Trade chat has been abuzz the past few days over an article that came out recently about the NSA using games like World of Warcraft and Second Life to track terrorist movements. I usually ignore trade chat, its full of conspiracy theories and racist/sexist remarks on the daily, but when I saw the link to the article in my Yahoo news feed, I thought I'd give it a closer look.
The article from Forbes.com entitled, New Snowden Leak Reveals The NSA Planted Agents Inside 'World of Warcraft', goes on to explain that in the Snowden documents, they found that the NSA and some UK agencies had tried to use the games as a way to monitor terrorist activities and the possible transfer of real life funds through the game. Second Life seems like the game to use for real life money transfers, as you buy in-game items with real life money (I saw a True Life once where that was how this one girl supported herself. She made clothes in-game in Second Life and sold them for real money), whereas, that's not so in WoW (unless you're a gold farmer, which the article briefly mentions). What I think is interesting, is that people are surprised by the placing of agents. After the attack on Benghazi, it was found out that the Ambassador there was an avid World of Warcraft player. And several celebrities have come out and said that they are, or were, active WoW players as well. So why wouldn't a terrorist play? You never really know who you're talking to on games like that, so its as much a reminder to be careful as it is a reminder that anybody really can play. Often times I think people forget that there isn't one type of gamer out there.
Enough of the heavy stuff though, I am super excited to share that I *finally* received a Hearthstone beta invitation the other day!