I was sat in the waiting area in the hospital, looking around at the various sick and injured people getting gradually more perturbed. Being a girl and all, I tend to experience an excessive amount of empathy for people, so I was feeling kind of depressed… until I started browsing the web.
As I was surfing away, thinking that this week is going to be slow as hell, suddenly BAM! I came across a rogue article that made my mouth ache from trying to conceal a series of horrendous laughs so to not offend my fellow suffering hospital dwellers.
It turns out that the NSA and the GCHQ have cast aside their earthly limitations and have adopted identities as worgens and night elves, fighting among us in our online gaming worlds, as we remain oblivious to their presence.
"What do you mean you work for the government?!"
In a story reported by The New York Times, the Guardian and ProPublica, and backed by documents given to the Guardian by Mr. Eddy Snowden, we learn of agents from the NSA, CIA and the UK’s GCHQ, deploying their custom made characters on missions to sniff out ill deeds and terrorist activities in some of our most populated online games, World of Warcraft and Second life. Not only that, spooks also tapped into the Xbox Live console network and gathered data from millions of users. As it happens, I personally couldn’t give two rampant monkeys if the intelligence agencies want to investigate my gaming activity, in fact I find it monolithically hilarious that they, at one point, sat analyzing 3 whole days of Second Life chat log, to find absolutely nothing. It does however pose questions and issues regarding privacy. But who doesn’t know that these online games are not private to begin with? It’s not like they hide behind the notion of gaming being a private ordeal anymore. If anyone knows anything about online gaming, they will know that these things are regulated anyway for the purpose of catching out dirty cheating scum, or to gather our response to certain aspects of the game etc.
The report dates back to 2006, meaning that government agencies have been infiltrating our gaming worlds to catch out terrorists’ communications and money moving via online game methods for seven years. To just repeat that figure, that’s seven years spent undercover in the Mages’ Guilds and goblin war bands, building up to a pretty shocking find; there is nothing there! In fact, in another attempt to ground me with laughter, it seems whenever a team from the plethora of organisations carrying out these investigation found what appeared to be a suspicious character or nugget of information, it turned out to be a just another friendly spy. Oops.
Blizzard confirmed that they knew nothing of this clandestine operation, and stated that neither agency had approached them with any information regarding their quest, nor to gain permission. Second Life and Xbox Live officials have retained from commenting when confronted with this issue.
We are surrounded by competitor nations seeking the most sophisticated methods of warfare, so it certainly seems only logical that our own governments would try the same in a video game called World of Warcraft! Reports that Al-Qaeda is planning an attack in online fantasy MMORPG’s? I’m guessing this is the way they legitimize playing their favorite games at work. The conspiracy is unearthed!