If you think the NSA is content with simply reading your emails and monitoring your porn habits, think again. They’re also watching you farm for XP points while leveling up your dwarf.
A joint investigation by the New York Times, the Guardian and ProPublica has revealed that American and British intelligence agencies conducted surveillance and collected data on popular online video game networks such as World of Warcraft, Second Life, and even Xbox Live. Remember that time you used a homophobic slur on a 12-year-old while playing Call of Duty? Well the government does, so I hope you weren’t planning on running for office.
The information was gleaned from NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden which describe online gaming as a potential “target-rich communication network” allowing suspected terrorists and criminals “a way to hide in plain sight.” And granted, these platforms do allow players to communicate with people around the world in real time, so I suppose a potential threat exists. But as the ProPublica article points out, unlike other communication methods designed to provide anonymity, these gaming networks are designed specifically to track users and their habits, so I doubt Ayman al-Zawahiri is playing a lot of Second Life these days.
What do you think? Is the government right to worry about online games being exploited by terrorists and criminals, or is this just an excuse by bored NSA agents to invade our privacy and play some multiplayer GTA V in the process?