Microsoft issues statement on Kinect NUads

Earlier this week, we reported on a story that Microsoft was developing an interactive TV commercial service, based on its Kinect technology, called NUads. The story was based on an article posted by News.com where a Microsoft manager said in a presentation that the NUads system could in theory see and hear, via Kinect, how a TV audience reacts to TV commercials.

In our article we remarked on the fact that this kind of system could generate significant privacy concerns and even posted a statement from a Microsoft spokesperson who said, "Microsoft has a strong track record of implementing some of the best privacy protection measures in the industry. We place great importance on the privacy of our customers' information and the safety of their experiences."

Today Microsoft has sent Neowin another statement that further clarifies its position:

To be clear, the presentation at the PII conference did not announce targeted advertising features. The focus of the presentation was the future of advertising and the potential privacy issues managers at other companies must consider as technologies such as Kinect transform the industry. Microsoft takes the privacy of its consumers very seriously. Internally, Microsoft has strict policies in place that prohibit the collection, storage or use of Kinect data for the purpose of advertising. Unrelated to the conceptual future-state examples presented at the conference, the NUads announcement last year at Cannes addresses a new way consumers may choose to interact and engage with advertising. For example, in the future someone watching a car commercial in their living room could choose to say “Xbox Near Me” and an interactive map of local dealerships selling that particular vehicle could appear. This form of advertising is consumer driven, not based on any data collected about the user and opt-in only. Microsoft and its adverting customers are not collecting or using data obtained via the Kinect.

Microsoft added that the company has "not announced any plans for Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE to use any information captured by Kinect for advertising targeting purposes."

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9 Comments

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I see nothing wrong with this at all. It seems like it would be useful to consumers more than anything. So long as it is not allowed to be abused by partners...

One way or another we still need ads, if there's no exposure to ads how does one knows where to buy any products. Using what you search or reading email to collect data and deliver ads based on that is just wrong. However, if I go to Neowin and saw Dell ads or data recovery ads is okay as long as it's not dating ads because that's just out of place.

minster11 said,
One way or another we still need ads, if there's no exposure to ads how does one knows where to buy any products. Using what you search or reading email to collect data and deliver ads based on that is just wrong. However, if I go to Neowin and saw Dell ads or data recovery ads is okay as long as it's not dating ads because that's just out of place.

I still see dating ads on Neowin while surfing using the iPad.

stumper66 said,
When this happens I'll be unplugging the Kinect when not gaming.

Just wait until Kinect becomes self aware.

A few years back I worked on a project that would use TVs placed in retail locations (malls, shopping centers, etc) These TVs would display commercial adverts and the hardware/software combo could know if you were 1) Watching the tv. 2) Your age range (within 3 years) 3) Your race.

We did a presentation at MS, but after a while interest dropped and the company folded because of lack of funding. Still, an interesting technology.

If the Kinect could ANONYMOUSLY gather data about this it could be a great help to both company and the consumer. Meaning; They could only show ads where you showed interest.