World of Warcraft and Second Life have been infiltrated by U.S. intelligence agencies, according to documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Since in-game chat is as easy to use as instant messaging or email, the U.S. government considers games to be just as likely to house secret terrorist groups as any other platform for online communication.
The release of this particular news should not come as a big surprise for WoW fans who remember a report from 2008 that revealed similar news. The public’s disapproval of this use of government resources, as well as the potential for false arrests based on misunderstood messages, has returned to the forefront. Players who participate in-character in role-playing guilds may someday be misconstrued by NSA spies who can’t tell fact from fiction. More importantly, some researchers still assert that the NSA’s current tactics have not succeeded in making the world a safer place. Perhaps the most unsettling aspect of this news is that the internet’s short attention span will soon forget it once more.