Latest posts by Alvin Bryan (see all)
- Millionaire Tyupkin Malware ATM Hackers May Come to US, India After Hitting Europe - October 23, 2014
- BitLicense Will Allow Bitcoin Spying in New York - October 22, 2014
- Australians are Fighting Data Retention Laws - October 22, 2014
Gamers have been targeted since 2007 by the American NSA and British GCHQ spy agencies. This is according to a few of the documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The agencies deemed online games and forums as prime sources for recruiting informants and spotting terrorists. And they had no way of determining who among the anonymous game avatars were American and British citizens.
Why Target Gamers?
According to the leaked documents, terrorists and Chinese hackers are known to play online games like Second Life, World of Warcraft, and others on the Xbox Live network. Agents of the NSA and GCHQ then created characters and joined the ranks to spy on gamers. They gathered data by observation, and also recorded email addresses, chat data, IP addresses and metadata from the network.
The rationale was that terrorists use these venues to exchange currency and discuss plans, though there was never any proof of this. They cannot even determine who was using a certain computer at a certain Internet café. And residential computers can also be shared with other people, like children. In the end, not a single terrorist was ever uncovered from the years spend spying on gamers. Aside from the terrorist angle, ordinary foreign gamers were also closely observed. They were considered a good source of information on how foreigners behave and what motivates them. And it was a good venue because no one had to leave their seats to gather the intelligence.
Another Way for the NSA to Spy on Americans
NSA online game spying is a big issue in the US because of privacy laws. The NSA is not allowed to legally spy on Americans. They cannot know who among the targeted gamers are American citizens. Therefore they are probably spying on Americans illegally. The same goes for the GCHQ, who ignored UK privacy law in much the same way.
Gamers can Use VPN Accounts for Privacy
It has become clear that spy agencies have not, do not and will not respect existing privacy laws. It then also becomes clear that there is little chance that any new laws on Internet privacy will be upheld. Gamers are then left with one choice. They can allow snoops to steal their data or use VPN accounts to secure it. Only by taking their online privacy into their own hands can they protect themselves against spying.