World of Warcraft Users Not Pleased With NSA Spying on Them

“Keeping us safe, one gnome at a time,” writes a Warcraft gamer.

David Bray, 29, from Oxford poses as a Kirin Tor Wizard from World of WarCraft ahead of the MCM London Comic Con Expo at ExCel on October 26, 2012 in London, England.
National Journal
Matt Berman
Dec. 9, 2013, 5:37 a.m.

You can add orcs to the list of things that the Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency is spy­ing on.

Ac­cord­ing to new clas­si­fied doc­u­ments ob­tained by Ed­ward Snowden, NSA agents have entered the on­line realms of World of War­craft, Xbox Live, and Second life. A 2008 NSA doc­u­ment, re­por­ted out by ProP­ub­lica, calls the on­line gam­ing com­munit­ies a “tar­get-rich com­mu­nic­a­tion net­work” which would let pos­sible ter­ror­ists “hide in plain sight.” As has been the case with oth­er leaked NSA docs, these new ones are not without their ex­clam­a­tions. Get­ting agents in on these games is “an op­por­tun­ity!”

What does an NSA agent in World of War­craft look like? What levels are we talk­ing about? Well, as it turns out, there are 120 char­ac­ters in the War­craft realm named Nsa. We’re not say­ing that any of these char­ac­ters are ac­tu­ally NSA agents, but the agency has already shown a pen­chant for the un­cre­at­ive.

So far, it’s un­clear what, if any­thing, the di­git­al sleuth­ing has turned up. But the NSA in­filt­ra­tion has def­in­itely pissed off a whole lot of World of War­craft users.

“Keep­ing us safe, one gnome at a time,” a Hu­man Rogue wrote on a World of War­craft for­um Monday morn­ing. “The NSA are spy­ing be­cause of the Dark­spear Trolls,” writes an Orc War­ri­or. A Night Elf Druid says “It’s a clev­er at­tempt for agents to sit around and play War­craft. That is all.” A Night Elft War­ri­or wishes the spies well: “Good luck agents, on try­ing to get to a high enough level to find all those darn ter­ror­ists that would prob­ably hid­ing [sic] around places in Azeroth you don’t even know ex­ist.”

“This is pathet­ic,” writes a red­dit user on the World of War­craft subred­dit. “They have went [sic] from spy­ing on a su­per power in the cold war to spy­ing on people play­ing an elf in a video game.”

There is, however, one War­craft Nsa char­ac­ter who’s a level 90 Pandar­en Dis­cip­line Priest. So ter­ror­ist plot­ters of Azeroth: You’ve been warned.

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