Schneier on Security
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March 17, 2006
Massive Surveillance in an Online Gaming World
Posted on March 17, 2006 at 7:27 AM
• 5 Comments
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Its nice to see that there is as much surveilance in the virtual world as there is in the real world, now if only they could arrange to remove my shoes and confiscate my nail clippers before logging into the online servers....
Who knows, maybe the NSA is listening in too... maybe they consider the chats in WoW to be a place where terrorist can discuss strategy openly (think of it as a warped form of steganography :-)
Or I could be a complete nutter who needs to be slapped with a squid :-)
The best part about it is that just like in physical space, the massive surveillance encourages you to draw conclusions based upon the things that are easy to measure, even if that data seems strongly at odds with the reported experiences of everyone there.
To Stacey. You know, the terrorist were pretty good at skirting surveilance by doing htings like creating a draft message in hotmail. The other person would log in and read it. No mail was actually sent.
Games like WoW, do spend a LOT of energy in making their packets obfuscated or even encrypted so that enterprising players would not write programs to get a heads up advantage. They even make sure there are no processes in the computer tapping into the game memory space. Some people suggested using the Sony DRM package to stealth some of the cheating software.
That in itself makes for a VERY nice (although expensive at $13 per month) safe communication channel. There is a LOT of noise in there where a short message can be hidden. It even has its own internal email system. IP packets can be routed around so that the actual source from say Pakistan can be obfuscated.
It is an interesting possibility.
One should go and write a WoW-Addon that encrypts the in-game mail...
I will go ans ask one of the engineer gnomes of my guild. :-)
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