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