NSA reportedly spying on virtual worlds, online games

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

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. 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.

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