Microsoft exec: Kinect for Xbox One won't collect data for advertising

Ever since the next Kinect hardware product was announced for the Xbox One console, there have been concerns that Microsoft will use the add-on to spy on its users in their living rooms. This week, a Microsoft executive tried to calm concerns from others that Kinect 2.0 would be used to gather data for interactive ads.

The concerns began after an older interview was posted with some unnamed Microsoft personnel on a site called Stick Twiddlers, which claims that the Kinect "could" be used in advertising. In a post on the NeoGAF message board this week, Microsoft's Xbox planning and marketing director Albert Penello dismissed those concerns, saying:

First - nobody is working on that. We have a lot more interesting and pressing things to dedicate time towards. It was an interview done speculatively, and I'm not aware of any active work in this space. Second - if something like that ever happened, you can be sure it wouldn't happen without the user having control over it. Period.

Penello adds that Microsoft could make use of the new Kinect for some interesting features if it were connected to a cloud server, such as having a face be recognized automatically by Kinect when a gamer is at a friend's house. However, he added, " ... or privacy reasons, your facial data doesn't leave the console."

Source: NeoGAF | Image via Microsoft

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Pirates are mad at MS because they tried to make them pay for their games, they will bring this type of thing up every time they get a chance. And it going to go on for a long, long time because they switch to Sony and they don't like it.

Why was Kinect spying even brought up, what was the motivation to propose something so improbable. Do people really think Xbox has the intelligence observe you and determine what your thinking about? No. It is just trash talk.

I would like a list that explicitly states what it will collect data for, commercial or otherwise.

The article contains a quote from someone who is not aware of active work in this space, we need information from a person who is, obviously, and can therefore deliver a definitive answer.

They can say what they like BEFORE RELEASE but as we know they can change the EULA when ever they want and there is nothing you can do about it.

MS is always extra-careful with its wording. When they say no data is going to be collected for advertising, it means data *is* going to be collected. Just not for advertising. I hope the distinction is clear to all.

As for *what* data it is that's going to be collected...that's another matter entirely.

TCLN Ryster said,
Well as it's a camera and microphone, I'd assume video and audio data

Well played sir, well played. Then the question becomes, why do they need that data at all?

_dandy_ said,
MS is always extra-careful with its wording. When they say no data is going to be collected for advertising, it means data *is* going to be collected. Just not for advertising. I hope the distinction is clear to all.

As for *what* data it is that's going to be collected...that's another matter entirely.

So data is used to supply information to the games while the person is playing it...
(A master of the obvious moment)

Are you serious?

please stop this crap. unless they enjoy seeing you sitting half naked on your couch or having occasional sex in living room what else they can collect? you bought a new furniture woow. hey you got a cat at home... can you guys brush your sick and twisted minds and think that what rally they want to do is immersive experience while gaming and opening doors for developer's imaginations to create more realistic games rather than pressing bunch of buttons all the time?

Mobius Enigma said,

So data is used to supply information to the games while the person is playing it...
(A master of the obvious moment)

Are you serious?

Uh, what? No doubt it's supplying information to the game. That doesn't mean it has to leave your console at all (not every game is only playable online).

Let's all stop the conspiracy theories. If the Kinect somehows streams audio and video data to Microsoft, the internet will find out instantly because everybody will see a massive spike on their broadband usage. Then there would be hell up.

It's not going to happen, let's just drop it.

_dandy_ said,

Uh, what? No doubt it's supplying information to the game. That doesn't mean it has to leave your console at all (not every game is only playable online).

This is the whole point, the APIs only provide a very specific set of data to the game. There are no hidden 'data streams' or ways to take control of the Kinect.


Try putting this in context...

A camera on an Android device is FAR easier to gain access from a malicious 3rd party App available on the Google Store, than it would be for Microsoft themselves to gain access to a raw video stream from the Kinect camera.

Lemme clarify my position here--and this is not me backtracking; I'm not a conspiracy theorist. All I was saying is that I found the wording odd, as we know careful wording such as this is deliberate.

I don't know why people get up in arms about it. If MS did this and like Penello said, it would be an opt in service. So i see it as a non issue. If you don't want it. Opt out of it.

Sometimes MS is simply not allowed to say things like this. Some people will simply trash them regardless. MS can make all of these positive statements and people online will go nuts. Whatever the reason, its beyond silly considering what we hear from all of these tech companies.

I think its good that they get on the record saying this stuff because that creates a way for all of us as consumers to hold them to that word. I kind of doubt MS would say this and then do something in the complete opposite direction. So if they do anything with Kinect, it would always be in your control to not be part of it.

trooper11 said,
Sometimes MS is simply not allowed to say things like this. Some people will simply trash them regardless. MS can make all of these positive statements and people online will go nuts. Whatever the reason, its beyond silly considering what we hear from all of these tech companies.
Especially lately. They did botch the reveal of the new console, but reversed course long before the console launches, Yet the fanatics online simply will not let that go. All the while idealizing everything Sony has said.

It reminds me of when I preordered the Xbox One at GameStop, and guy behind the counter wouldn't stop trying to convince me to buy the PS4. I started focusing on the features of the Xbox One that I really excited for, and then he started going off about Gaikai and how great it will be and MS will never be able to match that. So I brought up Azure and how it could easily only provide those same services (and low and behold MS is working on that). Two different things, but because Sony now owns Gaikai it is somehow the greatest thing ever and somehow the fast cloud service ever. (he literally said that). As an IT Pro, I LMAO at him.

You have to look at the irrational mindset of these people. People should like whatever they want, but the lengths that some are going to at trashing the other choice is simply astounding.

Bad Man Duke said,
Especially lately. They did botch the reveal of the new console, but reversed course long before the console launches, Yet the fanatics online simply will not let that go. All the while idealizing everything Sony has said.

It reminds me of when I preordered the Xbox One at GameStop, and guy behind the counter wouldn't stop trying to convince me to buy the PS4. I started focusing on the features of the Xbox One that I really excited for, and then he started going off about Gaikai and how great it will be and MS will never be able to match that. So I brought up Azure and how it could easily only provide those same services (and low and behold MS is working on that). Two different things, but because Sony now owns Gaikai it is somehow the greatest thing ever and somehow the fast cloud service ever. (he literally said that). As an IT Pro, I LMAO at him.

You have to look at the irrational mindset of these people. People should like whatever they want, but the lengths that some are going to at trashing the other choice is simply astounding.

I wonder if these people realize that when Sony was getting their Novell/Linux servers hacked a few years ago that they eventually brought in Microsoft to help solve the security issues.

Subject to change is all you need to know.

Frankly, advertising is the gold mine Kinect feature. Microsoft know this.

As long as the system works when it is disconnected, I don't see this being a huge issue. I am pretty excited about the fitness app that will be free until the end of 2014.

I don't agree advertising is some gold mine potential. The ad market is so saturated that it's becoming increasingly difficult to grow that revenue. That's why web sites are getting so aggressive shoving ads in your face they become unusable. Selling games and streaming content on the other hand is a growth business.

I was under the impression that the Kinect 2.0 had a subset of API's specifically for advertisers.

Does this mean that the Kinect 2.0 will be a watered down experience for users interacting with ads, or that they made another reversal, or that the Kinect simply won't collect data but advertisers can still use a subset of API's for interacting with the kinect....? While this is welcome, it's also confusing.

It means Albert and company are still groveling to the frothing Sony fanboys of NeoGAF. At some point it is going to occur to these stooges on the Xbox team that NeoGAF is a Sony forum that wants Xbox dead.

Nearly every gaming podcast I listen to now dismisses NeoGAF entirely as a huge joke. They rip into NeoGAF on the CAGcast this week.

All that was said is Advertisers cannot use the Kinect 2 to collect data. The xbox One is sure to feature ads as the 360 did. I don't see how else advertisers could use the Kinect... as it is just a fancy camera. Microsoft is doing their best to make sure its locked down and people feel safe with it. On the other hand developers will have their hands full of options to choose from.

greenwizard88 said,
I was under the impression that the Kinect 2.0 had a subset of API's specifically for advertisers.

Does this mean that the Kinect 2.0 will be a watered down experience for users interacting with ads, or that they made another reversal, or that the Kinect simply won't collect data but advertisers can still use a subset of API's for interacting with the kinect....? While this is welcome, it's also confusing.

This rumor set goes back to a MS patent in 2011 for gaining achievements. It was never about the Kinect and it has never been used.

The web is full of idiots and sadly some of them write articles for websites that trigger speculation upon speculation over a bit of information that was digested without understanding.

Edited by Mobius Enigma, Oct 4 2013, 11:09pm :

Microsoft can't let anything like this happen with their Xbox line of products. They've had their name dragged through the mud regarding the whole NSA and whatnot already, not to mention a hard time getting their PR together.

I don't think there's any risk in worrying about Microsoft's Kinect and spying at all, 'less they wish to inflict another backlash.

Spicoli said,
Google tells you straight up they track everything you do and scan your email and it doesn't seem to hurt them much.

Microsoft is not Google and vice versa.

Although Google would have a field day with this.

Spicoli said,
Google tells you straight up they track everything you do and scan your email and it doesn't seem to hurt them much.

I know of a number of businesses who won't allow Google's products near their offices simply because they don't trust that Google won't change their policies next week in a way that could compromise their data. They'll trust a company that SELLS them a product and doesn't collect data about them over one that gives their product away for free but openly admits they will collect and use that data about their "customers" and share it with undisclosed third parties. I personally agree.

That might be a bit extreme but I do think the motivation point is very important. Microsoft wants to sell you software. Google wants to sell your information to someone else. I prefer being the customer rather than the product.

dead.cell said,
. They've had their name dragged through the mud regarding the whole NSA .

I think this NSA thing is old fashioned now. many people already knew NSA is spying on everything and why do you think NSA is only interested in microsoft and for example google is resisting on giving away personal information? Google more systematically collect and process personal information and NSA is more interested in more systematic personal information. besides, google's job is collecting your personal information whereas microsoft primarily sells software and now a little hardware.

Well, that's why they have to be careful. As Spicoli pointed out, Google is pretty upfront with their behavior, except for some of their more recent exploits with the Safari hole and WiFi network data collection.

If Microsoft on the other hand tells us up and down they will not abuse our privacy, keeping our concerns in mind, and then it spills out that they didn't... well, that would be a PR nightmare, especially given their whole Scroogled campaign. That's why, in my opinion, expecting Microsoft to spy at all is incredibly unlikely. They'd have too much to lose.