We probably should have seen this one coming.
The Department of Homeland Security is researching ways to hack into gaming consoles to access private data, ostensibly for use as evidence in tracking credit cards, passwords, and other sensitive information. Armed with this technology, investigators could probably recover data even from a system that had been wiped – so be careful if you intend to sell a used console, particularly if you’re outside the United States.
The first contract was awarded last week to Obscure Technologies, a California-based company, for the relative bargain of $177,000. Refreshing to know that it costs more to develop a game for our consoles than a way to circumvent existing security measures and rummage through private information stored on them. Information like credit card accounts, passwords, and private data, all things the government says it wants to use the consoles to collect from foreigners.
Supposedly, this will be used against pedophiles and terrorists, both groups the Department of Homeland Security has worried use online gaming to communicate – and in the case of terrorists, to train. So we should clearly be on the lookout for terrorists wielding chainsaw bayonets and spawn-camping our borders.
Making this even odder is the existing ability to subpoena a company for access to such data, but the government has been exploring this avenue of investigations since 2008.
For more information on the project, check out a full Wired article on the subject. Personally, it seems a little suspicious thus far.