Author Topic: NSA, GCHQ can listen to Xbox Live chat communications  (Read 626 times)

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Offline GamerMan316

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NSA, GCHQ can listen to Xbox Live chat communications
« on: December 09, 2013, 12:19:22 PM »
NSA, GCHQ can listen to Xbox Live chat communications
World of Warcraft, Second Life also monitored.

UK and US spies are able to monitor communications within games such as World of Warcraft and listen in to private discussions on Xbox Live chat, leaked memos have revealed.

The latest collection of documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden, published today in The Guardian newspaper, have highlighted the security services' growing interest in online gaming as a means for people to communicate.

A September 2008 memo from GCHQ suggested that the agency was able to listen to voice chat on Xbox Live. Agents had "successfully been able to get the discussions between different game players on Xbox Live", the report noted.

NSA operatives were deployed within games such as World of Warcraft and Second Life to monitor users and extract information on their "buddylists and interaction".

Games "are an opportunity!", one analyst wrote, and offer an alternative "target-rich communications network" to the more traditionally-monitored forms of communication. Games were somewhere that targets could still "hide in plain sight".

The 2008 document talked of the NSA's "vigorous effort" to monitor game users via "exploitation modules" against Xbox Live and World of Warcraft. The program was run out of the agency's UK Menwith Hill base in North Yorkshire and used World of Warcraft metadata to link "accounts, characters and guilds" with potential targets.

Crucially, however, the leaked documentation offers no proof the surveillance in any way helped foil terrorist plots - or that terror groups had been found to use these services at all.

It is unknown how the agencies were able to gain the access they did, how many people's private communications and data have been accessed and whether the surveillance is still ongoing.

Microsoft has declined to comment on the report.

World of Warcraft maker Blizzard said that it was "unaware of any surveillance taking place. If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission".

A spokesperson for GCHQ did not "confirm or deny" the Guardian's report, but reassured that the British agency's actions were carried out "in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that its activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the Intelligence and Security Committee".


 

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