NSA spied through online video games

U.S. and U.K. intelligence agencies have used online video games to track surveillance targets, according to a report from The Guardian.

The U.S. National Security Agency and the UK's Government Communications Headquarters have gathered intelligence through the Xbox Live network, World of Warcraft and Second Life, The Guardian reports based on documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.


"The agencies, the documents show, have built mass-collection capabilities against the Xbox Live console network, which boasts more than 48 million players," The Guardian wrote.

"Real-life agents have been deployed into virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human avatars of Second Life."

According to the report, the documents from Snowden "contain no indication that the surveillance ever foiled any terrorism plots" or present "any clear evidence that terror groups were using the virtual communities to communicate as the intelligence agencies confidently predicted."

The Guardian also raised questions about the intelligence agencies' affects on user privacy.

"It is unclear how the agencies accessed their data, or how many communications were collected. Nor is it clear how the NSA ensured that it was not monitoring innocent Americans whose identity and nationality may have been concealed behind their virtual avatar."