Spies, security and second life

For a story that’s sure to frighten, infuriate and amuse you all at once (quite the feat), Justin Elliott at the New York Times writes: Spies’ Dragnet Reaches a Playing Field of Elves and Trolls. Shreeya Sinha there wrote: “Were the Brits orcs or humans? US, UK spies infiltrated World of Warcraft fearing militants could use them.” Will Knight with Technology Review said, “Spooks are infiltrating WoW? Sounds like a great excuse for playing it all day to me.” Danielle Dreilinger at the New Orleans Times-Picayune tweeted: “Great-crazy-bizarre work by @JustinElliott on federal spying in online games. ‘So that's who's on 2nd Life’ joke here.”

For a Propublica take on the story, read World of Spycraft, which also found out that the NSA and CIA Spied in Online Games. Marian Wang there explained, “US spies infiltrated Second Life & World of Warcraft despite little evidence tht terrorists used them to communicate.” Colleague Lois Beckett wondered, “Did you invite the NSA to your LAN party?” Chris Wilson at Time Magazine said, “And yet, several orc cells were infiltrated before they could strike Azeroth.” Caitlin Dewey with the Washington Post said, “The NSA has ‘conducted spy operations’ in Second Life and World of Warcraft. I can't even.” Adam Pasick from Quartz tweeted from the story: “‘If they ever read these forums,’ wrote the goblin priest ‘Diaya,’ ‘they would realize they were wasting their time.’”

Appropriately, The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza wonders Why Won’t Obama Rein in the N.S.A.? Jason Hoppin from the Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote, “New @newyorker story on the history and current state of domestic spying.” Glenn Greenwald called it a “Great piece by @RyanLizza on ‘oversight’ joke: Sen Intel Comm ‘treats Sr intelligence officials like matinée idols.’” Freelancer Jason Leopold pointed out that, “According to Feinstein, Edward Snowden took ‘millions of pages’ of documents.”

Doing their own part to curb this madness, Tech Giants Issue Call for Limits on Government Surveillance of Users, as reported by Claire Miller and Edward Wyatt in the New York Times. We suppose it’s better late than never. Miller explained, “First they tried encryption, then PR, now this.” Richard Stevenson there tweeted: “Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple & other archrival tech firms come together to call for limits on govt surveillance.” Justin Elliott at ProPublica tweeted from the story: “The new principles outlined by the companies contain little information and few promises about their own practices.” Mike Isaac with AllThingsD said, “So all the big dailies got briefed on a giant middle finger to the NSA from the valley's coalition of web co’s.” Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica put it another way: “Nice of Microsoft, Google, and Apple to let AOL pretend to be relevant again.”

Jemima Kiss and Dan Roberts also covered the story for the Guardian: NSA surveillance: tech companies demand sweeping changes to US laws.

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