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Government Privacy Games

The Spy In Our Living Room 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the hint:-it's-not-james-bond dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ben Kuchera at Polygon ponders the surveillance capabilities of our gaming consoles in light of recent NSA and GCHQ revelations. 'Xbox One Kinect can see in the dark. It can keep a moving human being in focus without motors. It knows how to isolate voices from background noise. The privacy implications of having a device that originally couldn't be removed pointed at your living room at all times was always kind of scary, and that fear has been at least partially justified.' Kuchera, like many of us, habitually disconnects cameras and microphones not currently in use. But he also feels a sense of inevitability about the whole thing: 'If the government wants this information they're going to get it, no matter what we do with our gaming consoles. It's important to pay attention to what our government is doing, but this issue is much bigger than our gaming consoles, and we open ourselves up to much greater forms of intrusion on a daily basis.'"
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The Spy In Our Living Room

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  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Friday February 28, 2014 @07:01PM (#46371613)

    What if I put an XBox360 in a locked room with no windows, turned it on with a kinect camera pointing at a sign which threatens a top political figure. If someone acts on it, how would they justify their actions? Legally it would be extremely questionable and ultimately, it would not be a threat as much as it would be a trap for the government to fall into. After all, discovery would result in all manner of details which should enter public record. ...or I could disappear into a puff of darkness.

    It would be one hell of an entertaining story for your cellmate in Guantanamo.

  • by PraiseBob (1923958) on Friday February 28, 2014 @07:08PM (#46371671)
    This is the entire point of parallel construction. They can't or won't reveal how they are monitoring you secretly. Instead they can claim that you were acting suspicious based on something else you've done which has nominally taken place in some kind of public space. Then they get a warrant based on that, and "find" the threats you are making, and charge you with that too.
  • Re:1984 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EvilSS (557649) on Friday February 28, 2014 @07:39PM (#46371959)
    TV's of 1984 or 2014? Some new smart TV's have cameras and mics for Skype, Microphones in the remotes for voice. My LG can snap screenshots from the mobile phone app, newer models can stream video. It knows what you watch and can (and was, without notification) send that info home. Screw the consoles, the TVs themselves may be monitoring us.
  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Friday February 28, 2014 @09:30PM (#46372713)

    That joke has been on topic and relevant for almost 20 years now at least..and becoming more relevant in so-called 'free' countries every day.

  • by s.petry (762400) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @01:06AM (#46373753)

    I don't mean rant in a negative light exactly, but that you are behaving similar to what you are complaining about. The Article is about how game consoles can monitor people, which does not have positive consequences for society and citizens. This writer and source is not the first to cover the topic, just the most recent. Spending 4 paragraphs telling everyone how bad the author and source without mention of the topic distracts from the article and topic.

    Welcome to the game, if you were not playing intentionally you just became a sucker. If you were playing intentionally, well, go find a sand box and pound some.

    People have been concerned about Xbox One and it's always on sensor arrays designed for spying. There was a recent report in the Guardian telling us that GCHQ used it to spy on people in Xbox360. There is no reason to believe that the latest will be used any differently, and no reason to believe that what GCHQ does also happens at the NSA, CIA, FBI, DHS, etc...

    My family is smart enough to have boycotted all versions of the MS consoles. Yeah, we have owned PS2 through PS4 and some people have concerns with those. Most Sony PS concerns relate to the old Sony root kit issues however, and not some always on spytech filming and recording your every move.

    If people want a fix to the solution, start boycotting. Remember that a boycott is not just not purchasing something, but actively persuading others to not purchase that same thing. It will take a lot to force change, because there are all these nice back door payments to companies so that they do the wrong thing (yet another Snowden/Guardian piece you should read).

  • Re:BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Altrag (195300) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @03:03AM (#46374153)

    The door lock analogy has been broken with things like PRISM now verified to exist.

    The analogy is now more along the lines of every door lock being built to allow a single planet-wide master key and employing millions of people to rummage through your things every couple of hours to see if you've added anything they don't like (note: not necessarily illegal!) to your list of possessions.

    The problem though isn't that they're going to find something and come after you right now -- everyone's got something they should hide (whether they think so or not) and there's not enough agents in the world to nail every person out there.

    The problem is that they'll find something and store it away so that IF they ever decide to come after you for any reason in the future, they'll have something on you. I mean sure the filters will be looking for absolutely blatantly obvious stuff like Googling for a bunch of bomb ingredients consecutively (needs to have a plausible justification for its existence) but for the most part, the real goal is just to dig up dirt on everyone so that nobody can ever be completely free from fear of prosecution and/or blackmail.

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