Microsoft: Xbox One owners are in control of Kinect privacy settings

Not only will Microsoft launch a new Xbox One game console later this year, it will also include a new hardware version of its Kinect motion and voice capture sensor device. However, there have been concerns issued from some quarters about what kind of information Microsoft would gather from the use of the Kinect sensor, which is required to be plugged into the Xbox One in order for the console to work.

Today, Microsoft used its Xbox Wire website to explain at least some of their privacy controls that will be put into the Xbox One and the Kinect sensor. The blog states:

The system will navigate you through key privacy options, like automatic or manual sign in, privacy settings, and clear notifications about how data is used. When Xbox One is on and you’re simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded.

The Kinect can be paused when an Xbox One user is playing games or watching videos. Even the "Xbox On" voice command that can be used to turn on the console can be disabled. Microsoft added that games and apps that collect data such as videos, photos, facial expressions, and more are not transmitted to Microsoft unless a user gives his or her permission to do so. Finally, Microsoft says that other input devices such as the Xbox One controller and remote controllers can be used on the console instead of the Kinect.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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On and off topic:

Read: Our privacy has already been violated without our consent. We are not in control. We have sacrificed liberty for "safety." It matters not what country we're from (Sorry, caught you...no, you're not exempt because you're not in the same country I am. It's bigger than that). Wake up, humans. Kinect is the least of your worries.

Mostly on topic:

How many of us read all the terms & conditions we blindly click agree / sign on the dotted line to every day?

No comment, argument or trolling required. Move along, nothing to see here.

Don't want the camera to 'see' you, just tape a folded piece of paper onto the Kinect's camera.
Don't want the camera to 'hear' you, just tape some sound muffling piece of material onto the Kinect's mics.

Oh.... and wear a tinfoil hat while in the house.... :-P

So in the age of big data and privacy concerns, no matter which side you're on, the debate over Kinect is pertinent. One thing that I would do if I ever got such device is to cover the cameras or simply disconnect the device when not using.

I think that Microsoft would themselves a favor if they do the following:

a) Implement some 'soft' solutions to address those concerns (e.g.: settings to have full control over privacy issues). -- I believe they're already doing that?

b) Some 'hard' solutions such as an on/off switch for the Kinect, or even a lid for the camera (which would help protect the device lens(es) as well).

Consider that an always on device like Kinect could be exploited by hackers to spy on you.

Worst case scenario, just unplug the Kinect device. I know it is not ideal, but that could do the trick if you really don't trust the device -- right?

So it is technically capable of listening to you and recording you and sending it via it's every 24 hour dial home but Microsoft promises it will obey some software preferences you set... trust them.

If Microsoft did this, they would be sunk as far as gaming consoles are concerned. You know hackers and enthusiasts are going to be packet-sniffing the Xbox One, and if MS was sending anything in that volume, they'd catch it and publicize it.

NateB1 said,
If Microsoft did this, they would be sunk as far as gaming consoles are concerned. You know hackers and enthusiasts are going to be packet-sniffing the Xbox One, and if MS was sending anything in that volume, they'd catch it and publicize it.

they won't do it for just anyone, they will do it for whistleblowers and journalists. Do you think they have the skills to packet scan and reverse engineer? NOPE.

torrentthief said,

they won't do it for just anyone, they will do it for whistleblowers and journalists. Do you think they have the skills to packet scan and reverse engineer? NOPE.

You're underestimating the hacker's enthusiasm for hacking. PARTICULARLY when that involves a window to someone's household.

NateB1 said,
If Microsoft did this, they would be sunk as far as gaming consoles are concerned. You know hackers and enthusiasts are going to be packet-sniffing the Xbox One, and if MS was sending anything in that volume, they'd catch it and publicize it.

You mean like how Verizon is sunk for turning over every one of their customers phone records? I'm not saying they have some evil plan right now and I'm not saying they'll turn it on for everyone with an Xbox One but I don't even want it to be an option available to them. Say they get a court order like Verizon did, you telling me they aren't going to comply? Like how they scan your email for and turn in scumbags with child porn. I would have thought they'd have to have at least had probable cause or even reasonable suspicion before a court order could compel them to but this Verizon thing proves they need neither nor will they bother to notify you. This it too powerful of a tool to just hand over and trust Microsoft with in my opinion.

As I always said, if you got nothing to hide, then what is the point. The fact that you've given information to use Live, they already have part of your information. Although, I don't see this as an issue since you do have the control on how Kinect will behave.

Totally agree with you, RommelS. If you've nothing to hide then why worry about it? Oh no, Microsoft might or might not be collecting data on me watching TV in my living room or telling my grandpa about my latest vacation or something, so terrible!

It's not like I'm going to be revealing some terrorist plot whilst sitting on my couch...

The beauty of being a consumer is you have choices, I think MS has done a good job of giving you control and notification over the kinect data, if you are still paranoid than a PS4 is probably for you.

Personally though if you live in the Western World i'd be more concerned about the freedoms youve ceded to the government in the last 10 years that you've done nothing about rather than getting uppity at MS and a new piece of technology.

Yea if the amount of people who are talking about this online, also look at there party's and there policy's and then voted, it would be amazing!

Osiris said,
The beauty of being a consumer is you have choices, I think MS has done a good job of giving you control and notification over the kinect data, if you are still paranoid than a PS4 is probably for you.

Personally though if you live in the Western World i'd be more concerned about the freedoms youve ceded to the government in the last 10 years that you've done nothing about rather than getting uppity at MS and a new piece of technology.

Everyone is concerned about the freedoms that was lost since "9/11" and this is just adding to the fire. This is the reason people are up in arms. Personally I have 3 360s in my home right now and I will never support the xbox one if their policies regarding disconnecting kinect doesn't change. I will tolerate everything else like the drm and stuff. But goddamit I do not want the Kinect to be mandatory and in the same sentence as electricity for this junk to function.

RommelS said,
Then you have not set your Kinect with the proper privacy settings.

NSA's PRISM will disable that, microsoft will be forced to spy on you.

You speculate too much.

Unless you are not an American Citizen, NSA's Prism will not target you. Talk about that, for them to disable those features of Kinect, that means Microsoft must violate their own Privacy Rights because the NSA must work with Microsoft before anything like that could happen.

torrentthief said,

NSA's PRISM will disable that, microsoft will be forced to spy on you.

In other news, shares in major tin-foil manufacturers rose to record highs....

I just wish everyone would trust in the incoming feedback from the One and it's servers instead of complaining from the start. You're gonna buy it anyways, regardless of how much you b****.

minster11 said,
Incoming negativities in 1..2...3...

This is a negative thing, for many people. Don't act like we're complaining over nothing.

yes you are...complaining over nothing...". When Xbox One is on and you're simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded."

yardmanflex said,
yes you are...complaining over nothing...". When Xbox One is on and you're simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded."

I opened too many tabs and thought this was the article about being required to be online at least once a day.

yardmanflex said,
yes you are...complaining over nothing...". When Xbox One is on and you're simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded."

yardmanflex said,
yes you are...complaining over nothing...". When Xbox One is on and you're simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded."

Did you just not see the PRISM scandal where google, microsoft, apple and countless other companies were ordered to spy on the public by the NSA? They will be ordered to spy on the public with this too. Just because you disable it in software doesn't mean it is really disabled. If microsoft actually wanted to give you privacy they would let you physically disconnect it and only require you to connect it for kinect games. Clearly they do intend on spying us as not letting us disconnect it is a MASSIVE p.r screwup.

Wow, paranoid much? I sure hope you are now going to disconnect yourself from the internet, not leave your house.. no wait.. your bedroom, not use any form of (mobile) communication, not use a credit card, not visit a bank or public office building and some other instances where information on you is being gathered an recorded.

I also hope you do know that there is a power plug you can pull from the wall socket just for you paranoid bunch right?

I mean seriously..

McKay said,

This is a negative thing, for many people. Don't act like we're complaining over nothing.

Don't bother... Debating with fanboys is like screaming in anger to a turd that won't flush.