Pwned and played: Big Brother is toying with our privacy

The spooks hit World of Warcraft; now they're infiltrating Angry Birds and sullying good Smurf names. Is nothing sacred?

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The spy who pwned me

My theory: The NSA brass doesn't know it, but they aren't actually spying on us. They hired the best and the brightest from engineering schools the world over, but failed to filter for online gaming addiction. Suddenly a bunch of rabid MMOG and console addicts have an unlimited budget and find they're being managed by old-timey NSA supervisors who'll believe just about anything is a viable intelligence target as long as you can access it from a cave with a broadband connection.

They did what any self-respecting gamer geek would do in that situation: They built the biggest honking game system of all time, and now they're playing their hearts out while charging billable hours. The fact that they're probably selling our contact information to marketing firms on the side to pad those anemic federal pensions is gravy.

Gamer geeks gone wild

This begs the question of what else we might soon discover the NSA has crawled into. Given the gamer geek theory, online pizza delivery sites are undoubtedly compromised. I figured technology retailers like ZipZoomFly were toast too until I remembered these guys are enjoying an unlimited budget -- they're probably buying customized Logitech gamer gear from Haliburton at $6,000 a joystick.

What else is fair, er, game? Information from escort sites is being mainlined into NSA HQ by now, and if you're a woman changing in a dressing room that's even near a security camera, make sure to wave because you're likely being simulcast in HD to our nation's online answer to James Bond. That poor fool on Tindr has to stay in shape and practice flirting so that he could seduce women. Our sad spies hit the power button, and drool lasciviously over their multiple monitors.

Frankly, this constant stream of rectally invasive privacy revelations is making me tired. Tilting at windmills or howling at the moon doesn't do this feeling justice. Public confidence that we ordinary citizens aren't having our privacy violated? That's pretty bald-faced even for a politician.

This article, "Pwned and played: Big Brother is toying with our privacy," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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