You probably already feel the eyes of governments on you every time you go online. But surely you’re safe when you’re gaming? Wrong: apparently British and US spies have been operating inside of games for some time now.
The New York Times, The Guardian and ProPublica broke the news that spies were operating inside World of Warcraft after using leaked confidential government information obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The virtual world is a place of escapism for millions worldwide but the US National Security Agency sees it as a potential hotbed for “terrorist” threats. Both US and UK spies have reportedly spent years using online games such as Second Life to investigate potentially threatening activity. One leaked document claimed these games could be used for recruitment or conducting virtual weapons training. By that logic, Call of Duty must be nearly all spies and terrorists.
The NSA is said to have extracted World of Warcraft account data and attempted to link it to Islamic extremism and arms deals, according to the Guardian.
At one point during the investigation, so many national security agents were reportedly playing games that a group was created to ensure they were not inadvertently spying on one another.
World of Warcraft parent company Blizzard Entertainment says it was unaware of any such activity.
No documents have revealed any terrorist plots foiled by these actions.