least one spy agency, Britain’s GCHQ, purchased advertising in Microsoft's XBox Live system to recruit gamers for careers for her majesty’s government. The in-game video ad features cinematic graphics, a James Bond-esque agent and a series of would-be terrorist plots.


In a three-year project starting in 2009, an intelligence research office awarded several multi-million dollar contracts to study how player's identities in virtual worlds might be linked to their real-world identities. One team produced a study of World of Warcraft finding “younger players and male players preferring competitive, hack-and-slash activities, and older and female players preferring non-combat activities."

NYTimes: Spies’ Dragnet Reaches a Playing Field of Elves and Trolls
ProPublica: World of Spycraft: NSA and CIA Spied in Online Games
Guardian: Spy agencies in covert push to infiltrate virtual world of online gaming (via Boing Boing)