Microsoft: No, Xbox One's Kinect won't be used to gather user data for ads

When Microsoft announced the Xbox One would come bundled with a next-generation Kinect sensor, which was initially required to be connected to use the console, it created fears that the console would gather user information and invade privacy. Recent comments at an advertising industry event stoked these fires again, though their context has been misreported.

On Sunday, Kotaku reported that Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of marketing and strategy for Xbox, said Kinect could be used to share user data. The alleged comments came at the Association of National Advertisters' Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix on Saturday, but when asked about the statements, a Microsoft spokesman said they were taken out of context.

Mehdi's comments, according to Microsoft, had nothing to do with Kinect. Microsoft provided Neowin with the following statement outlining the inaccuracy of the article in question:

The comments in Ad Age attributed to Yusuf Mehdi were not in relation to Kinect. We do not have plans to target ads or content to you based on any data Kinect collects. We have a long-standing commitment to your privacy and will not target ads to you based on any data Kinect collects unless you choose to allow us to do so. Furthermore, we will give you a clear explanation of what is collected and how it will be used. Importantly, we do not collect your personal information to share or sell to third parties, and you are fully in control over what personal data is shared. We have strict policies to protect your privacy and these policies will continue to be upheld with our next generation product.

Microsoft's response reiterates previous claims made by company officials that the sensor won't be used for gathering user data. Albert Penello, director of marketing and planning for Xbox, said "nobody is working on that," referring to data-gathering Kinect features, in a comment Friday, adding that even if Microsoft ever implemented such a feature, users would have control of it.

Similar statements were made almost immediately after the Xbox One console and next-generation sensor were announced, with Microsoft maintaining users will always be in control of their privacy with the console.

Image via Microsoft

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42 Comments

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I havnt read the article or comments because its a joke.... trying sy the kinect can spy on your calls and stuff and everything you say.... for a start lets say you connect to skype and talk through the kinect to skype... its not the kinect that would be collecting info, its the skype protocol that the NSA or anyone else is listening in on and that is not limited to windos, ,linux macs etc. so i think if you got someat to hide dont use it, if you havnt who cares!!!

Its not like people have anything to hide, people just don't want their personal data being exploited by the NSA and Microsoft. Also the kinect needs software otherwise its useless.

Tell the consumer you won't use the data and tell advertisers they'll have access to more data than they ever dreamed.....Guess who they're lying to...

Rudy said,
Tell the consumer you won't use the data and tell advertisers they'll have access to more data than they ever dreamed.....Guess who they're lying to...

Reliable source?

Rudy said,
Tell the consumer you won't use the data and tell advertisers they'll have access to more data than they ever dreamed.....Guess who they're lying to...

Having worked with Microsoft's advertising companies over the years, I have yet to find an option to obtain personal information or any details about advertisers that is not publically available.

I have options with Google to obtain personal information though...

Mobius Enigma said,

Having worked with Microsoft's advertising companies over the years, I have yet to find an option to obtain personal information or any details about advertisers that is not publically available.

I have options with Google to obtain personal information though...


The moment I first worked with Google advertisement and Google Analytics properly, it surprised me how much information you get to know about your visitors.... also around the same time I started realizing Google today is far from what Google used to be.

That's selectively choosing one aspect of the quote. The full quote tells an entirely different story; just look at the sentence directly in front of it: "We do not have plans to target ads or content to you based on any data Kinect collects."

Furthermore, the entire story was incorrectly reported, as the comments in question weren't even related to Kinect. We've written about nuAds before, which are nothing new: http://www.neowin.net/news/tags/nuads

I don't believe them. They wouldn't go all in with Kinect for media and game features. There is a lot of money to be made from advertising. Microsoft are just trying to keep things positive before the release of Xbox One. They will say anything. Might not be at launch or a year from now when we see their hand but they want more revenue streams and the data Kinect gives them is brand new to advertisers and highly valuable.

http://penny-arcade.com/report...about-xbox-live-advertising

Read that for an insight into Xbox Live ads. Microsoft is going full steam ahead.

WooHoo!!! said,
....

Not to mention the patent they were awarded for using optical input to deliver targeted ads....

I think you're on to something.

WooHoo!!! said,
I don't believe them. They wouldn't go all in with Kinect for media and game features. There is a lot of money to be made from advertising. Microsoft are just trying to keep things positive before the release of Xbox One. They will say anything. Might not be at launch or a year from now when we see their hand but they want more revenue streams and the data Kinect gives them is brand new to advertisers and highly valuable.

http://penny-arcade.com/report...about-xbox-live-advertising

Read that for an insight into Xbox Live ads. Microsoft is going full steam ahead.


*sigh*, I honestly don't know what to say anymore to these people that, for whatever reason, are incapable of understanding the importance of going "all in" on a peripheral... Again, by guaranteeing that everyone will have a peripheral, developers are able to, and much more willing to, devote time a resources to developing unique experiences taking advantage of it. You simply will NEVER get broad adoption OR reasonable investment for a peripheral that developers can't expect to be there...

No one has been impressed by the gaming potential of kinect, so it's a tough sell. Judging from the previous generation of kinect software, and lack of announcements for software support of a new generation of kinect, it's hard to get excited. Even games that were going to feature it such as Ryse and Crimson Dragon have tried to distance themselves from the peripheral. Even the previous gen kinect has failed to live up to its promises.

Scumbags... Spreading FUD all sourced from misinformation. Meanwhile, on the Internet, there's rampant hating on MS using said misinformation as the source -- all without waiting for an official statement.

Everyone... CTFD.

Basically, this is what happens when fanboys start to work in the tech industry or become tech bloggers/journalists lol.

"We have a long-standing commitment to your privacy"

You used to, Microsoft.

"Microsoft would refuse to voluntarily place a back door in any of its products and would fiercely resist any government attempt to require back doors in products. From a security perspective, such back doors are an unacceptable security risk because they would permit unscrupulous individuals to compromise the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our customers' data and systems. From a market perspective, such products would not be marketable, either domestically or internationally. Equally important, deliberately inserting such vulnerabilities would undermine Microsoft's reputation in the marketplace as a trusted vendor of products. For these reasons and others, we would, as we did during the encryption debate, oppose any such government efforts."

Spicoli said,
We're talking about reality and not conspiracy theories.

I *am* speaking about reality. Your derogatory comment does not change the facts.

The excerpt in my previous post comes from Microsoft's NGSCB FAQ, and is in contradiction with Microsoft's participation of the PRISM program.

how is this anti Microsoft? did you even read it?

"Microsoft would refuse to voluntarily place a back door in any of its products and would fiercely resist any government attempt to require back doors in products

Shadowzz said,
how is this anti Microsoft? did you even read it?

Again this comes up, and again it seems that people are pointing the finger at the wrong 'person'.

the US gov via the NSA and recent legal changes made it absolutely impossible for any company to refuse to do what the NSA were asking/demanding.

all the tech companies were involved, to the degree that they had no choice.

Ian William said,

I *am* speaking about reality. Your derogatory comment does not change the facts.

The excerpt in my previous post comes from Microsoft's NGSCB FAQ, and is in contradiction with Microsoft's participation of the PRISM program.

Really. So what software has these mystical back doors installed?

Ian William said,
"We have a long-standing commitment to your privacy"

You used to, Microsoft.

"Microsoft would refuse to voluntarily place a back door in any of its products and would fiercely resist any government attempt to require back doors in products. From a security perspective, such back doors are an unacceptable security risk because they would permit unscrupulous individuals to compromise the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our customers' data and systems. From a market perspective, such products would not be marketable, either domestically or internationally. Equally important, deliberately inserting such vulnerabilities would undermine Microsoft's reputation in the marketplace as a trusted vendor of products. For these reasons and others, we would, as we did during the encryption debate, oppose any such government efforts."


Did you completely miss the focus on "voluntary" action?

Prism was far from voluntary. You should be mad at the government, not the companies that were required to release information...

Ian William said,

I *am* speaking about reality. Your derogatory comment does not change the facts.

The excerpt in my previous post comes from Microsoft's NGSCB FAQ, and is in contradiction with Microsoft's participation of the PRISM program.

You accept Microsoft's participation as fact and in a very specific context.

If Microsoft was working with the NSA to keep them out of Windows Server or to say no to giving them a bitlocker backdoor; then technically, they would be 'participating'. However this would be not be 'helping'.

Microsoft did refuse backdoor access to Windows Server and did refuse a key for Bitlocker. (BTW)

Spicoli said,

Really. So what software has these mystical back doors installed?

I did not state that Microsoft software contains a back door, nor did I imply it. All I mentioned was that the quote (seemed to at the time of writing) contradict their more recent actions.

Mobius Enigma said,

You accept Microsoft's participation as fact and in a very specific context.

If Microsoft was working with the NSA to keep them out of Windows Server or to say no to giving them a bitlocker backdoor; then technically, they would be 'participating'. However this would be not be 'helping'.

Microsoft did refuse backdoor access to Windows Server and did refuse a key for Bitlocker. (BTW)

Yes, I am aware of this. It was even written about recently.

Shadowzz said,
how is this anti Microsoft? did you even read it?

The comment was not meant to be interpreted as an "anti Microsoft" statement. I love the company, which is why I had posted the seemingly contradictory excerpt to begin with.

I should not have posted the material; reading it again makes me feel that I misconstrued most of what was stated. My apologies to those involved.

Ian William said,

The comment was not meant to be interpreted as an "anti Microsoft" statement. I love the company, which is why I had posted the seemingly contradictory excerpt to begin with.

I should not have posted the material; reading it again makes me feel that I misconstrued most of what was stated. My apologies to those involved.


Very well, just misunderstood then