Reports say British and American intelligence officers have been spying on gamers across the world, deploying undercover officers to virtual universes and sucking up traffic from popular online games such as World of Warcraft.
Stories carried Monday in The New York Times, the Guardian, and ProPublica suggested that US and UK spies have spent years hunting the fictitious worlds of Second Life and World of Warcraft looking for terrorists or informants.
Important details — such as how much data was gathered, or how many players' information was compromised — were not clear, the reports said.
The reports were based on documents provided by Edward Snowden, a former contract employee of the US National Security Agency.
The British intelligence agency GCHQ, which monitors communications, did not immediately comment.