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U.S. Government Hires Company To Hack Into Video Game Consoles

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the free-play-guys-look-into-it dept.

Security 121

An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Navy is paying a company six figures to hack into used video game consoles and extract sensitive information. The tasks to be completed are for both offline and online data. The organization says it will only use the technology on consoles belonging to nations overseas, because the law doesn't allow it to be used on any 'U.S. persons.'" Should be a doddle.

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121 comments

This sounds a little paranoid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612623)

Does the US Navy really want to spend it's time finding out what sort of porn slashdotters were storing on their consoles, etc. They've got more important things to do, like protecting us while we watch our porn. And so we have the RIGHT to watch it.

I was thinking a late April Fools joke. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612725)

What could THE NAVY possibly get from used game consoles?

And why go that route to get it?

Re:I was thinking a late April Fools joke. (3, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612777)

I am sure they are looking for a fighter like they do here [wikipedia.org]

Re:I was thinking a late April Fools joke. (4, Funny)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612793)

Sorry for the delay, but military bureaucracy means it takes a while to get all the forms approved before posting AF jokes.

Re:I was thinking a late April Fools joke. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612849)

In-game chat used to co-ordinate freedom-fighter manouvres?

Re:I was thinking a late April Fools joke. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612897)

That's the sort of thing that poses a serious problem, since those voice chat services aren't necessarily as easy to eavesdrop on as say... anything on AT&T. Lots of terrorists are relatively young men, including for example the french guy who just drove around murdering people, presumably a number of the wealthier of that lot have game consoles.

Another option is just general data harvesting on potential spy, or turnable asset. You want to know who they talk to, maybe inject yourself into their friends list that sort of thing.

Re:I was thinking a late April Fools joke. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39613203)

I have to disagree. If they had the disposable income level to own a game console and internet connection they wouldn't have so much time to be disaffected terrorists. Maybe the crazy leader type ones would, but most of the people those leaders use as their cannon fodder would never end up in terrorist training if they could afford luxuries like game consoles.

Re:I was thinking a late April Fools joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39613407)

You have a consumer's mindset, first-worlder. Consider it as a tool which is supplied to someone, not as a purchase by them. So, this leader you refer to, would purchase 300 of them, and distribute them as needed.

Re:I was thinking a late April Fools joke. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39616493)

It's also assuming people are always the same. A 17 year old with an xbox can be a 19 year old terrorist with a 2 year old xbox. People change after all.

Re:I was thinking a late April Fools joke. (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39613643)

Osama bin Laden was the son of a billionaire and a millionaire in his own right.

Re:I was thinking a late April Fools joke. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39613799)

Certain countries like Iran have been buying PS3s to use for thee computational power. Maybe this has something to do with that?

Re:I was thinking a late April Fools joke. (0)

utkonos (2104836) | more than 2 years ago | (#39614261)

You shouldn't think of Naval Intelligence being only devoted to things involving ships and the sea. They are an intelligence service first. In fact, it was Navy research that led to the Tor network [onion-router.net] .

steganography? (1)

mordjah (1088481) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612625)

Woder what they are looking for.. Mostly wonder what can be found thats not already on facebook.

Re:steganography? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612667)

Hacking and streaming the consoles camera and mics perhaps? Accessing daddies credit card information? etc...

Re:steganography? (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612873)

Im quite sure the kinect has a backdoor system built in. The Xbox can download files even while appearing off. im sure the kinect camera (not the IR field generator) can be turned on without the user knowing.

Re:steganography? (1)

liamevo (1358257) | more than 2 years ago | (#39613287)

Turn it off by the socket. No more crazy paranoia!

Re:steganography? (2)

spokenoise (2140056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39614387)

They want you to believe that will help.... but it won't!

Re:steganography? (1)

JuicyBrain (977451) | more than 2 years ago | (#39615277)

I have the reflex of always turning my webcams towards the wall when I don't use them. I just hate the idea that someone COULD be looking at me through my own webcams. I guess I'm a bit paranoid...

Re:steganography? (3, Funny)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612723)

Woder what they are looking for.. Mostly wonder what can be found thats not already on facebook.

They're looking for clues to beat the Ironman Challenge in WoW.

Sensitive information? (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612641)

They're looking for the high scores of Taliban insurgents or what?

Re:Sensitive information? (4, Interesting)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612673)

Yeah that's what I'm wondering. What useful information could be gleaned from a game console? Do they think that the terrorists are using Xbox Live and PSN to communicate now or what? How would that be any more beneficial than the plethora of pre-paid cell phones out there that cost next to nothing and can be tossed regularly?

Re:Sensitive information? (1)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612705)

Maybe terrorists like to relax with their buddies with a game every now and then? They're people too, and I wouldn't be surprised if some aren't all that security conscious. Contact networks of such people would be useful, but I would have thought the DoD could get such data from MS/Sony with a warrant/subpoena. Hard to know what could be useful on the console itself.

Re:Sensitive information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39613115)

Problem: in order to get a console from such a person, they'd need to either know the person already OR sift through all used consoles and have some way to determine they're different from the law abiding.

The second bit would be quite novel, given the US's demonstrated abilities there ..

Re:Sensitive information? (2)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39616491)

They are looking for patterns of gaming behaviour. Psychopaths let the camouflage drop when they are gaming and, well, play like psychopaths.

Of course US intelligence will not spy on US citizens, that what Australians and Pine Gap http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_Gap [wikipedia.org] http://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=pine+gap&hl=en&ll=-23.798833,133.737559&spn=0.006047,0.012392&sll=-25.324167,135.74707&sspn=3.058333,6.344604&hnear=Pine+Gap&t=h&z=17 [google.com.au] are for.

Re:Sensitive information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612715)

Wouldn't xbox live account be tied to a credit card and eventually has a paper trail to an address? On the other hand, prepaid phone can be bought by cash in a corner store.

Re:Sensitive information? (3, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612761)

Not necessarily, you can buy XBL time cards for cash, also...that's what I do, I refuse to give them my CC#. Ditto with PSN (you've got to be insane to trust them with your CC#, after all that bullshit last year [consumerist.com] .

As long as there is an alternative to using my CC#, I'm going to choose that. When they get rid of that ability, I stop spending money with them. It wouldn't really bother me much, anyway, to be honest; 99% of my gaming is on PC these days.

Re:Sensitive information? (2)

Leuf (918654) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612729)

It would give them an excuse to start prying into the lives of anyone they associated with through gaming. Actually finding anyone who is a real threat is a secondary concern to having more people to have to look into and more ways to look into them so they can get more money and influence.

Re:Sensitive information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612785)

x-boxs overseas are easily turned into servers or so i have heard.

Re:Sensitive information? (3, Informative)

wickedskaman (1105337) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612807)

Yeah that's what I'm wondering. What useful information could be gleaned from a game console? Do they think that the terrorists are using Xbox Live and PSN to communicate now or what?

It's been reported that that's exactly what's going on [thesun.co.uk] .

Re:Sensitive information? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612867)

Never believe anything reported in The Scum.

Re:Sensitive information? (1)

wickedskaman (1105337) | more than 2 years ago | (#39615789)

I'm inclined to agree... but it seems plausible. Internet cafes overseas feature many of these games and it seems like a good alternative communication method.

Re:Sensitive information? (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612917)

Yeah, that article reeks of FUD. I can't imagine a terrorist would sit here and fuck around with an Xbox or PS3 when they can spend $10 American and get a piece of shit prepaid dumbphone to communicate with their terrorist friends.

I think stupid people just see terrorists around every corner. They're the "commies" of the 21st century; convenient bogeymen to sell more papers and drive more hits to your ads.

Mod parent up (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39614143)

That is all.

Re:Sensitive information? (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39614179)

yes it is the red scare of the 21st century. there are people who grew up in that time that don't like living without that. there are companies that base them selves on what this entails on a national level too.

Re:Sensitive information? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39613127)

Here's an example that is admittedly a bit of a stretch.

The military busts up a terrorist cell and finds a PS3. Turns out the PS3 was owned by a highly-wanted terrorist previously as evidenced by credit card/bank info still in the console (if it exists as such). They now have a definitive link from that cell to another person of interest.

I dunno, it's either something like that, or maybe they just want to look on the friends list?

"Oh yeah, look at this friends list. It's like a who's who of the scum of the earth. Xx|

Re:Sensitive information? (2)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612903)

A lot of people are asking, "What's the point? Why are they wasting their time doing this?" It makes me think that many people, if they saw a smartphone, a PC, and a game console, would take the PC and smartphone and perform data forensics on them, while leaving the game console behind. If that's the case, then it would certainly make sense to use the game console for one's crimes, essentially leaving the PC and smartphone as honeypots.

In reality, I'm sure that the military and intelligence agencies are a lot more thorough than that, and this is them being as thorough as possible. If it were me, I'd probably set up a porn site (using steganography to share information) and communicate in violent video games, just because those forms of media are not traditionally associated with reactionary radicals (such as Christian abortion bombers and Muslim suicide bombers) and are often brushed off as symptoms of Western hedonism and moral decline. Sounds perfect to me. Of course, it breaks down when you're talking about atheistic anarchists (such as eco-terrorists), but I'm sure I could think of something.

My console - MY PROPERTY (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612653)

and that includes the data on it.

Besides, I wonder how they'll get the data if the thing isn't networked, eh?

Re:My console - MY PROPERTY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612703)

The US government doesn't give a shit about somebody else's property. Especially if you're a greasy, filthy foreigner.

And that's why this is overseas to non-citizens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612707)

No US court will give them the time of day, as they don't have constitutional rights. They'll just say, go get your own diplomats to work something out, it's beyond our scope.

Re:And that's why this is overseas to non-citizens (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612833)

You wish. Take a very careful look at the "Patriot Act" and its unconstitutional permissions for warrant free monitoring of US citizens. Then take a look at the history of the NSA and other international "security" agencies monitoring citizens, and trading data with foreign "security agencies" to gain the security data on people they're not legally allowed to monitor themselves.

The data's potentially useful. Credit card data, passwords, and information on when someone is home is very useful for tracking anyone. It also helps tracing and contacting other visitors, who are notoriously easier to recruit than family members.

They can hack my original game boy and SNES. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612679)

If they can build a ray gun which can extract all the porn and terrorist plots stored on my old Super Nintendo, I'll be very impressed.

Re:They can hack my original game boy and SNES. (4, Funny)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612695)

I guess I'd better hide my copy of Custer's Revenge [wikipedia.org] , otherwise I could be on a one way ticket to Gitmo...

Information (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612701)

Some of the information provided in the article:

“This project involves furnishing video game systems, both new and used, and creating prototype rigs for capturing data from the video game systems.”
-- U.S. Navy listing

"“R & D effort for the development and delivery of computer forensic tools for analyzing network traffic and stored data created during the use of video game systems.”
-- Federal Business Opportunites website

Some links from the article:
Statement of Work [DOC] [navy.mil]
Contracting Activity document [DOCX] [navy.mil]

Oh good.. spying only on those overseas people (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612717)

As someone living 'overseas' I am not exactly relieved to hear that.

On the other hand I don't own a gaming console.
But why do get the strong feeling they meant to say 'after PCs now consoles too'? Am I reading too much between the lines here?

Re:Oh good.. spying only on those overseas people (2)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612759)

But why do get the strong feeling they meant to say 'after PCs now consoles too'? Am I reading too much between the lines here?

Quite the opposite: you're reading too little.

They're interested in game consoles because they already have the capability to hack into PCs, just like every other script kiddie on this planet.

Re:Oh good.. spying only on those overseas people (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 2 years ago | (#39613255)

If it makes you feel better, the line about it being applicable only to foreign nationals overseas is a line of BS to placate the public. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, this will be used on all consoles, regardless of whether the owner is a US citizen or not.

Re:Oh good.. spying only on those overseas people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39613389)

Nah they just get their British, French or Israeli buddies to hack US boxes.

Re:Oh good.. spying only on those overseas people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39613465)

quite whinning your not alone everyone lives overseas from some other place.

Is US trying to alienate the entire world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39614049)

As another person who's not an American citizen, I'm thinking oh good, another reason for me to not deal with Americans, to avoid buying anything that's American, ever visiting that country, or being nice to any Americans visiting my country. It's weird, 15 years ago in my neighborhood we all admired USA, now the majority of people I talk to tend to spit after mentioning America... Why are you guys so hell-bent on making everybody hate you?

Easier way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612727)

Wouldn't a five figure 'security-incentive' to the 3 major players be cheaper ?

not your property any more (3, Insightful)

cellocgw (617879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612741)

Not that I support the Navy (?? what? why Navy?) doing this stuff, or paying so much, but there is possible precedent. It's been pretty clear for a long time that anything you throw out in the trash is no longer your possession. So, before you toss that old game console, take a hammer to the memory bits.

Re:not your property any more (2)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612817)

Why? What do you have to hide? You MUST be guilty.

Re:not your property any more (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612889)

Depending on where you live, the ownership of trash can be quite complicated. There's at least one case of a city in the US prosecuting someone for theft after they took some discarded equipment (I think it was an aircon unit) from the trash. Not theft from the former own, but theft from the city: They saw that trash as recycling scrap-metal value, and didn't take kindly to someone else stealing what they regarded as city property.

I can't remember enough details to find any links supporting it though, so you'll have to make do with rumor from me.

Re:not your property any more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39613169)

Yup, NYC gave a shady contract to some recycling company that was friendly with Boss Bloomberg and when random citizens decided to pick up metal scrap and recycle it themselves the city arrested them and investigated them for "organized crime" because so much stuff was being recycled by citizens that it must have been a coordinated operation. I shit you not. NY Times did a couple stories on it when commodity prices were high. Basically this one company has a contract with New York City so all discarded scrap metal on the sidewalk belongs to them so if you take a broken down washing machine off the side of the road you are now a felon.

Re:not your property any more (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#39613055)

anything you throw out in the trash is no longer your possession.

Hah, as if those things "were" your property in the first place, considering all the DRM installed.

Re:not your property any more (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39614211)

practically, sony and ms would both kick you out for having a hacked(modded) console.

it's just money thrown out of the window - or inside the window of this r&d company.

and for what? those few consoles that have eyetoys and kinects attached?

Uh, yeah... (5, Insightful)

Higgins_Boson (2569429) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612791)

because the law doesn't allow it to be used on any 'U.S. persons.'

As if that ever stopped them before. **rolls eyes**

Re:Uh, yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612965)

Evidence please? I've successfully prosecuted this before. In spite of your lies, we make an extreme effort to comply with federal laws.

Re:Uh, yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39613163)

There's a crazy law .. says something about being secure in persons, papers, effects? And then there's actions .. like warrantless wiretapping. Pretty sure those are in contradiction with one another. Also pretty sure is a law says something about due process. Then we have actions, like go directly to gitmo; do not pass go, do not collect $200. Interstate commerce clause? Surely that means there must be first commerce and second it goes interstate? Nope. If it could be interstate commerce, the federal government can stick its nose in.

The government is the organization that keeps the government in line. You might notice that there's something of a conflict of interest there.

Re:Uh, yeah... (1)

lexman098 (1983842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39614007)

Another troll AC.

That's like someone claiming that politicians lie and you saying "WHERE'S THE HARD PROOF!?"

Re:Uh, yeah... (1)

Higgins_Boson (2569429) | more than 2 years ago | (#39616023)

You obviously live in a box. Or, more likely, under a rock.

Re:Uh, yeah... (1)

Jessified (1150003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39613289)

Alternatively, I'm wondering if this violates the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA.

Even if this hacking would otherwise be legal, the anti-circumvention clause does not allow for such a defense.

YVAN EHT NIOJ (n/t) (-1)

gumpish (682245) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612799)

[lameness filter circumvention text]

More gratuitous behaviour (1, Offtopic)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612801)

More government spending, more invasion of privacy, more unauthorised behaviour, more deficit and debt, more government jobs (paid for with debt of-course), more government contracts, more money printing - inflation.

Less real economic activity, less freedoms, less real value in money.

Only one good thing hopefully will come out of this: fewer people supporting government actions, less desire to have this type of government, getting closer to the point when this becomes completely unbearable (of-course this will only really end when all resources end as government consumes them all).

What's funny is people on this site saying that people consume too many resources, so there needs to be birth control done by government. [slashdot.org] When they get a reply that people are not a drain on the system [slashdot.org] , they are a resource that need to be freed from government oppression to solve the problems of resources, so many of /. posters argue against it. [slashdot.org]

They want government to control every aspect of human life, including artificially controlling birth rates, so that government can get one more leverage point against the people while doing THIS kind of nonsense?

The REAL drain on the system is GOVERNMENT.

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (1)

sir-gold (949031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612871)

The REAL drain on the system is GOVERNMENT.

Are you referring to the current US government, or are you one of those people who think "all governments are evil, therefore we should get rid of the idea of government" and we should change to some variation of Anarchy (Anarcho-capitalism, Anarcho-syndicalism, etc)?

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612877)

more government jobs (paid for with debt of-course)

Ah, but those jobs are TAXED and thus we now have a new source of income to pay off the debt! ;-)

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612887)

Perpetuum mobile is fiction. Government workers do not actually pay income taxes and judging by your comment you understand that.

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (1)

enrgeeman (867240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39614063)

I'm fairly confident the GP was making a joke, but I think you were serious. Government workers do pay income taxes. Unless of course, soldiers are not govenment workers, because they pay federal income taxes, and, depending on the state, state income taxes as well.

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39614131)

I am very serious, I already talked about it at length here [slashdot.org] and many people didn't understand this simple concept then either - government workers do not pay income taxes.

To understand this you have to ask yourself a question: what is income in the first place? I argue [slashdot.org] income taxes are illegal and collected illegally, but that's not the point here.

The point is that under the definition of what income taxes are: they are taxes upon revenue or pre-tax profit (and thus you can read my argument about illegality of it, people don't have profit, they exchange their own labour for pay).

But what is the profit that the government is getting from a government worker, who was paid by government just to return part of that money back? There is no new profit there of any kind. That's money that already came from profits of other people, who paid taxes for real - those who actually worked to do something to be paid outside of government. Those who participated in the real economy and created something of value and part of that value was then taken away by the government.

However once the government has that money, it can then play games like pretend that government workers pay income taxes, while in reality they could just as well pay their workers the after so called income tax amount.

The businesses are forced to withhold income taxes from employees (and if this wasn't the case, taxes would have been much lower, if people had to give a wad of cash to government by the year end, they would have revolted long ago).

Government withholds that amount too, and it's on a statement, it makes it look like a gov't worker pays taxes, but gov't worker didn't actually PRODUCE anything that added any value to the original money that the government has collected already!

Of-course they also can use deductions against their so called taxes, but that just means they are getting more pay, nothing else.

Now, when a government worker pays taxes on his OTHER income, something he may have generated from other sources, not government (he sublet his house or he did something else that qualifies as 'income'), THEN YES, he paid actual income taxes.

Otherwise it's an accounting trick.

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (1)

enrgeeman (867240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39614293)

Maybe I'm obtuse, but I'm reading what you've written, and I think you're just playing word games.

From your definition of what income takes are, you say they or on revenue OR pre-tax profit. Revenue is the money coming in, right? That's incoming money. Income. And money that is left over after subtracting the expenses from this income, is called profit. I would argue that people can have profit, and it would be called savings. This savings would be the money left over that they didn't yet spend.

I agree that the government is in a position to subtract the income tax amount straight from the worker's paycheck, and would most likely argue that they should, as it would make for less paperwork. However, I think this idea would not work currently because there are so many levels of government that have taxes of their own (federal, state, county, w/e), each trying to take their piece of the paycheck, that it's easier to do it the way it is done now, because of how the widtheld portion would have to be divied up.

As far as your implied statement that government workers don't do anytihng, by saying only those outside the government create value, I think it's bullshit. I'll concede the point there is a lot of waste, in that there are a not insignificant amount of people who are doing little more than collecting a paycheck, but I also see some things that are not easy to put a dollar value on. As one example, what's the value of defense, the deterrant the military is? Those soldiers might be maintaining equipment, or themselves through training, which may seem to not have any value but their purpose is what? Defense, to protect the nation.

I think I got a little distracted from my main point, which is that it is, in fact, an income tax that is paid by government workers. I'll leave the legality of an income tax for another time, but I don't have a problem with the concept of income tax.

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39614379)

Government workers do not add any value into the system, whatever they are doing, they are spending value that was added to it by people who actually produced something that market in fact was willing to spend real savings on (or real investment).

Government workers can only spend what they have taken away, and they are spending it not within normal market, they are insensitive to market signals on everything that deals with prices, thus they cannot by definition argue that they are adding value, they are always subtracting it, they are not market participants.

Also: profit is something that is made on investment, not on straight out work, as in: payment for labour is not profit.

Profit is something that is made upon money that is saved and invested, thus individual income cannot be considered profit. Just because a person doesn't spend 100% of what he earns doesn't make that profit, it only makes it savings.

Savings and profit are not the same thing.

--

Finally: a government worker is not generating any new income for the government. Again, a government worker can only take money that was already subtracted from somebody's actual market participation activity and spend that money in any way, that doesn't have to do with the market at all.

A government worker does not in fact create ANY money that government DID NOT HAVE ALREADY. Thus this 'income tax' that government worker pays is not a tax on income, it's just an accounting gimmick. The government already had that money, it already took it from somebody. That's not new money that government received from actual productive activity.

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (2)

enrgeeman (867240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39615059)

I must disagree. Roads, schools, and other public works provide value to society, and are paid for by the government, who has workers at least overseeing these projects. Just because the value isn't monetary doesn't mean it has no value.

Payment for labour may not be profit directly, but it can be if the worker values their labor at a rate lower than what they are being paid. However, it is still an incoming fund to the worker. If you get money from any source, it is income. Is there a difference between revenue and income that I'm missing?

Earlier in the thread, you said:

The point is that under the definition of what income taxes are: they are taxes upon revenue or pre-tax profit...

(Emphasis added)

True, a goverment worker is not generating new income for the government(unless they're collecting fines, but I'm not going to look at that now). I don't see why any worker of the government needs to generate income, when the government is capable of generating more money on its own(inflation). Government should be spending the money it collects for the betterment of society.

That government worker is doing a job that the government needs done. How is that any different than a company worker doing a job the company needs done? They are getting paid for services rendered, and it really doesn't matter where that money comes from. For the worker, that money is income, revenue, payment, whatever you want to call it. That money will be taxed.

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39614419)

As to you not caring about income taxes - most likely you don't pay any, or you pay very little, and just like the case is with the government workers, majority of people in USA are not paying income taxes (50% pay only 3% of all income taxes, those are bottom earners), so to them income taxes are a direct subsidy from the top earners, so obviously they want the taxes to go up on top earners, because bottom earners don't pay them anyway!

So it's a direct subsidy, a direct wealth transfer and it is part of the problem with the economy, as those, who are paying these taxes are getting hurt and move their savings and investments and work somewhere else.

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (1)

enrgeeman (867240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39615141)

I didn't say I don't care about income tax, but that I don't have a problem with the concept. The current implementation leaves a bit to be desired, but the day everything is perfect is a day I doubt I'll live to see.
It's true, I don't pay much in income tax, but then again, I don't make much, either, so that's expected.
I like the idea of graduated income tax brackets, because it enables those who do make more to contribute more, but without burdening them as much. They have more money total, so they can spare more to give to the government that enables them to live as such. That's the short version.

If we were to get rid of income tax, where would government reveue come from to fund the public works and such things it does currently do? I understand a bunch of stuff would be cut, which would be a good thing, but I can't see the government getting enough money from sales tax, property tax, and whatnot.

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39615327)

This:

but that I don't have a problem with the concept

and this:

It's true, I don't pay much in income tax, but then again, I don't make much, either, so that's expected.

- my point exactly.

It's a direct subsidy from some people to majority, that's why those who pay disproportionate amounts into that try their best to minimise it and now just move their investments and work out of the country.

I like the idea of graduated income tax brackets, because it enables those who do make more to contribute more, but without burdening them as much.

- you are disregarding the fact that with a flat income tax it would be actually at least FAIR while those with greater income would still contribute much more, because for example 20% of a million is 200,000, while 20% of 100,000 is 20,000.

So it is completely wrong and unfair and destructive to the economy that the income tax is so disproportionately hurting people who are actually able to re-invest into the economy, because clearly they are not using most of their income to buy stuff for themselves.

Steve Jobs spent less than 4% of his entire fortune in his life, this means 96% was re-invested into the economy, which is exactly what we need people to do.

Thinking that having people with money give that money to government makes economy better is illiterate, but also it's basically based on class envy and unfair redistribution of wealth via the force of gov't.

I urge everybody who is in higher tax brackets to move their investment capital and the jobs elsewhere, where it's not as obviously rigged by the system against the minority.

If we were to get rid of income tax, where would government reveue come from to fund the public works and such things it does currently do?

- gov't shouldn't be doing much of anything. Before 1913 it was barely detectable that there was a federal government and that was exactly the time (after the Civil war, but mostly 19 century to the WWI) when the US economy did so much that USA became basically world's super power, biggest creditor nation.

What was USA before 19th century? An afterthought to the European nations. 19th century put USA on the map as an innovator and a super economy for a reason, and that reason was mostly absent government regulations and taxes and no inflation (except the Continental, but hey, they used to say: not worth a Continental. Soon they'll be saying: not worth a Federal.)

US federal gov't was able to run on legal taxes: excise, import. 50% of taxes were derived from alcohol sales. Governments are doing too much and during crisis they should be doing even less, because they created the crisis and by doing more they turn crisis into catastrophes.

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39616201)

19th century put USA on the map as an innovator and a super economy for a reason, and that reason was mostly absent government regulations and taxes and no inflation

Nah, it's the other way around: there were little/no regulations and taxes for a reason, and that reason was because the USA was booming economically

Government only acts when there's a problem. Back in 19th century few people complained to government.

Nowadays we have record companies and copyright holders complaining to government. So here we are.

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612943)

This is my concern.... GEOHOT was criminalized and attacked using government resources based on his so-called violations of EULAs.... And now government directed entities do similar things but are not comparably criminalized....

No. Getting sick of the corporations.gov concept here... the abuse of citizens is so blatant and the preference fr corporations is absurd.

More Roman_mir nonsense (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39613067)

I used to be quite sure you believed in what you said. Then I started to doubt it as your posts became more and more trollish. Now I'm almost certain you are just trolling to make the extreme right look silly. It is amusing to watch you do that and yet still repeatedly get moderated very highly for spouting off self-contradictory nonsense.

Let's take a look at some examples you just provided:

more invasion of privacy,

This makes no sense in relation to the article. The summary plainly states that the Navy is purchasing used consoles and hacking in to them. These are being sold on the very same free market that you claim to love so much.

more unauthorised behaviour

The only one who doesn't authorize hacking in to game consoles that are freely purchased and outright owned are the manufacturers of said consoles. However you repeatedly post that you want to see the end of all patents and copyrights, so you should not be defending companies that want to dictate how end users use their products, either.

more deficit and debt

That is a straw man argument, at best. At this point government deficit and debt are like global entropy - they can only increase.

more government jobs

No reasonable person would ever argue for more unemployment. Of course, you are known to not be the least bit reasonable.

Less real economic activity,

How is the government purchasing items and putting people to work less economic activity? Oh, yes, it isn't.

less freedoms

Nonsense. By your argument if the US Army sourced a new scope for a rifle, other than the one that it was initially purchased with, that would also be "less freedoms".

What's funny is people on this site saying that people consume too many resources, so there needs to be birth control done by government.

That would be an interesting argument, if the post you linked to actually made that argument. Too bad it made no such argument in any way, shape or form. Did you mean to link to a different post?

They want government to control every aspect of human life

Can you show an example of someone on slashdot saying such a thing? Yeah, I didn't think so.

The REAL drain on the system is GOVERNMENT.

You can say what you want about the government, but you certainly haven't demonstrated that claim. If anything, you have supported the ever-increasingly-hypothesis that you are indeed just a slightly-more-refined-than-average troll.

Re:More gratuitous behaviour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39613241)

Allowing a government to go into debt is like everyone under that government handing some spoiled rich kids their credit cards in place of their rich parents cards and approving all expenditures with the spending caps removed. And sorry, bankruptcy don't clear government debt and/or child support. Enjoy your lives as wage slaves.

Government debt and taxation are key factors in inflation. So your paying for the debt but not paying it off, so still paying the interest and not really paying it off either. A crueler form of vigorish? Tax law legislators learned from the protection rackets of old, who learned from royalty and other governmental representatives as well as religious figures, sometimes in history they were the same.

US citizens have forgotten the warnings of Jefferson, Franklin and so many others. They have even lost their Common Sense [ushistory.org] . The more power given and/or allowed to government, the weaker society becomes. FDR said "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself!" Veiled warning? After all, government was using it against its citizens before, after and during his time.

Incidentally... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612805)

With today's consoles being walled-garden cryptographic playgrounds, I am hard pressed to think of any useful exploit tools that wouldn't run a substantial risk of qualifying as 'circumvention devices' for DMCA purposes...

It makes me wonder if the law(s) that probably do make almost any sort of spying legal also enable otherwise illegal tools, or whether the MPAA just isn't going to be suing the Navy as a pragmatic matter?

the hacking is the easy bit (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612827)

Finding a console that will yield useful sensitive information is why it's worth 6 figures.

The constitution protects people, not citizens. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612845)

If you need a warrant for citizens, you also need a warrant for non-citizens, no matter where they are. The jurisdiction of the constitution constrains American government employees no matter where they are in the Universe.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612925)

Yes, they are refusing to do this to U.S. game consoles, because that's against the law. And that's important. And they wouldn't break the law by doing something like that.

Good for them.

cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612933)

It looks like they are going to find a way to use those cameras built into the latest and greatest video game controllers. And if we can do it then the bad guys will start doing it to us and our troops.

Sounds like the Navy is a bit bored (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612947)

maybe we should scale their budget back, since they have 6 figures and all that manpower to waste all while running a TV ad ever fucking hour, slash it to 25% and give them a real challenge

cock minded morons

America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612951)

This is why you are broke.

ur tax money... (1)

zugedneb (601299) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612953)

...is wasted...

u see, we have all these forums where we can anonymously debate and suggest action, but somehow i doubt that modern crowd ever actually IS going to take action...
and even if u do, the military will slap u down, in any western country...

well, democracy and its fruits is eventually limited by its "childrens" intellect...

i would like to kill people, but unfortunately my morals are a lot more intact then my sense of politeness. and yes, i can not be corrupted, because there is little mankind can offer me... (i kind of like knuth's books and such)
i could spend my entire day torturing and eventually killing corrupt (or just stupid) politicians, pedophiles, hells angels members, "religious leaders"... there are sooooo many to kill... so little time, and so few comrads...
well thats life, isn't it?

What they are looking for is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39612989)

Peoples online information like usernames and passwords, email address and real address with this information they can access your online life, not everyone who owns used consoles are geeks sitting in basements a lot could be people in positions of power or influence in foreign goverment to large foreign organisations if that does not pan out they can still use your idenity to spy on your country otherwise they have to plant agents that take a long time before they can be used as to remain anonymous but with your idenity it makes things much easier and when there finished or compromised they move out and guess who gets the blame for betraying there country.

Think on it is it that far fetched?

But I thought that was impossible (2)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 2 years ago | (#39613013)

Microsoft says Xbox hacking claims are ‘unlikely’. [bgr.com]

"A report emerged last week from a security researcher claiming Microsoft’s Xbox lacked important security features that might protect owners who sell used consoles from having personal information stolen. Ashley Podhradsky of Drexel University claimed to have purchased a used Xbox console and used readily available hacking tools to recover the prior owner’s credit card number and other personal information. “Microsoft does a great job of protecting their proprietary information, but they don’t do a great job of protecting the user’s data,” Podhradsky said at the time.

Microsoft has since responded to the researcher’s claims, stating that they are likely inaccurate."

The military is always over budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39613223)

The military is always over budget... maybe they can get some credit card numbers to cover the spending.

Whew! (1)

tylersoze (789256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39613243)

"the law doesn't allow it to be used on any 'U.S. persons.'"

Well that's a load off my mind. It's nice to know all we US persons have to worry about is being flagged as a terrorist and executed with no due process in a drone strike, but at least they won't hack our game consoles.

company resells tech to other countries (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39613257)

they will then spy on americans.

hey, its the free market!

Virtual Training Camps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39613283)

Perhaps consoles and games are the next-gen virtual training camps?

Blowback (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39613457)

I always find it an odd amusement, us US'ers being so hell-bent on interfering with everyone's business--but our laws say you can't do it to us. Then we complain when some guy we don't like in a country we don't like does the same, as if our displeasure at being treated the way we treat others is acceptable.

Then again, like hell they aren't going to do it to us Yanks if they can find loopholes.

why not just get MS, sony, and Nintendo to do it? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39614035)

why not just get MS, sony, and Nintendo to do it? they can use there own code and make it easier and maybe even hide it better.

act of war (2)

SuperDre (982372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39614473)

but doing it on consoles of other countries, it means it's actually an act of war (IMHO) as it's not something that is allowed by INTERNATIONAL Law.. but oh wait, the US doesn't give a rat's ass about international law unless it is in their favor.. So now if the US does it to our consoles, we are allowed to do it to their consoles...

Re:act of war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39614555)

An act of war to buy used game consoles and see what's on them? Really?

Re:act of war (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39616499)

Espionage is something that international law will never allow and that every country does, has always done and will always do.

If you're thinking "Oh, those nasty Americans" you are incredibly naive. The Chinese, Israelis, British, Russians and everybody else who thinks they might be able to get your information are already in there, or trying like hell to make it so.

That is, if they happen to think that you know anything worth stealing. For most people, this means that they're not being watched, because most people don't have a fucking clue about anything, must less the secrets that governments try to conceal from one another.

Law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39614611)

Fuck, the president ordered an American citizen be killed without trial, the law means shit to the government, they do whatever they want and get away with it.

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