Print 26 comment(s) - last by justwatching.. on Apr 5 at 5:00 PM

The government's doing WHAT?  (Source:
The government is more concerned with the platforms rather than the games themselves, mainly because newer systems like Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3 allow users to communicate with one another via messaging and chat systems

Gamers may want to be careful about what they say when jumping onto their consoles for an innocent bout of slaying dragons or killing zombies -- the government will be watching.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Navy have launched a new research initiative that will explore ways of allowing the government to hack into gaming consoles like the Xbox 360, Wii, or PlayStation 3 to obtain information on gamers.

In 2008, a project called "Gaming Systems Monitoring and Analysis Project" was executed when law enforcement became worried about pedophiles using game consoles to talk to children. Later, law enforcement authorities went to DHS' Science and Technology Directorate in search of help on an instrument that could observe game console data. DHS then went to the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) to find Simson Garfinkel, a NPS computer science professor, to offer a contract to a company that could conduct the research and offer a product.

The U.S. Navy ended up recently awarding the $177,237 contract to Obscure Technologies, which is a computer forensics company based in San Francisco, California. Obscure Technologies will be expected to create new hardware and software capable of extracting data from video game consoles. DHS wants to be able to extract data from both new and used games systems bought on the secondary market as well.

According to DHS, the reason for tapping into game consoles is to find pedophiles, who are using communication resources on game systems to seek out victims, and even terrorists, which DHS believes are using consoles to communicate.

"Today's gaming systems are increasingly being used by criminals as a primary tool in exploiting children and, as a result, are being recovered by U.S. law enforcement organizations during court-authorized searches," said Garfinkel.

The government is more concerned with the platforms rather than the games themselves, mainly because newer systems like Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3 allow users to communicate with one another via messaging and chat systems. This communication is what the government is mainly after.

This new contract has privacy groups wondering if this is just another way that the government can abuse citizens' privacy.

"You wouldn't intentionally store sensitive data on a console," said Parker Higgins, a spokesman for the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), an online privacy group. "But I can think of things like connection logs and conversation logs that are incidentally stored data. And it's even more alarming because users might not know that the data is created. These consoles are being used as general-purpose computers. And they're used for all kinds of communications. The Xbox has a very active online community where people communicate. It stands to reason that you could get sensitive and private information stored on the console."

It's important to note that DHS doesn't plan to hack into the game consoles of U.S. citizens because of privacy-related issues. DHS only plans to peek at consoles from overseas.

"This project requires the purchasing of used video game systems outside of the U.S. in a manner that is likely to result in their containing significant and sensitive information from previous users," said Garfinkel. "We do not wish to work with data regarding U.S. persons due to Privacy Act considerations. If we find data on U.S. citizens in consoles purchased overseas, we remove the data from our corpus."

The government isn't the only one who has been problematic when it comes to citizen's privacy. Earlier this week, it was discovered that law enforcement around the U.S. is using cell phone tracking regularly as a tool for the job -- and sometimes the tracking is warrantless.

Source: Foreign Policy

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By sl68 on 4/4/2012 1:42:52 PM , Rating: 5
To the United Police States of America.

RE: Welcome...
By Samus on 4/4/2012 2:22:05 PM , Rating: 2
..or United States of Nazi Germany.

RE: Welcome...
By Ristogod on 4/4/2012 2:41:36 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, since when is a pedophile considered a homeland security risk?

They take terrorists and pedophiles and make them the most feared thing in society and use them as the justification on virtually everything they do to compromise our natural rights.

It's not the right of any federal agency to prosecute pedophiles anyway. That right is left to the states.

RE: Welcome...
By GulWestfale on 4/4/2012 3:28:05 PM , Rating: 3
can someone explain to me why the navy is paying for this, or why it is even involved in this? is not the investigation of crimes/criminals the responsibility of the FBI?

RE: Welcome...
By Yojimbo on 4/4/2012 3:45:32 PM , Rating: 3
not only that, but are there that many pre-pubescent kids using those services? and if there are, are they really at risk of being hurt by any pedophiles? kids are hurt by pedophiles if the pedophiles are teachers or babysitters or priests, not on the internet. they probably have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being hurt by such a pedophile. what a waste of money, let alone a scary abuse of power.

RE: Welcome...
By Souka on 4/4/2012 6:38:03 PM , Rating: 5
so if two 14yr olds are sex-video chatting...and a 45yr old Navy dude is watching them...yeah, I think we all know who the pedophile is....

RE: Welcome...
By Obujuwami on 4/4/2012 3:38:22 PM , Rating: 1
If the filth they are passing around crosses state boundaries, the FBI should look into it, if it goes international, the FBI and/or DHS should be involved.

Giving them the right to look for pedos when it's intrastate is like telling the FBI it's ok for them to arrest people for jay walking. Maybe we should just pass a federal law giving local and state police the ability to do this given a proper warrant is obtained. Sure it will be abused, because that what most cops do, but at least it will give them the tools they need to catch the bastards.

RE: Welcome...
By JediJeb on 4/4/2012 7:26:02 PM , Rating: 4
If the filth they are passing around crosses state boundaries, the FBI should look into it, if it goes international, the FBI and/or DHS should be involved.

FBI and maybe Interpol, but what would DHS have to do with it? DHS has become an overpowered catchall agency that is stretching its influence way too far.

Not much to see here..
By kattanna on 4/4/2012 2:14:09 PM , Rating: 5
from the actual article

The ultimate goal is to "improve the current state-of-the-art of computer forensics by developing new tools for extracting information from popular game systems, and by building a corpus of data from second-hand game system that can be used to further the development of computer forensic tools,"

basically.. they are gonna buy up used consoles from overseas and then see what info is on them..big deal

they are not going to be actively monitoring real time anything..

RE: Not much to see here..
By amanojaku on 4/4/2012 5:49:07 PM , Rating: 2
they are not going to be actively monitoring real time anything..
Yet. Read both pages of the article. It says the research project is using foreign, used consoles because the DHS is aware of Americans' privacy concerns.

It also states the results will be used to create a forensics package that will scan any console or game, old or new. The reason this is being done is because the government won't or can't ask manufacturers or developers to provide encryption keys and such.

Web browser, in-game chat, transaction systems, video conferencing, motion capture, remote control... The government recognizes the game console as a PC now.

RE: Not much to see here..
By Jeffk464 on 4/4/2012 9:16:53 PM , Rating: 4
Its all perfectly legitimate so long as law enforcement gets a warrant and follows the constitution. The problem is law enforcement has been using 911 as an excuse to completely bypass the constitution. The courts seem to be reversing some of the abuse though with the ruling that a search warrant must be obtained to electronically track someone, this was a very important ruling. So maybe 911 is distant enough that the courts will again force law enforcement to abide by the constitution.

I don't want government spying on me or my children
By Pirks on 4/4/12, Rating: 0
By AssBall on 4/4/2012 3:07:38 PM , Rating: 1
You might want to hire a translator to figure out what the hell you are trying to say if that's your plan, Pirks.

Sounds more like you are into older males. I have a clown costume if you're interested in a casual visit.

By Breathless on 4/4/2012 3:05:52 PM , Rating: 2
Seems like someone hacked his profile actually. Isn't he generally smarter than that?

By Ristogod on 4/4/2012 4:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
The government hacked him.

By Manch on 4/5/2012 2:29:26 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, it was a gay Navy pedophile hacker on loan to the DHS to break into his acct to see if he's trying to get vulnerable DT users to touch his light saber or let him poke there death star. I think they'll bring him in and "question" him using the iphone waterboarding app. Man that phone does EVERYTHING!

By tamalero on 4/5/2012 1:23:44 PM , Rating: 1
It is hilarious how much the government, RIAA, MPAA and other big corps claiming control over the internet use and excuse themselves of said attempts by blaming everything on either terrorists, pirates.. and now "pedophiles".

By The Raven on 4/5/2012 2:31:23 PM , Rating: 1

I like the idea of some good ol' non-violent protest to invalidate this crap (whether it is moral or not, our gov't/law enforcement has better things to be doing. Let Chris Hansen deal with these people lol.)

But rather than talk dirty to another guy I would rather get my wife in on the protest to pose as a 13yo lol. I would rather/could not do it with some dude.

By The Raven on 4/5/2012 2:32:04 PM , Rating: 2
...not that there is anything wrong with that.

Do you smell that?
By Iaiken on 4/4/2012 1:24:51 PM , Rating: 4
I love the smell of bullsh*t in the morning...

...smells like politics.

Pointless alarmism over surveillance
By PrinceGaz on 4/5/2012 11:25:23 AM , Rating: 1
If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear.

By justwatching on 4/5/2012 5:00:42 PM , Rating: 2
Relax. It's your universe. The illusion of privacy is fading fast. The government wants to watch you pick your nose and scratch your butt, and there is always some anal retentive tin-heel who will disapprove of you when you do. If you spend your time worrying about him, it will destroy you.

Remember, they can crush you any time they want. It's up to you to stay below the radar.

By sparkuss on 4/4/2012 1:59:49 PM , Rating: 2
First the consoles, then the MMOG's ?

They want to get into the chat involved, what's precluding them from already being in on-line rooms now and trying to "out" the criminals dujour?

So I hope they get some savvy FBI Warlocks or the only thing showing above their avatar will be "Narc", run away.

An agency that needs to disappear
By JediJeb on 4/4/2012 2:36:43 PM , Rating: 2
Why would the DHS be involved with looking for pedophiles? I can understand looking for terrorists, but as the story say they are also involved in looking for pedophiles, that should fall under the FBI not DHS. Honestly though the DHS has become a catchall group involved in everything, but it was originally created only to promote the sharing of information between the major intelligence agencies. Now ICE(formally INS) ATF (now Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) Customs, Border Patrol, FEMA and I am sure a few other agencies are all controlled by DHS. So far they have done nothing to promote information sharing as can be seen with the "Fast and Furious" scandal, and seem to only be working to find more ways to intrude on the privacy of citizens while working to take away as many of our rights as they can. Even the name "Homeland Security" sounds like something dreamed up in Germany back in the 1930's.

This is just another unneeded layer of bureaucracy added by Bush and upgraded by Obama that costs us more tax dollars to support than we have to spend. This isn't a partisan problem, it is a government problem, one we the people have allowed to happen and not spoken up enough to rein in. The government of the United States is of the people, by the people and for the people, but you will not today find elected officials who consider themselves servants of the people as they should. The people are the government, elected officials only represent the people to make it easier to handle the operation of it. The Founding Fathers of this country never intended for any individual or small group of individuals to "Rule Over" it the way they did in the countries they left to come here and start over. Of course this also creates a responsibility that falls on the people to maintain their freedom, but today it seems most of the people do not want to shoulder any responsibilities at all.

They've ruin it for everyone
By vapore0n on 4/4/2012 4:51:27 PM , Rating: 2
This is why you cant have nice things

*cat picture*

No thanks
By Motoman on 4/4/2012 2:15:35 PM , Rating: 1
...eavesdropping on console chat is different from wiretapping a phone line how?

This is no different than wiretapping people without a court order. This is ludicrously illegal.

I strongly urge everyone to contact your elected representatives about this...if they can justify hacking into console chat, there's no fundamental difference from there to your phone, texting, FB, anything else.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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