(Image source: Wired)

 

BY EVAN THOMAS

 

Who do you game with? A friend? Family members? How about — Big Brother?

 

Foreign Policy reports the Department of Homeland Security is working with cyber-security firms to “crack” video game consoles. It suspects something sinister — terrorists and sexual predators might be using the tools built into their Xboxes and PlayStations to communicate and coordinate calamity. (Video: Foreign Policy)

 

So the DHS has contracted with Obscure Technologies, a company with some experience in reverse-engineering game consoles. According to an unclassified work document published by Fed Biz Opps, the government wants tools which can pull chat logs and credit card information from those video game systems.

 

And that’s raising some eyebrows at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Spokesman Parker Higgins points out, users aren’t intentionally storing this data, after all.

 

“You wouldn't intentionally store sensitive data on a console. 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.”

 

The Sydney Morning Herald points out, even if you wanted to lock that data down, the closed ecosystem of gaming consoles makes it harder to prevent the government from getting in.

 

“Unlike regular computers, whose users can install security software, gamers can't just install an anti-virus program such as McAfee or spyware monitoring software.”

 

Wired quotes a forensics expert attached to the project, who points out this won’t apply to gamers in the U.S. The Privacy Act prevents that sort of monitoring.

 

“‘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.’”

 

Data from overseas consoles will stay. But Digital Trends points out, any information that comes from the project will be anonymized.

 

“…the DHS plans on making their research and data publicly available…under the ‘constraints of the Common Rule governing the use of human subject data.’ In other words, any identifiable information pertaining to the owner of the consoles will be scrubbed.”

 

And for the moment, this is still a proof-of-concept test. According to the work document, actual field testing will begin in June.

DHS Wants Data From Video Game Consoles

by Nathan Giannini
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Transcript
Apr 10, 2012

DHS Wants Data From Video Game Consoles

(Image source: Wired)

 

BY EVAN THOMAS

 

Who do you game with? A friend? Family members? How about — Big Brother?

 

Foreign Policy reports the Department of Homeland Security is working with cyber-security firms to “crack” video game consoles. It suspects something sinister — terrorists and sexual predators might be using the tools built into their Xboxes and PlayStations to communicate and coordinate calamity. (Video: Foreign Policy)

 

So the DHS has contracted with Obscure Technologies, a company with some experience in reverse-engineering game consoles. According to an unclassified work document published by Fed Biz Opps, the government wants tools which can pull chat logs and credit card information from those video game systems.

 

And that’s raising some eyebrows at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Spokesman Parker Higgins points out, users aren’t intentionally storing this data, after all.

 

“You wouldn't intentionally store sensitive data on a console. 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.”

 

The Sydney Morning Herald points out, even if you wanted to lock that data down, the closed ecosystem of gaming consoles makes it harder to prevent the government from getting in.

 

“Unlike regular computers, whose users can install security software, gamers can't just install an anti-virus program such as McAfee or spyware monitoring software.”

 

Wired quotes a forensics expert attached to the project, who points out this won’t apply to gamers in the U.S. The Privacy Act prevents that sort of monitoring.

 

“‘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.’”

 

Data from overseas consoles will stay. But Digital Trends points out, any information that comes from the project will be anonymized.

 

“…the DHS plans on making their research and data publicly available…under the ‘constraints of the Common Rule governing the use of human subject data.’ In other words, any identifiable information pertaining to the owner of the consoles will be scrubbed.”

 

And for the moment, this is still a proof-of-concept test. According to the work document, actual field testing will begin in June.

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