Microsoft: Xbox One's Kinect to have privacy options

Microsoft's Xbox One console will come with a new and more advanced version of its Kinect sensor, which is required to be plugged into the console for the Xbox One to work. However, many people have voiced concerns that the Xbox One's hardware might be set up so that the Kinect device could be used to spy on users, even if the console itself was not being used.

Now Microsoft is trying to calm the fears of those folks. Kotaku reports that, according to a Microsoft spokesperson, the new Kinect hardware that will come with the Xbox One will have "simple, easy methods to customize privacy settings." Microsoft also says it will provide full information on how data that is collected by the Kinect will be stored, used and shared by the company.

The spokesperson added:

We know our customers want and expect strong privacy protections to be built into our products, devices and services, and for companies to be responsible stewards of their data. Microsoft has more than ten years of experience making privacy a top priority. Kinect for Xbox 360 was designed and built with strong privacy protections in place and the new Kinect will continue this commitment. We’ll share more details later.

For those owners who want full privacy protection from the Xbox One, Microsoft also confirms it will have what should be a pretty obvious feature. The console and the Kinect hardware can be turned completely off, using no power.

Source: Kotaku | Image via Microsoft

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People are definitely worried about those. I put electrical tape over all my cameras and microphones and never have a camera or mic plugged in permanently to my workstation.

You must be new to the conspiracy crew.

Is amazing how MS clarifies nothing and later they claim it as a fact.

About the xbox one, MS is just avoiding the bullets about the topics of "used games" and "privacy".

Brony said,
Is amazing how MS clarifies nothing and later they claim it as a fact.

About the xbox one, MS is just avoiding the bullets about the topics of "used games" and "privacy".

Have we been reading the same internets?

First why would they care about listening to people's boring conversations in their home and how would they even pull it off. They would have to hire millions of people to sit and listen to them all day and for what? They could certainly never keep such a thing secret and the outrage would be incredible, not to mention that Microsoft isn't affiliated with the government. The whole tinfoil hat notion of them using Xboxes to spy on people is just ridiculously crazy.

TRC said,
They would have to hire millions of people to sit and listen to them all day and for what? .

With the processing power of computer, they could filter irrelevant conversations.
And they won't have to listen to everyone, just when they find someone suspicious.

Can you imagine the logistical nightmare that will be Call of Duty? The constant swearing, profanity, threats, etc? "I'm gonna kill you!" "You're gonna die!" "BOOM HEADSHOT" "I need C4!" "Lets bomb this, lets bomb that!"

Yeah good luck sorting all of that out.

TRC said,
First why would they care about listening to people's boring conversations in their home and how would they even pull it off. They would have to hire millions of people to sit and listen to them all day and for what? They could certainly never keep such a thing secret and the outrage would be incredible, not to mention that Microsoft isn't affiliated with the government. The whole tinfoil hat notion of them using Xboxes to spy on people is just ridiculously crazy.

They can filter it. And recognition software is amazing today.

But its the same bogus when Vista came with the statistics tracking (optional). That Microsoft was spying on everything what you did. While they didn't.

Besides how are they going to hide it, it will cause a lot of network traffic, and if MS somehow sends dozens the times of traffic then it should be, it will be easily found.

Did anybody with a brain truly think MS would release this w/o having some way of disabling the features if you want? All of this surveillance crap is just so childish.

MrHumpty said,
Did anybody with a brain truly think MS would release this w/o having some way of disabling the features if you want? All of this surveillance crap is just so childish.

In any case, good PR move to get this info out to the public.

MrHumpty said,
Did anybody with a brain truly think MS would release this w/o having some way of disabling the features if you want? All of this surveillance crap is just so childish.

MS has shared information of his customers (without any trial) so many times that i don't know what MS is capable for.

CSharp. said,
In any case, good PR move to get this info out to the public.
I agree. But MS shows a preview of Tech and the entire world starts making wild assumptions about how it can be abused. It's childish.

Brony said,
MS has shared information of his customers (without any trial) so many times that i don't know what MS is capable for.
I'm going to go ahead and assume that english isn't your first language so I may get what you're trying to say wrong.

I could be wrong, but I'd love to see an article pointing to MS taking personal information of its customers and distributing that w/o that customer's express permission. Generalized statistcal information, absolutely. Everybody does that because it has value and violates not privacy. But identifiable personal information, I can't imagine in the past decade + that has happened.

Brony said,

MS has shared information of his customers (without any trial) so many times that i don't know what MS is capable for.

I've actually been involved in a lawsuit where Bing was asked for a customer's searches, and Microsoft wouldn't give it up without the customer's consent or a court order.

paranoid much? I hope that guy doesnt have a laptop as someone could hack into the inbuilt webcam/mic. Hope he doesnt have a phone as well, someone could hack into the camera/mic there and even his calls

Let's look at some of the other articles on that site:

Amanda Bynes: Another Product of Entertainment Industry Mind Control?
“Hide and Seek”: The Most Blatant Movie About Monarch Mind Control Ever?
Lil Wayne's “Love Me”: A Video Glamorizing Kitten Programming
“The Cabin in the Woods”: A Movie Celebrating the Elite's Ritual Sacrifices
The End of April: A Time of Human Sacrifice
The Mysterious Connection Between Sirius [the star] and Human History


Care to use a non flaming-nut website as a source?

Well you are free to take or not seriously the conspiracies treated by this website.
Anyways, it's true that there's more and more spying/surveillance on the US/ world, thanks to the new technologies.

I'm a Microsoft fan and can't wait for the X1, but playing devil's advocate here... if you can turn it off completely, then why is it "required" to be connected? Then by extension, why is the device not optional?

TCLN Ryster said,
I'm a Microsoft fan and can't wait for the X1, but playing devil's advocate here... if you can turn it off completely, then why is it "required" to be connected? Then by extension, why is the device not optional?

I don't remember where Microsoft said it will be "required" to be connected, I just remember them saying every xbox One will come with a Kinect. therefore it IS a part of the console so all developers can expect that it's there and code towards it.

Then by extension, why is the device not optional?

To provide a consistent development baseline. If every Xbox One is sold with a Kinect, developers can be positive the users will have one when they develop their games, so they will be more inclined to make use of its capabilities. Hopefully this will lead to developers really sitting down to try and understand how motion and voice can make their game better, instead of just gimmicky (Skyrim shouts come to mind).

TCLN Ryster said,
I'm a Microsoft fan and can't wait for the X1, but playing devil's advocate here... if you can turn it off completely, then why is it "required" to be connected? Then by extension, why is the device not optional?

Doesn't say the Xbox can work without the Kinect. Merely you can turn both off. Probably at the plug .

Since XONE comes with a BD drive, and as you all know, BD loads pretty slow. Having it on standy by (always on) can allow the system for quick loading. Every BD player has it, and even my Sony BD player has an option to turn that feature off or on.

TCLN Ryster said,
I'm a Microsoft fan and can't wait for the X1, but playing devil's advocate here... if you can turn it off completely, then why is it "required" to be connected? Then by extension, why is the device not optional?

It says the console and the Kinect can be turned off together. There are going to be a lot of apps, games and functions of the device that require the Kinect. So while it is possible to turn off it is probably an annoyance that hinders functionality to turn off. Sort of like how apps on your phone require GPS. You can turn off GPS on your phone but every time you try to use an app it asks you to turn it back on.

From a developers point of view, having something a standard component does make a big difference. It's like when the 360 had the optional HD-DVD and hard drive. You couldn't really develop anything for it because you would limit your market. That kept us swapping DVDs even though the system hardware didn't need to.

I hope that those that have been so upset by all the initial speculation start to feel better as MS clear up the record leading up to E3. So now it appears you can disable Kinect completely and still use the Xbox. That's good news.

I get the feeling we will slowly get answers to the lingering used games and always on speculation that turn out to be good news and not the worst case scenarios that have been speculated about.

People who are "concerned" about the privacy, used games, DRM, or the many other rumors are not truly concerned. They are just using these rumors to scare people away from the Xbox One to their favorite device.

The Xbox 360 was supposed to be a dismal failure compared to the Wii and PS3, but Microsoft did not roll over and let Sony and Nintendo split the market between then as the fans expected it to happen. So they need to make sure that people are frightened away from Xbox One's gaming.

There have been articles written about how the Xbox One just ruined Apple's plans with the Apple TV and the persistent iTV rumors, so the Apple fans need to make sure that people are afraid of the TV aspects of the Xbox One. It was rumored that an iTV would be voice and gesture enabled, but nobody was concerned that Apple was going to misuse that data, it was going to be the greatest thing ever even though it would need to be on all the time like the Xbox One. But a Microsoft product being on, listening for commands, that is horrible and we must stop that invasion of privacy.

So don't be confused, those people were not concerned for their own privacy, nor yours. They were never going to buy a Xbox One, they just want to make sure that people buy their console of choice.

StephenBratz said,
People who are "concerned" about the privacy, used games, DRM, or the many other rumors are not truly concerned. They are just using these rumors to scare people away from the Xbox One to their favorite device.

The Xbox 360 was supposed to be a dismal failure compared to the Wii and PS3, but Microsoft did not roll over and let Sony and Nintendo split the market between then as the fans expected it to happen. So they need to make sure that people are frightened away from Xbox One's gaming.

There have been articles written about how the Xbox One just ruined Apple's plans with the Apple TV and the persistent iTV rumors, so the Apple fans need to make sure that people are afraid of the TV aspects of the Xbox One. It was rumored that an iTV would be voice and gesture enabled, but nobody was concerned that Apple was going to misuse that data, it was going to be the greatest thing ever even though it would need to be on all the time like the Xbox One. But a Microsoft product being on, listening for commands, that is horrible and we must stop that invasion of privacy.

So don't be confused, those people were not concerned for their own privacy, nor yours. They were never going to buy a Xbox One, they just want to make sure that people buy their console of choice.

pretty much sums it up.

trooper11 said,
So now it appears you can disable Kinect completely and still use the Xbox. That's good news.

It says nothing of the sort in the article.

StephenBratz said,

Wild conspiratorial rant.
Yes ok anyone who voices genuine concerns is an "Apple loon". Do you have any idea how ridiculous your inane ramblings are?

StephenBratz said,
People who are "concerned" about the privacy, used games, DRM, or the many other rumors are not truly concerned. They are just using these rumors to scare people away from the Xbox One to their favorite device.

This, essentially.

It clearly says you will be able to disable Kinect via privacy controls. That tells me that you can do that while still using the console. This isn't the first time we have heard that bit about privacy settings to turn off Kinect, but its another confirmation of that.

If they come back and say that you can disable, but then you can't use the Xbox at all, then that's another issue.

the better twin said,
Yes ok anyone who voices genuine concerns is an "Apple loon". Do you have any idea how ridiculous your inane ramblings are?

1) I did not say that
2) Just like how anybody who voices genuine concern about Apple, their products, or even after buying an Apple product has trouble using it, is immediately labeled an "Apple hater"?
3) Do you have any idea how inane your belief that everything you read on the internet really is?

The truth is a vast majority of the people who are complaining are people who would never buy an Xbox One in the first place. Yes, there are some people who would want one that are not so sure. Search for bigmehdi's link below. I am sure you can find a treasure trove of Xbox "facts" for you to believe.

StephenBratz said,

1) I did not say that
2) Just like how anybody who voices genuine concern about Apple, their products, or even after buying an Apple product has trouble using it, is immediately labeled an "Apple hater"?
3) Do you have any idea how inane your belief that everything you read on the internet really is?

The truth is a vast majority of the people who are complaining are people who would never buy an Xbox One in the first place. Yes, there are some people who would want one that are not so sure. Search for bigmehdi's link below. I am sure you can find a treasure trove of Xbox "facts" for you to believe.

I own a xbox 360 and an xbox, all these are real concerns to me.

SierraSonic said,
I own a xbox 360 and an xbox, all these are real concerns to me.

Vast majority != every single person. While those who want to see Microsoft fail use words like "everyone hates Windows 8," or "no body wants all the TV features in the Xbox One," I will not make any attempt to speak for all users. But there are many people who have been using these rumors as full fact, and when Microsoft says that they are not true then these people tell us that Microsoft is lying, we should believe them and not Microsoft.

I don't know what drugs you're on but there's no other alternative gamers would want to remotely favorite this generation. The tech inside K2 is really sophisticated and can be misused.

the better twin said,
No it doesn't.

Don't confuse XBox One with Google Glass. Google Glass records everything you see, uploads them to Google servers, and higher-ups can request to view them anytime.