back to article US spooks see Sadville as potential terrorist paradise

US intelligence officials are growing increasingly wary of Second Life and other virtual worlds, which they say could soon become havens for terrorists, money-launderers and criminals engaged in corporate espionage. The virtual "communities" offer many of the same amenities of the real world, including banks, multiple …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Are you serious?

    Not even terrorists are so lame as to want to hang out in Sadville. And the CIA? What dorks.

  2. John

    Any serious plan involving Second Life...

    Needs to be canned. Anyone who takes that game seriously needs to go see a doctor. Perferably ones that have an abundance of rubber rooms.

  3. ian
    Gates Horns

    real-world uglyness in the virtual plane

    Can we now expect virtual beheadings and virtual waterboarding? Is this progress, or is it better to keep it real (so to speak)? And is a virtual waterboarding improved by network delays? So many questions, so few answers!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More money than sense

    You can tell they're having trouble spending their bloated budgets.

  5. John


    The other day upon the stairs

    I saw a man who wasn't there

    He wasn't there again today

    He must be from the CIA

  6. Andy Bright
    Black Helicopters

    Maybe they're on to something here!!!

    I've noticed that World of Warcraft has become increasingly unreliable, and my toon dies far more regularly due to crashes occuring at precisely the worst moment.

    I must admit I never thought of blaming it all on Al Quaeda. And if you think about it, it all makes sense.

    For some reason, even the most 'normal' people have been sucked irretrievably into some virtual game or another. Usually WoW, but others have their share of victims.

    So what better way to strike at the hearts of the American public than to corrupt their online gaming worlds with money laundering and *gasp* spying!

    I'm not exactly sure what they're spying on, or which avatars/toons/etc they believe will give them critical government secrets from the real world, but I'm sure the CIA have got it all worked out. And thank god they do, because it also never occurred to me that the toons living inside my monitor were actually looking back at me and watching what I was doing. All it would take is some poor soul to get so caught up in WoW he starts playing it at work, and the inner workings of a nuclear power plant or the offices of the FBI will be laid bare to the spies living inside their computers.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why are governments and government agencies incapable of abstracting concepts? Second Life is no different from any other online community. Any one of them can be used to communicate anything. The current trope is Second Life, next week, Facebook.

  8. Mark

    How to make Second Life safe

    Make it mandatory for any second life avatar to have a picture of Mohammed either AS their head or on a tshirt.

    Muslim terrorists will never be allowed to do that, so any avatar WITHOUT such a picture is evidently a terrorist!

    Hopefully if this takes off, when it gets warmer, we can have "Naked Day" to solve First Life in the same way:

    Since muslims aren't allowed to see naked women, all women should walk around the streets naked and all men must sit outside with a beer (ferment of the grain or grape) and watch. Thereby proving they are not muslims.

    And so the world will be safe.

    Ah, yes. That's my coat. Can you tie the arms up for me, never managed that myself...

  9. Matt
    Thumb Down


    This should be good.

    Cyber-jiihadists in Sadville detonating their way to martyrdom by programing flying penises to terrorize the furry/bdsm/(insert whatever sexual deviant group here) communities.

    I would ask the author to provide the name of their source in the CIA, so I can begin the letter campaign to have those at the CIA responsible for this Act of Ultimate Boobery sacked... unbelievable the ways they find to spend my tax dollars.

  10. Steve Roper

    Surveillance society

    Anywhere the pigs can't monitor every single thing you do, say and share with others is a "terrorist hotbed". So it's obvious - they want Sadville to start keeping Googlesque logs of everything you do in the virtual world so they can spy on everyone. Soon we'll see laws requiring MMORPG providers to log all their users' actions and chat records for the spooks to peruse at leisure. SL, WoW, Everquest, Morrowind etc - all these will have to start logging everything the players do and say.

    Kudos to the first gaming site that tells these control-freak bastards to fuck off and hosts their servers in a country like Antigua or Ukraine that doesn't toe the New World Order line.

  11. Michael Fletcher


    It's called "Freedom."

    I think they used to have it in real life once too in the USA.

  12. C. Nelson

    it's so obvious now!

    I think they're brilliant!

    ... I wish I could figure out a way to convince *my* boss to spend taxpayer dollars to pay me for playing WoW.

  13. LaeMi Qian

    Terror in sadville

    Pssst. Here is the signal - if I have my shoe stuck up my butt after a teleport, the Jihad is on. If it is my hair stuck up my butt, wait for further signal.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't think they understand any online communites, and therefore they view everything online as evil - o f--- it who am I kidding, they see us all no longer as citizens but as criminals just waiting to commit our first criminal act.

    But don't worry I'm sure someone will be along soon to tell us it's all for our own good and that our (not so)secret police are doing a bang up job of stopping terrorism.

    Or is it that the terrorists are busy in their training camps well out of reach actually planning something whilst letting clowns set fire to themselves in airport carparks.

  15. Jason Togneri
    Black Helicopters

    What a bunch of complete and utter...

    Words fail me. Honestly. Apart from the fact that ANY private virtual community or servce could be used for same, why a crappy, laggy one like SL?

    CIA so trying to be the cool kid on the block. CIA so made of FAIL.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    @steve roper

    hotbed ey? Next they'll be in your bedroom...

  17. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    What (if anything) were they thinking?

    What damage could people do in Sadville? Fly virtual planes into virtual buildings? Blow their avatar up in a busy virtual shopping centre? Does Sadville allow you to by virtual TNT? I do not know as I have avoided Sadville (not like the plague, more like a convention of chartered accountants: too boring for words). So even if they blow up ALL of Sadville: why should I care?

    Give this story to HEX (of UU-fame) and you would get

    +++ Out of Cheese Error

    +++ Reinstall Universe

    +++ Redo from Start

  18. Anonymous Coward

    I am shocked!--shocked!... discover that there are furry sexual deviants on Second Life. Where do I sign up?

    As for Al Qaeda, on past performance does anone expect the CIA to find anything?

  19. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I am amazed

    I am utterly floored by the continuing insistance of so-called "intelligence" gatherers to give to "terrorists" the intent of using mobile phones, internet and other eminently traceable mediums.

    Because yes, if you think you are anonymous from government agencies who want to find you, you are sadly mistaken.

    So tell me again why true terrorists, intent on wreaking mayhem and causing havoc, would so casually conduct their meetings via an ISP or a phone line, which practically guarantees that they will be overheard, traced and caught ?

    Nowadays, using the Post to send a mail to a P.O. box is far safer - there is no way the CIA can read every letter !

    I really would appreciate it if these people that are supposed to be in charge of our security could wisen up to the fact that we KNOW this is bull.

    A terrorist that uses a mobile phone in enemy territory, or the Internet to post critical operating info, is a dumb terrorist. We need not fear him because he WILL be caught even by semi-competent police forces.

    What we need to fear is the professional, competent terrorist that leaves no electronic trail to trace, uses only cash to pay anything needed, does not rent a car and contacts his agents face-to-face in remote or private areas.

    Fear those, because we will have a devil of a time catching them without placing a camera in every street, every house, every basement, and putting an agent behind every camera.

    Oh wait . .

  20. Anonymous Coward

    The Reasons?

    Most people go to online communities mainly because real life sucks.

    With ID-Cards/REAL-ID, ANPR, RFID-Tagging, Stop-n-Search and various other "Freedom and Liberty (TM)" protecting activities (THINK OF THE CHILDREN!) being all pervasive in the real world; people like to go online to express their rights.

    So of course the control-freak/kill-joys want to get these places under their control, too. Too much free thought, liberty, rights, freedom is too dangerous for the proletariate. They may start getting organised and stop listening to FOX/CNN propaganda.

    Really is a shame that Ron Paul doesn't have a hope in Hell of ever making it to the White House... :(

  21. Haviland

    On the bright side...

    You'll get to PvP against the CIA.

  22. Ralph B

    3rd Life

    Clearly a further level of virtualisation is required. Sadville Spooks will then just see the other avatars sitting in virtual cyber-cafes playing 3rd Life.

  23. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Worst possible place

    Let's see now. You want to plot a major terrrrist outrage. You need to do it in complete secrecy. I know! Let's use perhaps the most easily monitored environment humankind has ever produced: a virtual world, hosted in computers that you don't control but your enemies probably do, with no encryption whatsoever.

    If that's the sort of idiot we're up against, the GWoT is surely won. On the other hand, if that's the sort of idiot we've got on our side...

  24. Dave Cheetham

    First life crazier than second life

    I am going to have to stop logging in to SL as the First Life virtual world is far crazier!

  25. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Not surprising

    People working for ingtelligence services have a very specific mindset. They see anything and anyone as a potential threat. Given enough power they will ban any communication between members of public unless it takes place in the presence of an intelligence officer. They will then be concerned that they can't trust these intelligence officers and will send covert operatives to spook on them and so on.

    It's the job of the rest of the Govt and legislature to keep the paranoiac in the intelligence services in check.

  26. benito darder oliver

    They have no historical memory

    They tried to ban alcohol and they got the Mafia...

    They tried to control europe after WWII and they got USSR...

    They tried to help in Vietnam and look what happened...

    They tried to control the Middle East and they got Saddam Hussein...

    Have they memory like a goldfish? Usually there is no problem, only their fear against the unknown/different... And they speak about religious fanatics... Please, they don't have a mirror, have they?

    Swimming suit, beer, beach...

  27. The Other Steve


    Clearly the CIA still have a huge stash of LSD left over from their mind control experimentation days and are dispensing it freely at their strategy meetings.

    Hmm, actually, that would explain lots of things.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hysterical memory

    It has been a while since 9th grade World History, but I seem to remember the USSR not only as existing before WW II, but playing rather a prominent role.

    And which "they" got Saddam Hussein? The "they" the set up the franchise after WW I or the one that inherited the Great Game business?

  29. Peter Stern
    Thumb Down

    Sounds like Fud to me

    Sounds like FUD to me... Fud so that they can justify having agents playing in... err... I mean "investigating" these multi-player environments all day.

  30. Dalen

    CIA should get a life

    Oh wait... they already have a Second one.

    So they're afraid that virtual terrorists going to bring a virtual bomb into a virtual mall and virtually blow up a bunch of virtual flying penises. Or that people are going to steal each other's teledildonics scripts?

    (virtual coat on, typing the access password to my private building).

  31. night troll


    ...they are smoking over there must be ilegal, and they get to buy it with tax dollars too!! Some jobs for the boys?

  32. TrishaD

    Unexpected Results

    An intriguing thought has popped into my head while reading this...

    Given that to some degree any young Islamist terrorist resident in the West is likely to be some sort of social inadequate.....

    And given that people's enthusiasm for martyrdom seems to be fuelled by the promise of all of those nubile virgins awarded to the righteous in Paradise......

    It seems possible that any extended stay in SL might have a most uncalled for effect on the average geeky wannabee martyr to the cause.....

    'Uh... yeah, Ahmed, I'm real sorry I cant make the Jihad this week but you know, I'm on the beach with all these hot babes and I just bought this really kewl customised AK47 for only a few Lindens and I'm going to go play revolutionary guards on this island with these really neat dudes from the CIA and you know.... yeah yeah ... salaam to you, man too,,, Be seeing you.....'

  33. Daniel B.

    SL Banks?

    "The virtual "communities" offer many of the same amenities of the real world, including banks"

    No banks, though. After the 2007 Scamfest, the Linden Labs decided to kill all virtual banks last January. So don't worry about al-qaeda "terror money" finding its way in there.

    Then again ... if they did invest in say ... Ginko Financial, that bank crash would've actually hit them too. Wouldn't it be better if they *were* using Second Life? They'd be losing craploads of money there ;)

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