Poll: Do Publishers Know the NSA Is Conducting Surveillance Operations In Their Games?

December 11, 2013 - Andrew Eisen

A few days ago we talked about a report that showed that American and British spy agencies are playing World of Warcraft, Second Life and various Xbox Live games to spy on us.

Do you think the publishers of those titles know about the surveillance ops being conducted in their games?

For its part, Blizzard says it's "unaware of any surveillance taking place" in World of Warcraft and if there are spies among the players, they're there without the publisher's "knowledge or permission."

Microsoft and Second Life dev Linden Labs both declined to comment.  But Microsoft was one of eight companies to officially call on the U.S. government to limit its spying activities.  Hmm...

What do you think, readers?  How in the know are game makers as to what goes on in their games?  Vote in the poll and let us know!  Once you've done that, strap on your tinfoil hat and delve into the comments section for a hopefully robust and nuanced discussion of this topic of world-shattering importance!  Doesn't that sound like fun?  No?  Oh, okay.  I guess you could just email your thoughts to SuperPACpodcast@gmail.com instead.  Party pooper.

EZK and I would normally reveal the poll results on next week's podcast but I'm going on vacation so I have no idea what's going on with episode 81 but as soon as I do, you'll know a few days later!

"vote label" © Tribalium / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen


Comments

Re: Poll: Do Publishers Know the NSA Is Conducting ...

Since there was no mechanical reason why the NSA would need their help to do so, I see no reason why they would bother informing the companies in question.

I would not be surprised if some people in the various companies suspected, but even if it turned out to be correct they likely did not have anything to actually base their suspicion on other then 'common knowledge' gleaned from TV shows and reenforced by forums.

Re: Poll: Do Publishers Know the NSA Is Conducting ...

I'd say yes they did know, or at least had some inclination if not fully aware. Plausible deniability is the name of the game though. Something I heard a lot of in the military...

This has been something whispered in the wind since Ultima Online at least, if not longer.

Its already known that certain "key phrases" when typed in a computer, or spoken on the phone ends up setting off some form of alarm. So it shouldn't be any surprise to anyone that they'd try setting up the same for online games. I wouldn't be surprised if XBL and PSN are also tapped in some way.

 
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