The NSA has apparently been monitoring World of Warcraft and Xbox Live for some time now.
If you’ve been roleplaying as a sexy Gnome on the hunt for some Draenai action, chances are the NSA knows about it. According to leaked government documents, the NSA has been monitoring networks like World of Warcraft and Xbox live since 2008. The FBI and Pentagon apparently ran scenario exercises around terrorist activities and conversations within World of Warcraft. Wired even posted a link to the original presentation.
In the UK, the GCHQ (Britains version of the NSA) stated that they have “successfully been able to get the discussions between different game players on Xbox Live,” while agents were put in both World of Warcraft and Second Life in a bid to monitor users’ “buddylists and interaction”.” The GCHQ claims “in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that its activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the Intelligence and Security Committee.”
Blizzard responded to the news by telling ProPublica that they “are unaware of any surveillance taking place. If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission.” Microsoft also responded to the leak by telling Eurogamer “We’re not aware of any surveillance activity. If it has occurred as reported, it certainly wasn’t done with our consent.” However, Microsoft did allow the NSA access to Skype calls, and IM messages, which makes their statement seem a little less credible. We’ll keep you updated as this story progresses.
How do you feel about all this surveillance in our games? Let us know in the comments.