World of spycraft

The NSA has been spying on World of Warcraft:

The National Security Agency (NSA) and UK sister agency GCHQ sought to infiltrate the massive virtual worlds in online video games such as “World of Warcraft” and interactive environments like “Second Life,” according to the latest secret documents stolen by Edward Snowden and jointly released by the Guardian, the New York Times and ProPublica.

According to a document titled “Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments,” the secretive spy agencies were concerned by potential terrorist use of such games and felt an immediate need to begin analyzing in-game communications as early as 2007.

Why were they so concerned? Get this:

“[Certain] games offer realistic weapons training (what weapon to use against what target, what ranges can be achieved, even aiming and firing), military operations and tactics, photorealistic land navigation and terrain familiarization, and leadership skills,” the document notes.

Fortunately, this is just bad reporting. The NSA wasn’t really making a connection between World of Warcraft and realistic weapons training; they were talking about games like America’s Army. But then why the concern over a game in which the most realistic weapon is a Gnomish blunderbuss? I wonder if this was just an excuse to play games on company time.

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