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Will the NSA mine data from video games?

Aleks Krotoski from The Guardian writes that Google and the government are on the digital trails of online gamers.

She writes:

Google has been working on a patent since 2005 to deliver targeted advertising to gamers based on the cars they choose in racing games, the conversations they have in RPGs and the digital brands they favour in virtual worlds.

The US government is courting a report that outlines data mining initiatives that could identify potential terrorist activities in online games.

The question, of course, is this: What signals terrorist inclinations among gamers? Blowing up things? If so, we have an entire generation of future terrorists stretched out on living room floors, rising only occasionally to raid the fridge. Seems to me that if the government wants to ID potential terrorists from gaming behavior, they’ll have to get real terrorists to play these games. This would provide the training data. Not to get carried away here, but if real terrorists figure out that they’re being monitored and modeled, they might alter their behavior—maybe even staying under the speed limit and obeying the traffic signals on Grand Theft Auto. (adapted from

UPDATE: Jon Garfunkel points in comments to this earlier Wired story on data mining video games.

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