Microsoft Kinect Almost a Spy Tool for British Intelligence - Update

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Microsoft Kinect Almost a Spy Tool for British Intelligence - Update

Kinect for Xbox One

Along with the NSA, the British GCHQ stored huge volumes of webcam and chat traffic.

Update: Microsoft has told Eurogamer that it's "concerned about any reports of governments surreptitiously collecting private customer data." Furthermore, it says that it's "initiated a broad effort to expand encryption across our services and are advocating for legal reforms," something it started after it was revealed that the NSA was listening to players bicker over Xbox Live. "We're not aware of any surveillance activity," the spokesperson said. "If it has occurred as reported, it certainly wasn't done with our consent."

Original Story: It's not just the NSA that's caught with their authoritarian pants around their legs. Apparently, the British have been up to it too. According to The Guardian, not only has the British intelligence agency GCHQ been storing massive amounts of webcam footage, but it also considered using the always-on Microsoft Kinect as well.

The information comes courtesy of (who else) Edward Snowden. The files document a project called Optic Nerve, which collected a huge database of private chats and webcam traffic. All of this was done through a joint system with the NSA. While it seems that the data was primarily collected through Yahoo Messenger, the GCHQ also considered using the Microsoft Kinect camera to peer into the private homes of citizens. The documents noted that the Kinect created "fairly normal webcam traffic", and was being evaluated for use in a wider program.

As you'd expect, the GCHQ also collected a remarkable volume of homemade porn. While it attempted some sort of filtering system, it ultimately said that analysts "who may feel uncomfortable about such material are advised not to open them." After all, it's the spooks who might feel awkward about spying into the private sex lives individuals.

It seems that Optic Nerve started back in 2008 and was active at least until 2012. The creepy bit is that these revelations only show what they were up to many years ago, not what they're doing now. So, if anyone had any misgivings about having an always-on camera and microphone constantly connected to the internet in your living room, your fears just got a bit more confirmation.

Source: The Guardian

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I don't think anyone was surprised by this. I mean, that was literally one of the biggest complaints about the Kinect being always on.

Also, is it just me, or is the Kinect just one glowing red eye away from being Hal 9000's cousin?

I can't wait for the new Bond film to feature a scene where James has to watch 5 hours of fat, nerd masterchief "fan fiction".

Brian Tams:
I don't think anyone was surprised by this. I mean, that was literally one of the biggest complaints about the Kinect being always on.

Also, is it just me, or is the Kinect just one glowing red eye away from being Hal 9000's cousin?

Oh, I'm sure some people are surprised by this. Probably the same people who cling to the notion that "slippery slope" is a legitimate logical fallacy.

Man...I don't think I've heard a single bit of good news when it comes to the XBone. Like, really - is there anything good about that system compared to PC / PS4?

And I don't have anything to back this up - but I get the feeling that more people have switched to PC gaming this year than before. It might just be because I just did that and could be seeing it more often than usual, but stuff like this is reason enough for the shift.

This isn't news. Something "almost" happening isn't worth reporting. This is just more anti-xbone bullshit from escapist. I swear, since the new Gen launched, i feel like i see more bias against xbone on here. Even when ps4 had equally troubling issues. Annoying.

and i know I'm not the only one. When this first started becoming a pattern, i commented on a thread where others expressed the same concern.

So they collected hundreds of thousands of hours of people staring gape-mouthed at their computer screens in the off chance that facial recognition software would catch something useful?

Sigh. Sounds legit. I feel safer already...

martyrdrebel27:
This isn't news. Something "almost" happening isn't worth reporting. This is just more anti-xbone bullshit from escapist. I swear, since the new Gen launched, i feel like i see more bias against xbone on here. Even when ps4 had equally troubling issues. Annoying.

and i know I'm not the only one. When this first started becoming a pattern, i commented on a thread where others expressed the same concern.

I think this is very relevant news. This confirms peoples fears that the always on Kinect can be used to spy on you, and that agencies have at least considered the idea. Remember, just because they haven't yet doesn't mean they won't in the future.

Ever heard of UKUSA intelligence sharing agreement from 1946? Yeah, it still works today. Everything that UK, New Zealand and Australia gathers, USA has access to, and vice versa. To quote the latest amendment:

The parties agree to the exchange of the products of the following operations relating to foreign communications:-

Collection of traffic.
Acquisition of communications documents and equipment.
Traffic analysis.
Cryptanalysis.
Decryption and translation.
Acquisition of information regarding communications organizations, procedures, practices and equipment.

Big Brother is watching you, and is gossiping about you with his pals.

But they hadn't decided yet to go ahead with it then or not when this information was gathered years ago. So I have faith in the government that they erred on the side of privacy and decency.

lol Just kiddin'. Of course they're doing it.

And my heart goes out to those diligent intelligence agents who have to sift through peoples personal lives and glimpse upon nudity. Those poor, poor souls.

I wanna puke from these jerks.

SKBPinkie:
Man...I don't think I've heard a single bit of good news when it comes to the XBone. Like, really - is there anything good about that system compared to PC / PS4?

But it's got TV and sports. That's two good things. Also there is someone from the government using the kinect to make sure nobody steals things from your living room whilst you are out!

I don't think this news is going to be very welcome at Microsoft when their beloved Titanfall is coming out soon. Even though the spying doesn't seem to actually be happening through the Xbone (hard to tell from the info given) it might just push a few people away from getting an one and playing Titanfall elsewhere.

And people called me crazy for saying this exact thing would happen with Kinect. Of course they will spy on you, it's a perfect tool for looking into your home

frizzlebyte:

Brian Tams:
I don't think anyone was surprised by this. I mean, that was literally one of the biggest complaints about the Kinect being always on.

Also, is it just me, or is the Kinect just one glowing red eye away from being Hal 9000's cousin?

Oh, I'm sure some people are surprised by this. Probably the same people who cling to the notion that "slippery slope" is a legitimate logical fallacy.

If I may be "that guy" for a moment, slippery slope is a valid fallacy if the proposed consequence doesn't really derive from the premise. If one were to assert that it seemed likely that allowing the government to spy a little with no oversight, that they might very well end up spying a lot with no oversight, that's not much of a fallacy. If one were to assert that if we let gay people get married to each other, that we'd then have to let people marry their dogs, or an inanimate carbon rod, that's where the fallacy really comes into play.

I can see them having to go through hours and hours of footage of hundreds of thousands of people masturbating... lovely!

OMG I'M SO SURPRISED!!!!!!111!!!!

I laugh if this is the cover story for the actual spying happening right now though.

CriticalMiss:

SKBPinkie:
Man...I don't think I've heard a single bit of good news when it comes to the XBone. Like, really - is there anything good about that system compared to PC / PS4?

But it's got TV and sports. That's two good things. Also there is someone from the government using the kinect to make sure nobody steals things from your living room whilst you are out!

Yup. I cannot believe I didn't think of just how awesome those are. [/sarcasm]

On a serious note, though - there's only one thing that just might be good enough for me to pick up an XBone - Halo.

But that will be out at the end of 2015, so no hurries.

weirdguy:
OMG I'M SO SURPRISED!!!!!!111!!!!

I laugh if this is the cover story for the actual spying happening right now though.

Those badges....I see what you did there.

Anyway.
Who did not see this coming? Like, from two thousand miles away. Thanks to Snowden we know two things:
-If they (NSA, GCHQ,...) can do something, they will
-If they can't, they'll find a way to do it anyway

martyrdrebel27:
This isn't news. Something "almost" happening isn't worth reporting.

I agree. Reporting on things that "almost" happen will only warn people of potential dangers in time to make changes so that those dangers don't become real in the future. That's not what we want. We want to wait until it's too late to prevent and the danger "actually" happens before we report on it.

Children being almost hit by cars at an unmarked intersection on the way to school? Ugh, don't wanna know. Knowing will only make us put in crosswalks or hire a crossing guard too soon. Much better to wait till AFTER some kids are hit and killed and THEN we can let people know about the bad intersection.

Just like all those silly Tornado/Hurricane warnings that make people board up their windows, turn off their gas, and even leave town. Won't they look silly if it passes them by as a near-miss. So much easier to wait till after the town is actually hit before announcing it that way whatever survivors are left can know that they can go ahead and board up their already broken windows, turn off the gas in their already on-fire houses, etc.

Climate change might destroy life on Earth as it currently exists? Meh, lemme know after it happens.

Life would definitely be so much better if we wait till after something happens to warn people.

Kuala BangoDango:

martyrdrebel27:
This isn't news. Something "almost" happening isn't worth reporting.

I agree. Reporting on things that "almost" happen will only warn people of potential dangers in time to make changes so that those dangers don't become real in the future. That's not what we want. We want to wait until it's too late to prevent and the danger "actually" happens before we report on it.

Children being almost hit by cars at an unmarked intersection on the way to school? Ugh, don't wanna know. Knowing will only make us put in crosswalks or hire a crossing guard too soon. Much better to wait till AFTER some kids are hit and killed and THEN we can let people know about the bad intersection.

Just like all those silly Tornado/Hurricane warnings that make people board up their windows, turn off their gas, and even leave town. Won't they look silly if it passes them by as a near-miss. So much easier to wait till after the town is actually hit before announcing it that way whatever survivors are left can know that they can go ahead and board up their already broken windows, turn off the gas in their already on-fire houses, etc.

Climate change might destroy life on Earth as it currently exists? Meh, lemme know after it happens.

Life would definitely be so much better if we wait till after something happens to warn people.

nice try, but the difference there is that in your examples, you're listing imminent dangers, not something that was talked about and never happened.

Did anyone really not expect this? I mean come on, the Kinect is ALWAYS running. And, not to be a conspiracy theorist or anything, but it strikes me as strange MS would stick with the always on Kinect so vehemently, and even their old always online DRM policy for as long as it lasted.

martyrdrebel27:
This isn't news. Something "almost" happening isn't worth reporting. This is just more anti-xbone bullshit from escapist. I swear, since the new Gen launched, i feel like i see more bias against xbone on here. Even when ps4 had equally troubling issues. Annoying.

and i know I'm not the only one. When this first started becoming a pattern, i commented on a thread where others expressed the same concern.

Someone bought the Xbone I see XD.
Anti-Xbone? Never heard that term before. Anyhow, the reason the Xbone has more bad press than the PS4 is because there're more troubling issues and problems with the Xbone. The PS4's issues have been reported on each time they cropped up, as far as I know, when comparing with other sites.
What's more surprising is that you seem to think no government, including your own, would dare to use an, always on, webcam for spying even after it's already been reported they have used PCs for the same. Although this thought seems to be clouded by the fact you bought one gaming system over the other and you feel you must defend said decision.

So...if i was a terrorist (which im not! Whatever my kinect has been saying about me!), then i only need bash one out before sharing all my evil plans to my other xbone comrads (now THAT phrase can have a stronger meaning), to put the secret watcher off the scent!
Unless theyre one of those who like watching. Like my uncle

CpT_x_Killsteal:
Did anyone really not expect this? I mean come on, the Kinect is ALWAYS running. And, not to be a conspiracy theorist or anything, but it strikes me as strange MS would stick with the always on Kinect so vehemently, and even their old always online DRM policy for as long as it lasted.

martyrdrebel27:
This isn't news. Something "almost" happening isn't worth reporting. This is just more anti-xbone bullshit from escapist. I swear, since the new Gen launched, i feel like i see more bias against xbone on here. Even when ps4 had equally troubling issues. Annoying.

and i know I'm not the only one. When this first started becoming a pattern, i commented on a thread where others expressed the same concern.

Someone bought the Xbone I see XD.
Anti-Xbone? Never heard that term before. Anyhow, the reason the Xbone has more bad press than the PS4 is because there're more troubling issues and problems with the Xbone. The PS4's issues have been reported on each time they cropped up, as far as I know, when comparing with other sites.
What's more surprising is that you seem to think no government, including your own, would dare to use an, always on, webcam for spying even after it's already been reported they have used PCs for the same. Although this thought seems to be clouded by the fact you bought one gaming system over the other and you feel you must defend said decision.

haven't bought one yet actually, waiting on the titanfall bundle. And I'm well aware the government can and will monitor us all, but the idea of hacking xboxes is just stupid. Why bother when they already have real time satellite surveillance, can hack phones and emails and computers, stuff that a wider general population has, why would they spend time and money specializing in one tiny subset of the population when they already have that info and more? Its just technophobic nonsense.

martyrdrebel27:

haven't bought one yet actually, waiting on the titanfall bundle. And I'm well aware the government can and will monitor us all, but the idea of hacking xboxes is just stupid. Why bother when they already have real time satellite surveillance, can hack phones and emails and computers, stuff that a wider general population has, why would they spend time and money specializing in one tiny subset of the population when they already have that info and more? Its just technophobic nonsense.

Why bother putting agents in MMOs to spy on the players inside it? Plus it is known that they've already hacked into Xbox Live accounts to spy as well as that article mentions, so yeah the NSA doesn't see it as "oh we have enough methods of spying on the people." No, they look at the Kinect 2.0 and basically say "oh thank you for providing yet another way to spy on people."

I feel sorry for the guy who has to listen to thousands of hours of people insulting other peoples moms on XBL.

martyrdrebel27:

Kuala BangoDango:

martyrdrebel27:
This isn't news. Something "almost" happening isn't worth reporting.

I agree. Reporting on things that "almost" happen will only warn people of potential dangers in time to make changes so that those dangers don't become real in the future. That's not what we want. We want to wait until it's too late to prevent and the danger "actually" happens before we report on it.

Children being almost hit by cars at an unmarked intersection on the way to school? Ugh, don't wanna know. Knowing will only make us put in crosswalks or hire a crossing guard too soon. Much better to wait till AFTER some kids are hit and killed and THEN we can let people know about the bad intersection.

Just like all those silly Tornado/Hurricane warnings that make people board up their windows, turn off their gas, and even leave town. Won't they look silly if it passes them by as a near-miss. So much easier to wait till after the town is actually hit before announcing it that way whatever survivors are left can know that they can go ahead and board up their already broken windows, turn off the gas in their already on-fire houses, etc.

Climate change might destroy life on Earth as it currently exists? Meh, lemme know after it happens.

Life would definitely be so much better if we wait till after something happens to warn people.

nice try, but the difference there is that in your examples, you're listing imminent dangers, not something that was talked about and never happened.

Just because there is a warning doesn't mean it's going to happen by weather standards.

now, "Imminent Danger" means a tornado is about to blow your pasty white trash ass out of the trailer park, a "Warning" means there is a good chance that it could happen, or it does happen but hits that other trailer park across the highway.

Using trailer parks here because those have been scientifically proven to attract tornadoes.

also "Not Talked About", uh, you did read the article, right? GCHQ did talk about using them.

This actually does bring in the notion that if you have a kinect wired up, it could be used to spy on you.

NSA/GCHQ, foreign entities, hell, /b/ if it gets bored enough.

Just imagine that for a second. You are sitting there trying to play through Ryse: Son of Rome because you have bad taste in games and the entire time 5-6k people are watching you play a horrible game.

hell, imagine what could happen if any hacking group had a webcam with a microphone hooked up in your living room, at just how much information they could get from you. That's what GCHQ was going to use it for, and despite what you would like to know, most white hats were black hats at one point, so if a government agent can plug into your kinect, you could expect xXxJT4GxBL4Z3411D4YxOpticz can as well.

Kalezian:

martyrdrebel27:

Kuala BangoDango:
I agree. Reporting on things that "almost" happen will only warn people of potential dangers in time to make changes so that those dangers don't become real in the future. That's not what we want. We want to wait until it's too late to prevent and the danger "actually" happens before we report on it.

Children being almost hit by cars at an unmarked intersection on the way to school? Ugh, don't wanna know. Knowing will only make us put in crosswalks or hire a crossing guard too soon. Much better to wait till AFTER some kids are hit and killed and THEN we can let people know about the bad intersection.

Just like all those silly Tornado/Hurricane warnings that make people board up their windows, turn off their gas, and even leave town. Won't they look silly if it passes them by as a near-miss. So much easier to wait till after the town is actually hit before announcing it that way whatever survivors are left can know that they can go ahead and board up their already broken windows, turn off the gas in their already on-fire houses, etc.

Climate change might destroy life on Earth as it currently exists? Meh, lemme know after it happens.

Life would definitely be so much better if we wait till after something happens to warn people.

nice try, but the difference there is that in your examples, you're listing imminent dangers, not something that was talked about and never happened.

Just because there is a warning doesn't mean it's going to happen by weather standards.

now, "Imminent Danger" means a tornado is about to blow your pasty white trash ass out of the trailer park, a "Warning" means there is a good chance that it could happen, or it does happen but hits that other trailer park across the highway.

Using trailer parks here because those have been scientifically proven to attract tornadoes.

also "Not Talked About", uh, you did read the article, right? GCHQ did talk about using them.

This actually does bring in the notion that if you have a kinect wired up, it could be used to spy on you.

NSA/GCHQ, foreign entities, hell, /b/ if it gets bored enough.

Just imagine that for a second. You are sitting there trying to play through Ryse: Son of Rome because you have bad taste in games and the entire time 5-6k people are watching you play a horrible game.

hell, imagine what could happen if any hacking group had a webcam with a microphone hooked up in your living room, at just how much information they could get from you. That's what GCHQ was going to use it for, and despite what you would like to know, most white hats were black hats at one point, so if a government agent can plug into your kinect, you could expect xXxJT4GxBL4Z3411D4YxOpticz can as well.

well, then I'm backed into the corner labeled"fuck it". If the government wants to watch me get high, play video games, jerk off and have sex, fuck it. Let em. And as for ryse, I only played a little at a friends house, and it wasn't so bad. Besides having a single player multiplayer mode which was weird. Ultimately, I want an xbone, and the possibility of gover.ent spying isn't going to deter me.

tell me, does the possibility of government spying deter tu from emailing? Talking on phones? Texting? They can invade every facet of our lives, why is this one so tragic? I dunno, I just see this as a non-issue. They will always spy on everything, if we live in fear of that, we'll never live. Until they come get me, I'll be playing mh console of choice boy deterred by fear mongers.

idarkphoenixi:
And people called me crazy for saying this exact thing would happen with Kinect. Of course they will spy on you, it's a perfect tool for looking into your home

No big deal really. Most of us carry a smartphone around, well guess what, they can remotely record your conversations.

martyrdrebel27:
nice try, but the difference there is that in your examples, you're listing imminent dangers, not something that was talked about and never happened.

Climate change is something that was talked about but has not fully happened (many still believe it's not even in the process of happening). The intersection example no kid had yet been hit so who says there was any imminent danger?

From my viewpoint the issue you are having is that you assume the xbox hack was a one-time idea brought up in some meeting that was immediately rejected never to be brought up again, thus why you think there is no danger (immediate or otherwise) of it ever happening. The problem with that thinking is that the opportunity is still there...the camera still exists in the xbox. The plan still exists in the GCHQ/NSA records even if it was rejected that one time. All it would take is for the guy who rejected it to retire or be fired and the guy who replaces him review the file and decide to accept it.

Heck, it wouldn't even need to rely on personnel changes, merely a change in current affairs. The day before the Boston Marathon a plan to have a camera in every house may have been rejected as unnecessary but the day after that same plan could easily be seen as vital to accept. Just because we discovered the plan was rejected 3 or 4 years ago does not mean that it hasn't secretly been resubmitted, accepted and put into action since then. For all we know it may already be happening right now.

In other words, if the technology and the opportunity is still there and no laws are put into place to prevent it then it is indeed still an imminent danger which is why it needs to be reported on.

martyrdrebel27:
haven't bought one yet actually, waiting on the titanfall bundle. And I'm well aware the government can and will monitor us all, but the idea of hacking xboxes is just stupid. Why bother when they already have real time satellite surveillance, can hack phones and emails and computers, stuff that a wider general population has, why would they spend time and money specializing in one tiny subset of the population when they already have that info and more? Its just technophobic nonsense.

Satellites only show top-down views of outside locations. Telephone and e-mail can only show what's being discussed between people over long distances. Not one of those methods you mentioned gives an inside-the-house glimpse of what people are doing or discussing between themselves. The xbox camera/mic is perfect for that.

It's the dream-come-true surveillance tool. Government doesn't need a warrant to install it because the customers voluntarily bring it inside the home. They don't need to worry about placement because the customers almost always place it in the best spot in the house...right in the living room or bedroom in plain sight facing out to the rest of the room and any rooms beyond. And because spying in on it can fall under the Patriot Act they don't need any warrant each time they wanna check up on someone.

tehroc:

idarkphoenixi:
And people called me crazy for saying this exact thing would happen with Kinect. Of course they will spy on you, it's a perfect tool for looking into your home

No big deal really. Most of us carry a smartphone around, well guess what, they can remotely record your conversations.

That's exactly the problem. We're being spied on so much, and so invasively that we stopped caring. So they want to spy in on Kinect? Well, who cares because they're already doing worse.

We're going to have our future generations grow up and not have any idea what the concept of privacy is, even if you tried to explain it to them, they wouldn't get it.

That's pretty horrifying to me

martyrdrebel27:
This isn't news. Something "almost" happening isn't worth reporting. This is just more anti-xbone bullshit from escapist. I swear, since the new Gen launched, i feel like i see more bias against xbone on here. Even when ps4 had equally troubling issues. Annoying.

and i know I'm not the only one. When this first started becoming a pattern, i commented on a thread where others expressed the same concern.

1) The Escapist reported on the PS4's problems, it's not their fault the Xbone just has more. 2)This isn't about the Xbone, it's just a poor article title (I would call it clickbait but it's accurate and some people still think this site is purely about gaming):

The files document a project called Optic Nerve, which collected a huge database of private chats and webcam traffic. While it seems that the data was primarily collected through Yahoo Messenger, the GCHQ also considered using the Microsoft Kinect camera to peer into the private homes of citizens.

It seems that Optic Nerve started back in 2008 and was active at least until 2012. The creepy bit is that these revelations only show what they were up to many years ago, not what they're doing now.

This article is about intelligence agencies spying on private citizens and that the government considered making those rumors about the Kinect being a spy-camera a reality - 6 years ago, so they may have changed their minds by now. But since this is a tech and gaming newsite, the staff has to link an article to those subjects - hence the Xbone addition.

OT: On one hand, I don't have a webcam. On the other hand, I'd so like to get one, just so I could hang a poster of this picture where they could see it.

Xsjadoblayde:
So...if i was a terrorist (which im not! Whatever my kinect has been saying about me!), then i only need bash one out before sharing all my evil plans to my other xbone comrads (now THAT phrase can have a stronger meaning), to put the secret watcher off the scent!
Unless theyre one of those who like watching. Like my uncle

No, what you should do is use Morse Code to send out your message by carefully timed bashing one out. I'll admit; the main reason for mentioning this is to convince the NSA/GCHQ it's a thing, increasing the amount of time they spend watching penises.

Hawkeye21:
Big Brother is watching you, and is gossiping about you with his pals.

He must be pretty damn bored of me by now.
Though he'd be hard pressed to attain video footage.

My opinions are mixed. In general the expansion of technology and the options it opens is going to lead to the expansion of the government's power in order to police it and keep people safe.

The way I see things is pretty straightforward. We let the genie out of the bottle. Right now criminals, terrorists, and spies are going to use these technologies without bothering to ask for permission or with any concern for civil liberties. As a result our own protectors (love them or hate them) have to do the same basic thing. It's easy to sit here and complain about government intrusion, but understand that as soon as something major happens, like a 9/11 attack, people are going to be demanding of the government an explanation for why it didn't do anything. It's kind of odd given the western world's relation with spies and covert intelligence, we take comfort in the idea of someone like "James Bond" watching over us, but at the same time revile any actual evidence that such is the case. Speaking for myself, we in the USA tried to go it without resorting to these kinds of things, falling well behind the US, Canada, and other allies in the process, indeed that was why when 9/11 happened the US didn't have any idea who attacked us, and it's also why we had to pretty much rebuild our intelligence services from the ground up (which was controversial at the time due to fear we'd create an "intelligence Czar" if we effectively put all intelligence under one umbrella). Things like the Edward Snowden leak are part of the growing pains of trying to get back into a much neglected game. What's more anyone who thinks that a group like the KGB (in the country Snowden is hiding) doesn't have draconian domestic security and/or wouldn't exploit the things Snowden is talking about to come after the US, is fooling themselves. I'm sorry but I just can't see someone like Putin sitting there saying "using the Kinect to spy is just too evil for the KGB" unless he was joking.

What's more it need to be understood that the use of these kinds of civilian channels and such is going to be combined with other things like codes and ciphers as part of an art generally known as "Fieldcraft". A deep cover agent, terrorist, etc... isn't going to have some kind of satellite radio implanted in his ear or whatever because such a signal could be picked up. Rather he's going to communicate and send information based on what's available and doesn't get much in the way of suspicion. Not to mention the simple fact that some groups, like most terrorist organizations, have to scrounge whatever they can get, because they don't have the funding for things like super-secret comm channels and the like even if they wanted to. Someone communicating through an MMO or whatever might very well use a code involving game lingo/lore to make it harder to detect. With something like the Kinect they might say put one in front
of a chair and have some kind of simple pass/fail system based on what game is on the chair at a given time so someone might hack in and just check one specific camera. Say if the game on the chair is "Just Cause" it means blow something up, if it's "Final Fantasy" it means wait... or whatever pre-assigned signals they set up.

Now of course when it comes to mass communications channels and concealed conversations/symbols/etc... the odds of catching anyone in particular without any other clues is difficult, but it's better to try rather than just allow free reign. Recording tons of data into databanks furthermore allows one to go back through it looking for information as
you gather more data. If you say suspect some dude of being a terrorist, you might be able to get some inkling as to his system if you watch him, and then compare events to what games he leaves on his chair when he's done playing (along with the fact, that he always leaves one there with it's title visible to the Kinetic Camera) or something like that.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying I like the idea of this kind of government surveillance, but at the end of the day we need to allow our own protectors access to all the tools their enemies have. If we're all dead, a philosophical point doesn't matter. What's more there IS a lot of middle ground between some kind of totalitarian regime and what we're talking about, we haven't gotten there yet. Most of what we're talking about is less machevellian spy plots and what amounts to common sense security being applied to new technologies. The more technology that develops and the more it comes into one's home, the more regulation is going to come with it as a matter of course. Even when looking at things like "1984" you need to consider the big picture, saying they have some things similar to what was in that book does not mean it's the same exact thing because the overall situation, society, and context, is far different. While sort of ironic the semi-utopian (to many people's way of thinking) society in "Star Trek" isn't all that different from "1984" depending on one's perspective... the devil is in the details and in the intent. Not to mention that every society is going to have it's people that get screwed over and wind up hating their government. Look at the planet "Tasha Yar" was from for example, nor the environment some of the mercenaries (like the crew Picard infiltrated) were from, or the sentiments of the colonists who were literally sold to the Cardassians by the government. Even in fantasy a generally "good" system has it's dark side, bad points, and does some truely screwed up things.

Then again a big part of it is that I really just can't see what The Government would care about what I do. I'm not perfect or an ideal citizen or anything, but I just can't see them ever wanting to have an intelligence analyst try and track me or anyone else, and even if they did what are they going to discover... porn maybe? (in my case they wouldn't even find much of that). That might be a bit embarrassing if your easily embarrassed, but really... nobody cares. People overestimate their own importance if they think the government really gives enough of a crap to actually have someone spy on them. The simple size of the undertaking and realities involved in it is also part of why I'm relatively trusting, to even begin to sort through this garbage means they are going to have to be after something fairly important. Nobody is going to willingly subject themselves to hours upon hours of watching people play video games (without even being able to see the game) just for lulz for example.

Anyone else imagining a frustrated NSA agent yelling at his screen "DO SOMETHING ALLREADY" after watching the same dude playing the same game in the same position 8 hours straight.. only getting up for some cola and snacks?

You know what I would find funny? If Microsoft pinged all the NSA's computers to see which were running pirated copies of Windows.

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