I came across an interesting article last week by Nate Anderson for Ars Technica discussing how game consoles are increasingly being used by law enforcement officers in criminal investigations. See, CSI: Xbox by Nate Anderson.
It can be used to stop the exchanging of child pornography through file sharing. It can be used to establish or refute alibis (I was/wasn't there; I was playing ______ at the time). And it can be used as a means for undercover officers to interact with suspects online via chat and then record the conversations to use in a later prosecution.
As technology advances, law enforcement has to stay ahead of the curve but that is not an invitation to circumvent civil liberties. I imagine law enforcement will need warrants to search the contents of a gaming console the way they would for a computer. However, I'm not certain there is an expectation of privacy in conversations shared over a gaming platform. It will be interesting to see how this issue plays out over time but in the meantime, know that Big Brother is watching.
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