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
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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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