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NSA spying extends to online gaming on Xbox Live, World Of Warcraft and more

US security agency surveillance extends into virtual worlds

Not content with invading the privacy of people in the real world it seems that the NSA has extended their surveillance into online domains.

According to information leaked by former NSA agent Edward Snowden the agency has been sending agents into online gaming environments like World Of Warcraft, Second Life and more along with getting together the means to collect mass data from Xbox Live's 48 million users.

They have been conducting surveillance on these platforms in the belief that they are being used by organisations that range from Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda as well as Chinese hackers and Iranian nuclear scientists. NSA spying extends to online gaming on Xbox Live, World Of Warcraft and more

The NSA has even gone so far as to suggest that some games can offer terrorists the chance to train virtually.

One exerpt reads, “These 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. While complete military training is best achieved in person, perfection is not always required to accomplish the missions. Some of the 9-11 pilots had never flown a real plane, they had only trained using Microsoft’s Flight Simulator.”

It went on, “When the mission is expensive, risky or dangerous, it is often a wiser idea to exercise virtually, rather than really blow an operative up assembling a bomb or exposing a sleeper agent to law enforcement scrutiny. Militaries around the world use virtual simulators with great success and the Hezbollah even hooked up a PlayStation controller to a laptop in order to guide some of its real missiles.”

The only agency of company to pass comment so far has been the UK's NSA counterparts GCHQ who said, “All GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that its activities are authorised, 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.”

To Microsoft's credit their General Counsel and Executive VP of Legal and Corporate Affairs Brad Smith recently published a statement on their official blog admitting that there is an "advanced persistent threat" to their customers from government spying.

Thanks The Guardian, New York Times and ProPublica via VG247.