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World of Warcraft, Western Spies

December 09, 2013
tags:#Edward Snowden, #internet, #surveillance
located:USA, United Kingdom
One of the most interesting revelations to come out of the documents leaked by Edward Snowden is the surveillance of video games, like World of Warcraft, by Western intelligence agencies.

The documents show that American and British spies have created their own avatars in order to collect the data of players who may be using the games to communicate in secret, but also to recruit informers.

According to the New York Times, a top-secret National Security Agency (NSA) document described the concern that video games provided intelligence suspects “a way to hide in plain sight". However, with so many spies working inside the game Second Life, the creation of a special group was needed to avoid them accidentally spying on each other - it seems the threat may have been overestimated.

This revelation only adds to the growing picture of the vast scope Western governments' surveillance has over citizens as they continue to use technology to undermine the individual's right to privacy.

And in other news regarding the right to information, both sides of the world's governments are involved in secret negotiations that will fundamentally change the way American corporates can do business in other economies, to their advantage, in what political activist and writer George Monbiot has called "a monstrous assault on democracy". The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will potentially be the biggest trade deal in the world, to be formed between the US and the EU, while the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) involves Australia, New Zealand, Canada and a handful of Asian countries.

In response to the negotiations happening behind closed doors, activist group Just Foreign Policy recently crowdfunded a $70,000 bounty to be handed to Wikileaks upon the release of the full text of the TPP. So far only one chapter has been released.

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Photo credit: Flickr user Anonymous9000