THE BLOG
10/29/2013 04:54 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Video Games: The Final Frontier of Cyberspace

Let's face it -- no matter who or where you are, the NSA is monitoring you. As we speak, the U.S. government's spy agency is collecting metadata and monitoring conversations, invading the collective privacy of our modern digital society. What's even worse is, although scattered international governments and human rights organizations rigidly oppose such invasive measures, the majority of the populace is too busy playing their video games to notice what's happening.

Can We Just Hit Reset?

With Big Brother building a robot army and monitoring our every thought and action, the window of time in which normal citizens can truly have their voices heard by our elected government officials is quickly shutting. Microsoft's Domain Awareness system allows monitoring across all video cameras, and all digital lines of communication are being monitored... but how closely?

In speaking to people with various angles and perspectives on the issue (including both current and retired Border Patrol agents, Military Intelligence analysts, City and Federal law enforcement, hackers, activists, corporate IT, and non-techies), I started realizing more and more that high-tech isn't the way to go in this situation. Everyone's scrambling for data, without realizing they need to go low-tech in order to hide in the Matrix...

Encrypted Communication Exists

While everyone's running around like Chicken Little trying to avoid NSA detection, they're focusing on how email, chat, and website communication isn't protected. With a backdoor even existing, any hacker could break into the servers, but the government doesn't even need that -- they just snoop on all of our information. So many companies are involved, it's hard to find someone who can back us. To find such companies, one must look where nobody else is: video games.

You see, these days, video games are distributed and played in a variety of ways. If you really wanted to keep a conversation encrypted from government detection, try having the conversation within a video game. Anyone who has ever played a first-person shooter online knows it's where you go to hear the most vile, offensive, hate-filled, sexist, racist, violent, and downright threatening and illegal comments ever uttered. That's just one example of individualized communication lines. It gets easier...

Hide in Plain Sight

It's not that you're not being monitored in online video games. It's that you're not monitored as long as nobody has a reason to. There are several communication scenarios that are possible if you accept video games as a valid communication form. Here are several scenarios I can come up with, although I've devolved into a bit of a noob in my old age so feel free to add or come up with your own in private:

1 - Gaming Communities -- Chatting between friends within Steam, PlayStation Home (Don't use Xbox Live), or on other such servers provides a line of digital communication that is somewhat more secure than using an encrypted service. Your conversation will simply blend into everything else. Just make sure you add "in GTA" (or some other game about drugs) to conversations about drugs, "in Counterstrike" (or any war or shooting game) to conversations about organizing strategic moves, etc.

2 -- Casual Games (i.e Wordfeud, etc) -- A very quick and easy way to avoid detection is to use the chat room within any of the social games. Each of these games is housed on a proprietary server the government would need to go through. At this point, the government would begin pissing people off if they knew their casual games were being invaded, so you're (somewhat) safe using these communication channels. Think of every game server as a separate radio band, and you're playing a game of hide-and-seek with the government.

They still monitor text though, so they'll eventually find you. To take your level of security up a notch, stop typing words and download a Pictionary game like Draw Something. With this game, you can draw messages to each other that are undetectable by any current type of government monitoring. If you create a picto language, you'll future-proof the concept.

You don't even have to use any of the casual games I'm mentioning in this post -- feel free to utilize any of the countless freemium clones I've been rallying against for so long. Greedy startups looking to make a quick buck will constantly churn out free drawing games in which you can privately send messages in a way nobody can see... but wait, there's more...

You don't even have to say anything -- assign values to different games and just send an invite for that game when you have product, need a pickup, etc. Think like a Windtalker...

3 -- Talk within Game Servers

If you spend a couple hundred dollars in video game equipment, you can hold conversations within game servers directly. Since you can't trust Google, Facebook, or Twitter, get a couple of EA games (they use their own servers, even on Xbox Live), sign up for a Blizzard account and chat on World of Warcraft, or choose any of the thousands of individual video game servers hosted by individual video game companies that add layer after layer of NSA-resistant communications.

Nobody cares if you plot terrorist acts on CounterStrike -- it's the point of the game. I can promise you the government will never be able to shut down Rockstar's servers just because they suspect people may be discussing real life drug deals through it. How can they pinpoint the real one? They may know you play Grand Theft Auto online, but they don't know what you're saying on it or what it means.

It's-a Me... Mario

Whether you're a noob or a hardcore gamer, video game companies seem to be the only tech companies not being hit up by the NSA and other governments for information. Video games are the place everyone hides and acts out all their most devious thoughts, and the variety of gaming content allows you to stealthily mask a variety of communications.

Don't just hold yourself to the examples used above -- research which video game, servers, and devices work best for your own privacy needs. I encourage all unquestionable people performing all questionable acts to hide yourself in plain site within video games... the one place the American public will notice if anything is disturbed...

Brian Penny is a former business analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, consultant, and frequent contributor to Mainstreet, Lifehack, and HardcoreDroid.