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U.S. government looking to track suspects via game consoles
U.S. government looking to track suspects via game consoles
April 13, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

April 13, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
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    9 comments
More: Console/PC, Production



In an effort to establish new channels for monitoring suspicious activity, the U.S. Navy and the Department of Homeland Security have contracted forensics company Obscure Technologies to research methods for tracking data on today's home consoles, reports Threat Post.

This research will enable the government to monitor network activity and extract disk images, flash memory dumps, and configuration settings, all of which could help investigators gather evidence on suspected criminals.

Government Computer News reports that by compiling and monitoring this data, the government specifically plans to target pedophiles and terrorists, both of which allegedly use game consoles to find victims or plan illegal activity.

As Obscure Technologies researches its methods of data-extraction, it plans to only test consoles purchased overseas in an effort to stay clear of domestic privacy issues, reports Foreign Policy.

If Obscure's research is put into practice, however, it could enable law enforcement to monitor U.S. game consoles much in the same way that it can monitor email and other online activity, says Foreign Policy. Gamasutra has contacted the ESA for comment, but has not heard back as of press time.


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Comments


Anthony Velasco
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"only test consoles purchased overseas", sure thing Uncle Sam.

Jeffrey Marshall
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I guess you have to distinguish between the ability to do something and doing it. The government ought to know how to track someone on game consoles.

But it shouldn't be tracking people on consoles. Not without the limited bounds of probable cause that someone has broken a law, warrant certified by an independent magistrate, and a transparent process. I certainly don't want my video game activity recorded and used against me.

Joe E
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"pedophiles and terrorists", ah yes, the eternal, unseen, invincible, indefensible threat. I mean, how could *anyone* be against *anything* that (purportedly) targets these kind of activities? Why don't we ban newspapers, or public transportation, since "allegedly" terrorists and pedophiles use them to go about their evil activities?

Andrew Grapsas
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Actually, NYC is trying to ban repeated criminals from being able to take public transportation.

Bob Charone
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It is not like most people use chat rooms on websites or game consoles to plan pedopile or terrorist activities, but those some people are ruining it for everyone.

Maurício Gomes
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It is not like most people use paper money or coins to negotiate pedophile services or terrorist equipment, but those some people are ruining it for everyone.

Joe Wreschnig
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I'm pretty sure cracking these consoles is a violation of the DMCA, I hope Sony sues them.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Joe Wreschnig - I doubt that's going to happen. In fact, after the security breach incident from a while back, Sony may just let the US government do the job as it could benefit Sony itself, getting help to track down potential violators (pedophiles and terrorists may be on the top of the government's list, but that doesn't mean that they would be the only ones being tracked in the long run).

David Boudreau
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New head of state of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, at least in his recent college days was said to play fighting games and if he's playing online, he's probably tampering with the leaderboards and using cheap characters and I hope they ban his account because I AM THE BEST.


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