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ICE Raid Targets Mod Chips
August 2, 2007
Thomas Mennecke
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There are plenty of console newsgroups and BitTorrent sites around, filled to the brim with unauthorized duplications of such games. However even if someone were to download and burn a copy, they wouldn’t be able to do much considering the DRM (Digital Right Management) also hard wired directly to the console.

Yet this hasn’t stopped the unbounded ingenuity of those determined to work around DRM restrictions. While most DRM - the technology used to restricted unauthorized duplication – is a software issue, gaming consoles resort to hardware solutions. To resolve this issue, individuals have devised “mod chips” or modification chips to physically bypass the copyright protection mechanisms installed on gaming consoles.

The result of a successful mod chip is the ability to play burned games, copied games, third party creations, and home brew creations. These latter two reasons have been compelling arguments in favor the chip’s existence, as those not interested in copyright infringement can run various operating systems or experiment with home brew gaming.

Yet these reasons were not compelling enough for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who yesterday executed 32 search warrants in 16 states as part of an ongoing investigation against mod chip manufacturers.

"Illicit devices like the ones targeted today are created with one purpose in mind, subverting copyright protections," said Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "These crimes cost legitimate businesses billions of dollars annually and facilitate multiple other layers of criminality, such as smuggling, software piracy and money laundering."

Although there are actually multiple purposes for mod chips, those facing federal prosecution likely face a difficult road ahead. The raids were the largest of their kind, and also included help from the gaming industry.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Technology News :: Hardware

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