The Department of Homeland Security has launched a research project seeking ways to hack into used gaming consoles to obtain information about previous owners stored on the devices. The first contract from this project was recently awarded to Obscure Technologies, a California based company, to create a create a forensic tool to siphon data off of the Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, and other consoles (Dreamcast perhaps?)
This contract, valued at $177,000 tasks the company with creating new hardware and software that can extract the data and purchase used consoles from outside the US to view exactly what data can be extracted from consoles.
This project existing in the first place says quite a few things. First, video games have come far from their heyday to have their hardware considered to hold such sensitive information. Previous reports of the US military and Saddam Hussein buying Playstations for operations in the past don't seem too far fetched now that our consoles, the ones in our living rooms, could be the missing link in the investigation to catch a predator. Second, what data exactly could be on our consoles that's retained after a reformat? Third, can this investigation lead us to the identity of that racist sore loser on Xbox Live? Third, is Kinect saving recordings of people playing "I'm Han Solo" in their underwear?