The Department of the Navy is looking very closely at used video game consoles. Only, they don’t want to play them. They want to crack them open and steal all the information on overseas users they can get their hands on.
To that end, the Department has contracted a company called Obscure Technologies to go overseas, buy a mountain of pre-owned video game consoles and obtain as much “significant and sensitive information from previous users” as it’s possible to get.
Why overseas? Because of the nature of the work, they’re not allowed to target any “US persons”.
Obscure will be given just under USD$200,000 to undertake the work, mostly aimed at developing tools for getting the data and determining just how feasible such a process is. Attempts will then be made to gather the information both from the storage of the console itself, as well as “analyzing network traffic”.
The company was awarded the contract because “its lead scientist [has] previously reverse engineered the Microsoft XBOX”.
To recap, in case you haven’t really caught the gist of this yet, if you live outside the USA and have ever traded in a current-gen video game console, you’re now at risk – a remote risk, but a risk nonetheless – of having your “significant and sensitive information” obtained by the US military.
Perhaps most interesting/terrifying is that, at the conclusion of the research, some of the software developed for extracting this data will be released as open source and made “freely available”.
You can read the full contract outline below.