It seems the more we find out, the more like a video game the NSA's unwarranted spying on us has really become. Their collection of data is like the extra power or lives accumulated in an MMOG (Massive Multi-player Online Game). Gather enough data and you win gold coins or accessories for your weapon's arsenal.
Why all the video gaming references? Check this out from The Guardian:
To the National Security Agency analyst writing a briefing to his superiors, the situation was clear: their current surveillance efforts were lacking something. The agency's impressive arsenal of cable taps and sophisticated hacking attacks was not enough. What it really needed was a horde of undercover Orcs [Worlds of Warcraft].
That vision of spycraft sparked a concerted drive by the NSA and its UK sister agency GCHQ to infiltrate the massive communities playing online games, according to secret documents disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The mining of data seems to really have gone overboard this time. The NSA isn't just listening and recording phone metadata, they're turning on our computer video cameras without notice, looking at us, checking everything we do, where we are (GPS) and how we spend not only our money, but our lives.
Given that gaming consoles often include voice headsets, video cameras, and other identifiers, the potential for joining together biometric information with activities was also an exciting one.
The agencies, the documents show, have built mass-collection capabilities against the Xbox Live console network, which has more than 48 million players. Real-life agents have been deployed into virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human avatars of Second Life. There were attempts, too, to recruit potential informants from the games' tech-friendly users.
Over the President's two week vacation in Hawaii, he'll be poring over recommendations for more oversight on the NSA. From the sounds of things, this is not going to be an easy review.
A White House-convened group of privacy and national security experts issued a report to President Obama about U.S. surveillance programs, including 46 reform recommendations.
In the report, the review panel questioned the efficacy of an NSA program that involves collecting data about virtually all American phone calls and suggested that phone companies hold the data instead of the NSA.
The Intelligence lawmakers — Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) — took issue with the report’s “misleading conclusion” that the NSA’s phone call data program hasn’t prevented terrorists attacks.
If the phone call data program did or didn't prevent any terrorist attacks, I wonder how many were thwarted by the spying on gamers. Only time will tell, but there's some really crazy sh*t going on with the NSA and we're going to have to reign them in, before life does become a video game... only with real weapons.