Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Globe Xmas Gift: Gaming the NSA

This has already been sent to them, and they know from whom:

"American and British intelligence operations have been spying on online gamers across the world for years.... suggesting that even the fantasy worlds popular with children, teens, and escapists of all ages aren’t beyond the attention of the NSA.... long worried that such games serve as a good cover for terrorists or other evildoers.... a determined effort to infiltrate a world many people associate with adolescents and shut-ins."

I'm now glad I was never very interested or good at video games.

"NSA reportedly spies on virtual worlds of gaming players; Snowden’s leak contends agents infiltrate sites" by Raphael Satter |  Associated Press, December 10, 2013

LONDON — American and British intelligence operations have been spying on online gamers across the world for years, according to documents leaked by a former US government contractor.

The world’s most powerful espionage agencies sent undercover agents into virtual universes to monitor activity in online fantasy games such as ‘‘World of Warcraft,’’ according to reports Monday by The New York Times, the Guardian, and ProPublica.

Your tax money at work in this age of austerity, sequestration, and budget cuts.

US and UK spies trawled the online games for information on terrorists or informants, according to the reports, which were based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The stories offered an unusual take on America’s world-spanning surveillance campaign, suggesting that even the fantasy worlds popular with children, teens, and escapists of all ages aren’t beyond the attention of the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ.

Spy agencies have long worried that such games serve as a good cover for terrorists or other evildoers who could use in-game messaging systems to swap information. In one of the documents cited Monday by news organizations, the NSA warned that the games could give intelligence targets a place to ‘‘hide in plain sight.’’


Can't believe your eyes, can you?

The documents did not cite any successes in foiling terrorist plots or evidence that terrorist groups made use of the sites to plan operations.

Of course not, because (sigh) it turns out that ALL "terrorist" plots and groups are CREATED, FUNDED, and DIRECTED by WESTERN INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES!

Virtual universes such as ‘‘World of Warcraft’’ can be massively popular, drawing in millions of players who log months’ worth of real-world time competing with other players for online glory, virtual treasure, and magical loot.

And here I have been wasting my time blogging about the Boston Globe!

At its height, ‘‘World of Warcraft’’ boasted some 12 million paying subscribers, more than the population of Greece.

Well, it is it's own nation, country, universe, whatever.

Other virtual worlds, such as Linden Labs’ ‘‘Second Life’’ or the various games hosted by Microsoft’s Xbox — home to the popular science fiction-themed shoot-em-up ‘‘Halo’’ — host millions more.

Microsoft issued a statement, saying it is ‘‘not aware of any surveillance activity. If it has occurred as reported, it certainly wasn’t done with our consent.’’

And they COULD NOT SAY SO even if there were -- because THAT is the LAW!

Blizzard Entertainment also said in a statement that it is ‘‘unaware of any surveillance taking place.’’

Linden Labs did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

The 82-page-document, published on the New York Times website, also noted that players could use video games to recruit other users or carry out virtual weapons training — pointing to the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers as examples of terrorists who had used flight simulation software to hone their skills.

Translation: this is a limited hangout and agenda-pushing piece of propaganda. 

Get a clue, folks.

Important details — such as how the agencies secured access to gamers’ data, how players’ information was compromised, or whether Americans were swept up in the spying — were not clear, the Times and ProPublica said, but the reports point to a determined effort to infiltrate a world many people associate with adolescents and shut-ins.

Another example of a limited hangout, as is the rather prolific coverage of Snowden and the NSA scandal over all the other alphabet scandals during the Obummer administration.

At the request of GCHQ, the NSA began extracting ‘‘World of Warcraft’’ data from its global intelligence haul, trying to tie specific accounts and characters to Islamic extremism and arms dealing efforts, the Guardian reported.



Six Zionist Companies Own 96% of the World's Media

I think they are related, yeah. 

All right, all right, go play your damn game.

"The trend is being driven in part by the economy. Audio gear, which can range from $10 for ear buds to thousands of dollars for a home theater system, is being considered by some an affordable luxury during a still shaky economy. The trend this season is a continuation of an audio craze that started last year."

And you wonder why I'm a Scrooge when it comes to the Globe?

Maybe you can make a career out of it:

"College to offer video game design degree

Manchester Community College is joining other colleges in offering an associate’s degree program in video game design. The Journal Inquirer reported that professor Edward Hogan said Connecticut does not have a large gaming industry similar to California, Florida, or the Boston area. But he said the state’s tax credit program for the entertainment industry has led to some growth. He said at least eight gaming companies operate in Connecticut. Courses include an introduction to computer games that reviews the history of games and technologies and an introduction to literature to strengthen reading and writing skills."

Odd after Sandy Hook, huh?

Also seeGame in the works at Schilling’s firm doesn’t sell

His games were the better fantasy type rather than the war simulation $hit.

"Tanks, aircraft interact for virtual Army training" Associated Press, March 04, 2013

FORT BLISS, Texas — The Army has set up a virtual program that records every aspect of training missions so soldiers can use video-game-like replay to study how effectively the ground and air forces interacted.

The system — a major upgrade over previous ones that didn’t fully integrate tank and helicopter communications — will be installed at posts across the United States and abroad.

The Integrated Training Environment is designed to cut costs, sharpen soldiers’ ability to interact with various units, and allow the military to more quickly train the growing ranks of troops returning from deployment.

The system, used at Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas, will be expanded by 2017 to 18 locations, including one in South Korea this year.

Inside the command center, dozens of computers run the simulations that replay the entire exercise on a giant screen. The live and computer-generated forces interact seamlessly, much like the replays from video games that allow the user to rotate the images to view them from any angle.

Yup, war is all a big game!


RelatedVideo gaming slowly becoming a pro sport

That's what drone strikes have become? $port?

"Video games mean losing. So why play?; A new book explores the unique disappointment and promise of ‘game over.’" by Leon Neyfakh |  Globe Staff, March 10, 2013

Playing video games is about chasing victory. In Pac-Man, that means eating as many little dots as possible and avoiding ghosts. In Doom, it means shooting demons. In Super Mario Bros., it means stomping on the heads of evil mushrooms.

But as hard as we try to win, the experience of playing actually tends to be dominated more often by failure, disappointment, and frustration. As we play, we lose, over and over again. We watch Pac-Man deflate, we get mauled by zombies, we fall off cliffs and die. Then, for some reason, we hit “play again.” 

Isn't that the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? 

In that sense, I am insane for I continue to buy and read a Boston Globe while expecting something different rather than the same old horse $hit.

For Jesper Juul, an assistant professor at the New York University Game Center, the experience of being wrecked by a game contains multitudes, and can teach us a great deal about why we play, how we think, and what we want. There is no fun without losing, Juul writes in his short new book, “The Art of Failure,” just as there is no pleasure without pain.

Already lost me with the tired cliches and book promotion.

Games, in this light—and video games, in particular—provide us with a chance to experiment with our own vulnerability, to struggle with our flaws in what is essentially a low-stakes simulation of an intense emotional experience, [and] they force us to confront all the ways in which we’re weak and incompetent....

I guess that is why I gave them up -- that and the lost wages stuffing quarters into the machine at the arcade. 

I was stupid. I ended up buying books.

“This is what games do,” he writes. “They promise us that we can repair a personal inadequacy—an inadequacy that they create in us in the first place.”

I'm inadequate because I didn't win at the video game? Says who?

Why do we do it to ourselves, subjecting ourselves again and again to the horror of “game over”? Juul spoke to Ideas from New York....

Sorry, game over

That ought to keep the kid busy the rest of the day.