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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 17, 2013 at 7:30 AM

NSA spying through online games

Online trash-talking is not a legitimate threat

Dressed as a spy, activist, Ed Burenshaw holds a simualted recording device as he and others greet people as they arrive at the office of the United States Trade Representative, on Dec. 16 in Washington, DC. The activists are protesting the National Security Agency's (NSA) eavesdropping. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Dressed as a spy, activist, Ed Burenshaw holds a simualted recording device as he and others greet people as they arrive at the office of the United States Trade Representative, on Dec. 16 in Washington, DC. The activists are protesting the National Security Agency’s (NSA) eavesdropping. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The NSA is wasting time and money spying on online games such as World of Warcraft [“8 Internet firms unite in call to rein in U.S. spying," page one, Dec. 9].

My main problem with this issue is how the NSA will tell the difference between actual threats and mindless trash-talking. There is a lot of trash-talking that goes on in these online games and it is impossible to be 100 percent sure that what someone says is a legitimate threat or not. Will the NSA start arresting everyone who makes threatening comments? Will children, teens and adults be jailed because of a sarcastic threat they made, just like Justin Carter was for his Facebook post?

Unless a threat is actually carried out, the NSA has no proof that a person had an actual intent to harm. This is a huge waste of money and won’t have positive results. If they start arresting these potential terrorists, more than a quarter of the gaming community would be behind bars.

— Kyle King, Seattle

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