Xbox One And “Always Listening” Kinect Sparks Privacy Concerns

/ 3 years ago


When Microsoft launched its Xbox One last week with the next generation Kinect sensor it was revealed that the Kinect sensor would always listen to the voices of people in the room it is in. This has caused officials from both Germany and Australia to come out and make public concerns about privacy.

Microsoft claim that the new always listening sensor is revolutionary because it responds to commands such as “Xbox On” and obviously it couldn’t do that if it wasn’t always listening. Yet Tim Vines, who is the director of Australia’s Civil Liberties organization, spoke with GamesFix about the always listening feature and isn’t very pleased about it. He says the device is a major breach of privacy and Xbox need to offer a feature to turn monitoring off. He says if Microsoft doesn’t do that then consumers should buy another console.

“People should have the ability to turn off the camera or microphone, even if it limits the functionality of the machine…Of course, if Microsoft doesn’t allow that, then people should vote with their wallets and skip the next Xbox.”

According to Australian law the Microsoft Xbox One meets the regulatory standards of a surveillance device. While in Germany Federal Data Protection Commissioner, Peter Schaar, has labelled the Xbox One console from Microsoft a “twisted nightmare”.

“The Xbox One continuously records all sorts of personal information about me. My reaction rates, my learning or emotional states. These are then processed on an external server, and possibly even passed on to third parties. The fact that Microsoft could potentially spy on my living room is merely a twisted nightmare”

Microsoft has yet to publicly comment and address any of these privacy concerns. What are your thoughts on the always listening Kinect?

Image courtesy of Microsoft

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  • jian20

    Stupid comment from a who thinks he knows everything. If you want that console to not “listen” then plug the dam** thing off. It will take out the power and that listening option will be turned off. Geez!

  • Wayne

    It makes a change from from the wife, she never listens. Just imagine if the camera was always on & recording. Oh well if you wanna buy these things then live with it.