Dear goodness me...it feels like being a gamer in today's society is almost as bad as walking in a Serbian minefield while feverously texting. It's only going to end up bad for the end-user.
One of our readers tipped us off to a new story detailing how the United States Homeland Security plan to rape the privacy rights of Xbox 360, Wii and PS3 users who frequently use the systems to communicate and chat with others. And here it is I used to think that gaming online was a great way to relieve stress, boy was I wrong.
According to Daily Tech the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Navy have contracted Obscure Technologies for $177,237 to basically spy on home console users, mostly due to the potential threats of pedophiles and terrorists. That's right, pedophiles and terrorists.
Originally Homeland Security started an initiative in 2008 called "Gaming Systems Monitoring and Analysis Project" where they sought a Naval Postgraduate School professor named Simson Garfinkel, who was put in charge of contracting a firm who could help Homeland, well, spy on people and weed out pedophiles trying to use gaming systems to find victims. Garfinkel has a perfectly reasonable explanation for this, however, saying...
"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,"
The only upside to this news is that due to privacy rights here in the good 'ole US of A, Homeland is unable to "hack" into or spy on home console users. However, anyone "foreign" to America are completely within limits whether they're using a brand new console or a used console. Garfinkel goes on to say...
"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,"
Right, because we can't be disrespectful to fellow U.S. citizens, eh? But all those other non-Yanks are just fish in the proverbial barrel, eagerly waiting to have their console cherry popped with some meaty privacy raping.
I feel bad for all our visitors from across the pond. Our Government basically wants to forcefully invade your home console privacy because they fear some of you might be pedophiles and they fear others might be terrorists. I'm almost speechless but saying anything else might have some guys in black suits knocking on my door, and well, we can't have that now can we?
Anyways, Parker Higgins, a spokesman for the Electronic Freedom Foundation, an online privacy group, commented about this act, saying...
"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. 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."
Sorry about the bummy news, but us poor citizens can't really control what our Government does. It's like some big, raging, all-engulfing monster that runs itself. Anyways, if it's any comfort at least it makes EA's shenanigans and Capcom's anti-consumerist acts seem pale by comparison...right?
You can check out the entire story over at Daily Tech.
Image courtesy of Konnestra