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Despite billions of dollars spent by intelligence agencies like NSA and CIA on technologies to intercept and monitor electronic messages and communications, terrorists all over the world are able to communicate without fear of discovery, using online computer games.
The CIA tentatively acknowledged this threat in its 2008 Data Mining Report and started the Reynard Project as a "seedling effort" to detect suspicious behaviour and actions in the virtual world. Although online gaming has exploded and hundreds of millions of people participate in these games, not much has been heard about the Reynard Project since.
Recently the danger of terrorists using computer games as a secure communication channel led to alarming news articles by major newspapers in Europe, following the release of the technothriller MMORPG: How a computer game becomes deadly serious.
Dutchman Emile van Veen spent two years researching how terrorists could utilise so called Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs). These online games appear to be an unbreakable code for intelligence agencies and offer communication channels like email, chat and voice chat. They are violent by nature, making it virtually impossible to detect dangerous conversations. They can be accessed from any computer, anywhere, by using anonymous accounts. Van Veen's story is set in both the real and the virtual world, a novel concept in itself. Emile van Veen: "Especially reproductions of our real world are dangerous. Someone who wants to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge could examine the target in detail and scout his way in and out as well." He thinks the danger is imminent.
After the release of his thriller in Europe, Van Veen received a lot of worried press attention. "Many people accused me of bringing this to the attention of terrorists and criminals. That's unfair, it's already there. The Intelligence Community must act and they must act fast. I hope my novel helps in bringing about a sense of urgency," he says.
via Terrorists Using Online Games Undetected by CIA and NSA -- SCHIEDAM, Netherlands and NEW YORK, April 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --.