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NSA Collect Gamers' Chats and Deploy Real-Life Agents Into WoW and Second Life 293

An anonymous reader writes in with news that some NSA agents were trying to dig up info by joining the horde. "To the National Security Agency analyst writing a briefing to his superiors, the situation was clear: their current surveillance efforts were lacking something. The agency's impressive arsenal of cable taps and sophisticated hacking attacks was not enough. What it really needed was a horde of undercover Orcs. That vision of spycraft sparked a concerted drive by the NSA and its UK sister agency GCHQ to infiltrate the massive communities playing online games, according to secret documents disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.....The agencies, the documents show, have built mass-collection capabilities against the Xbox Live console network, which has more than 48 million players. Real-life agents have been deployed into virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human avatars of Second Life. There were attempts, too, to recruit potential informants from the games' tech-friendly users."
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NSA Collect Gamers' Chats and Deploy Real-Life Agents Into WoW and Second Life

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  • Re:Well, of course. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Monday December 09, 2013 @12:58PM (#45640631) Homepage Journal

    But more seriously, that disaffection that MMO players seem to exhibit in spades is one of the characteristics of al qeada era terrorists. Being middle class, disillusioned, Muslim, male, single, and approaching middle age is the basic profile of an ideal recruit to them.

  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Monday December 09, 2013 @01:24PM (#45640905) Homepage

    I think you mean:

    The actualized concept of a next-generation cloud-based synergistic teambuilding-as-a-service ad-hoc exercise correlates with the data previously acquired through empirical research regarding organizational executive judgement calls in relation to morale and outreach endeavors on an accelerated timeline.

    I've been working directly under C-level execs on and off for the past decade. It's not too obvious, is it?

  • Meh, no surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Monday December 09, 2013 @01:27PM (#45640939)

    Games could serve multiple purposes: out of band communications (i.e. not phone, email, or mail), rehearsals, and recreation. Since the Caliphate is going to be a while in coming they have some time to kill.

    I don't think there is any surprise that WoW or similar games would have broad appeal, even among terrorists. After all, the Harry Potter books have been among the most popular reading for inmates at Guantanamo Bay.

    What Prisoners Are Reading at Gitmo []

    ... Harry Potter. He may not come riding in on the back of a hippogriff to free his favorite captives from their own version of Azkaban, but he shows up once a week on a cart of books from the prison library, offering an escape of the imagination treasured by many. Indeed, the Harry Potter series has been one the most popular titles among the 18,000 books, magazines, DVDs and newspapers on offer from the prison library at Guantánamo.

    Other offerings in the library started in 2003 include the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Twilight series and a self-help book called Don't Be Sad. Prisoners don't browse the shelves of this particular library; instead, they wait for a weekly visit by a cart of books prison officers think they might be interested in. There are mysteries and books of poems, copies of National Geographic magazine (a favorite), dictionaries and science textbooks. If the prisoners see something they like they are allowed to check it out for 30 days.

    The library's offerings now span some 18 languages including Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Pashto, Russian, French and English. Officers scan newspapers to stay up on the latest titles and try to meet requests from prisoners — though finding books in their native languages can sometimes be a challenge. "I tell ya, Dan Brown's been beating me up lately," says Navy Lt. Robert Collett, who as the officer-in-charge of detainee programs, is known as 'Dean of Gitmo U'. "All his books are very popular, but we don't have all of them in Arabic." When the military has trouble finding a title in a certain language, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sometimes steps in. Martin De Boer, ICRC's deputy head of the regional delegation in D.C., says his group sometimes sends its representatives in far-flung places to local stores in order to answer requests for novels in Uzbek or magazines in Bahasa (the language of Indonesia). "Access to books and news from the outside is very important to the prisoners mental state," says De Boer.

  • Re:Well, of course. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ememisya ( 1548255 ) on Monday December 09, 2013 @04:13PM (#45642765) Homepage
    I am middle-class, disillusioned, Muslim, male, single and approaching middle age. Thankfully I don't play WoW, nor do I facebook, and exactly for these reasons. I got into a fight in highschool for being from Turkey during 9/11 because one kid decided to scream, "Turkey did it!", you know, they're all the same those brown bastards. Now I fear that guy might be employed by the pick-your-3-letter-agency, and no I'm not going to be like Yakov Smirnoff and walk around with a flag pin to show my patriotism, and I hope this insanity will stop before we reach the "burn a number on your skin" stage, I'm hoping even way before, lets round up all the Japanese stage.
  • Re:Damn right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Monday December 09, 2013 @08:33PM (#45645823)

    You've gone wrong on a couple of points there. First, al Qaida and company do indeed want the entire world under Islamic rule. It is their goal. The Middle East is just closer to it since it has a majority of Muslims, a number of the countries already implement Sharia in some form, even if imperfectly. Indonesia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are also high on the list. You may have noticed that they are subject to various troubles as well, not to mention India.

    The Future of Terrorism: What al-Qaida Really Wants []

    They plan to take back lands formerly controlled by Muslims. Just one example: Spain

    Alarm in Spain over al-Qaeda call for its "reconquest" []
    HAMAS Targets Spain []

    As to the US, there is no such thing as "Christian" rule. The US is a secular democracy. It is a nation of primarily Christians (of various flavors and piety) living in a democracy. There is no theocracy, there is no meaningful movement towards theocracy, and it is unclear what one would even look like since there doesn't seem to be a biblical model for it this side of Christ's return. So your post on that is nonsense.

    Christian missionaries have been greatly beneficial to many lands. This is only one example.

    Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God []

    If you look into the history of the last 100 years, you will see that officially atheist regimes were one of the great scourges of the planet. In their communist form they killed 100,000,000 people [] and brutalized and oppressed many more.

    Jesus lived his life as an observant Jew, is recorded to have fulfilled many prophecies associated with being the Messiah, and made statements declaring himself to be God. Many of his followers preferred to die painful deaths rather than denounce him.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.