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World of Spycraft: NSA and CIA spied in online games

Justin Elliott, ProPublica, and Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times | Dec. 10, 2013
According to newly disclosed classified documents, American and British spies have been conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games

It is not clear how useful such research might be. A group at the Palo Alto Research Center, for example, produced a government-funded study of World of Warcraft that found "younger players and male players preferring competitive, hack-and-slash activities, and older and female players preferring noncombat activities," such as exploring the virtual world. A group from the nonprofit SRI International, meanwhile, found that players under age 18 often used all capital letters both in chat messages and in their avatar names.

Those involved in the project were told little by their government patrons. According to Nick Yee, a Palo Alto researcher who worked on the effort, "We were specifically asked not to speculate on the government's motivations and goals."

Andrew W. Lehren contributed reporting.

 

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