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US Government wants to spy on console gamers

Creating prototype data extraction tool

The US Government wants to extract data sent between games consoles in the hope of obtaining sensitive criminal information.

It has come to light that the US Navy has contracted Obscure Technologies to create a prototype rig for the purpose of capturing data from consoles including the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony Playstation 3. The contract is worth more than £110,000 and involves purchasing used consoles for testing, according to The Metro.

Gamers needn't panic yet because the project will go on until July 2013 and involves acquiring data from used machines. The outcome of the project will include a "software/hardware extraction tool, datasets from the extractions, and a report on the processes and findings."

It is thought that the US government believes terrorists and criminals could be using online chat forums through consoles to plan their activities. The brief asks Obscure Technologies to "survey console chat room technology and identify potential chokepoints where data may be committed to storage."

Chris Boyd, senior threat researcher at GFI Software said: "It’s a valuable reminder for people to take heed of what they are doing with their consoles, the kind of information they’re storing, the kind of communications they have with other people and the kinds of sensitive data they put through these machines."

However, Boyd suggests that the project might be a waste of time once the consoles are upgraded to new versions.

Microsoft said: "We are not involved in this initiative from the department of homeland security, nor did we have any advance knowledge of this procurement of Xbox 360 consoles by Obscure Technologies."

"We can assure Xbox owners we take the privacy and security of their personal data very seriously." is added.

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