Editorial

Who cares if the Xbox One is spying on you?

Microsoft has had a lot of negative publicity on its latest console, the upcoming Xbox One. While some of the complaints, such as the used game policy, do seem rather anti-consumer, requiring Kinect to be installed to use the console is baseless.

Gamers are saying that Microsoft will be spying on them. They point to the fact that not only is the device required to be connected, it's also always listening for the magic phrase: "Xbox On." They assume that listening for that phrase gives Microsoft a license to listen to your personal conversations in the room."Gamers are saying that Microsoft will be spying on them" That the camera is always pointed towards your seating area means that Microsoft is gathering information about what you're doing, regardless of whether the console is on or off. They say that these invasions of privacy are intolerable and Microsoft is making a huge mistake with the requirement.

And maybe they're right. But if they are, it's not because of the actual requirement, it's because of how Microsoft packaged it up and presented it to the public. Instead of leading with, "It only listens for a key phrase and does not record what you're doing or saying," they said, "Kinect is required to be connected at all times." That instantly sent up big red flags, especially in today's day and age, and put people in a panic.

The bigger question is: Even if Microsoft's newest console is spying on every move we make, does it really matter? "Do you own a cell phone? It also has a camera and microphone, and follows you around everywhere."Do you own a cell phone? It also has a camera and microphone, and follows you around everywhere. A tablet? Same. How about a laptop? Yup. Even many televisions are including cameras built into them, so why are we suddenly up in arms over the fact that our video game console has the same functionality as a five year old smartphone?

"But they'll know my every move!" You know who else knows your every move? Google and Apple. Yet there aren't mobs of angry users with torches and pitchforks decending upon Mountain View and Cupertino. And while the Xbox One could theoretically record what you're doing while you're in the house, the two cell phone giants can record your entire life no matter where you are because nearly everyone has a smartphone nowadays.

Do you usually read the EULA before using new software? You may be surprised to learn that many pieces of software are spying on you too. How do you feel about this language, taken directly from the popular business locating app, Yelp?

Our servers also log information that your computer or mobile device provides to us in connection with your use of the Site, such as your browser type, browser language, IP address, mobile carrier, unique device identifier, location, and requested and referring URLs. ... If you terminate your account, we may continue to show some of your content in anonymized form. We may also keep personal information in our active systems for a period of 5 years (or longer if required by law) in order to ensure our ability to satisfy the authorized uses under this Privacy Policy.

And let's not even talk about all of the data that's freely given out on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Sure, many people say, "I choose what goes on the site," but that's really not even true. Regardless of whether you're on any social media sites or not, you have friends who are, and you have no control over what they post about you. If they post a single picture of you at a party, it's that much easier for companies and governments to use software and figure out who you associate with.

"You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it."As Scott McNealy famously said back in 1999: "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it." Stop fighting the illusion that you do and enjoy the technologies available. Chances are if Microsoft does in fact use the Kinect to spy on you, they're going to be pretty disappointed when all they see is a pudgy guy in his underwear sitting on the couch across from them anyway.

Images Courtesy of Weeabooswithcontrollers.com, CNN, and 20th Century Fox

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Poll: If Microsoft twist, will you stick? [Update]

Next Story

Google unveils balloon-powered internet, entitled 'Project Loon'

142 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Lack of consumer protection.

Typically in europe, the government can spy a lot on it's citizens, but on the flip side, have strong consumer / privacy laws for everything non-government.

In the united states, we have weak consumer protection laws and government legally and illegally spying

Microsoft has everything to gain for watching you while you use your Xbox One, Marketing Info. You are providing an open window into your home that allows them to follow exactly how the machine is used and what is does to you while in use, i.e. What games get you pumped, do you have any people watch you play etc etc. This is the same reason why Apple and Google collected location info from your phones, and yes people freaked over that too. I do not believe they care or even what to know if make love to my wife on the couch, but is pure stupidity that believe that M$ has nothing to gain from gathering as much info as they can.

As most of the TV functions probably won't work outside of the USA I'll be turning my Xbox One off at the wall plug when I'm not playing games on it, just like I do with my 360.

"Google Spying on you, by searching for keywords in mails"- OMG, Google is so evil, burn them down, they are the most evil company EVER.

"Microsoft spying on you by watching you and your GF having sex on couch"- Meh, who cares, its Microsoft anyway, they are not evil, like Google.

Typical Neowin Logic..

Edited by bmthetechfan, Jun 17 2013, 4:10am :

bmthetechfan said,
"Google Spying on you, by searching for keywords in mails"- OMG, Google is so evil, burn them down, they are the most evil company EVER.

"Microsoft spying on you by watching you and your GF having sex on couch"- Meh, who cares, its Microsoft anyway, they are not evil, like Google.

Typical Neowin Logic..


You do realize that there's no such thing as "Neowin Logic," that we're all individuals, right...?

And I haven't seen any comments yet that really address the base question - why are you ok with being spied on with your phone, but not your console? What's the difference? (if you don't know what I mean, read my Google One comment above -- they knew where I worked based on my driving history and stored that information in their database)

Last year, the FISA court said the minimization rules were unconstitutional, and on Wednesday, ruled that it had no objection to sharing that opinion publicly. It is now up to a federal court.

The smart phone is the biggest one with the GPS tracking along with audio and video. That follows you everywhere. If you want to spy on someone, that's what you want to hack.

C'mon Neowin's boss... You have cheap "writers" but read something before the posting... Every illiterate writer wannabe does his practice here, on Neowin. I thought you would care for your user-base...

Arceles said,
They certainly care about money and hits, Hence dot matrixces, vcfans, hawkmans...

God how did you gain access to my ignore list ?

this article is bull. cause, we could have a policy of zero spying, no reporting or sharing of data. you're suggesting to people to accept it, when we could just force companies through some sort of law or boycott to not do any of this. no spying, monitoring, or data collection whatsoever. it really is up to us, in our and the companies control. they simply choose not to protect our privacy, even when most of it isn't necessary. it's choice, because no one is standing up or doing anything about it.

Interesting read. While i can understand some points, i feel that we should ask questions about what companies are doing with our data today. Also does the XboxOne have a light showing when the camera is in use? last time i look all webcam/laptops have this. Cellphone dont seem too, maybe this should be a law in place! Also will Christopher White answer back to these comments on his own piece, would be nice to see some sort of response to the comments left here!

THE_OBSERVER said,
Interesting read. While i can understand some points, i feel that we should ask questions about what companies are doing with our data today. Also does the XboxOne have a light showing when the camera is in use? last time i look all webcam/laptops have this. Cellphone dont seem too, maybe this should be a law in place! Also will Christopher White answer back to these comments on his own piece, would be nice to see some sort of response to the comments left here!

I have been - I'm Fezmid.

Good question on the light -- although many will argue that the light can be disabled (it's only software, after all).

My point on the article wasn't that we shouldn't care about privacy -- rather, the Xbox One is the least of our privacy concerns when compared to everything else, especially cell phones.

I think the author of this article is a bit to naive. Look at the watergate scandal.. so when people can misuse information for their own personal gain/agenda they will.

Playing the ignorant card only give these people power they should not have.. and if they want it they should have to pay for it.

Unfortunately I don't want to give up even MORE of my privacy, that's what it matters and that's why I care. No XBOX One for me.

Lexcyn said,
Unfortunately I don't want to give up even MORE of my privacy, that's what it matters and that's why I care. No XBOX One for me.

Getting rid of your smartphone then too? Or is giving up that privacy ok?

Sorry but my Android phone is 100% open-source. I can go look through all the code for back-doors if I really needed to.

This whole article is just as bad as all the people saying Xbox One will be spying on peoples personal life!

Who cares about privacy? Really? REEEALLY? What a horrible article.


No wonder the United States is turning in to a huge ****-hole with people thinking like that!

HolyLiaison said,
Sorry but my Android phone is 100% open-source. I can go look through all the code for back-doors if I really needed to.

This whole article is just as bad as all the people saying Xbox One will be spying on peoples personal life!

Who cares about privacy? Really? REEEALLY? What a horrible article.


iOS isn't open source. Most of the apps you install on Android aren't open source. So unless you're only using stock Android, and looking at the source code every time you update anything, you have no idea.

Besides that, the cell phone companies are keeping track of all of your calls, your texts, your voicemail, and your location no matter where you go. That was my point -- not who cares about privacy, but the fact that cell phones are FAR more invasive than the Kinect. So far, Kinect hasn't shown us any evidence that it's being used to spy on us, whereas cell phones have been shown to spy on us all the time.

Personally I don't really care.
But like I've mentioned before, and I always tell people...
I don't see how that would be legal, for MS to be recording what people are doing.
I would say that would lead or should lead to all sorts of prosecutable offences.
For example, it's not illegal for a young couple to engage in sex, but if MS were to be recording/watching that, then that is no different than you or I filming it, whereas we would be charged with creating kiddie porn, so in reality, MS should be liable for that also.

LUTZIFER said,
Personally I don't really care.
But like I've mentioned before, and I always tell people...
I don't see how that would be legal, for MS to be recording what people are doing.
I would say that would lead or should lead to all sorts of prosecutable offences.
For example, it's not illegal for a young couple to engage in sex, but if MS were to be recording/watching that, then that is no different than you or I filming it, whereas we would be charged with creating kiddie porn, so in reality, MS should be liable for that also.

Which is more reason that MS won't be recording and saving anything unless the device is actively in use for the console.

The fourth amendment to the constitution guarantees the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and is often argued as protecting our right to privacy.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

spike21 said,
The fourth amendment to the constitution guarantees the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and is often argued as protecting our right to privacy.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


You do realize that only relates to the government, right? Meaning a company can do whatever they want. That's why you're able to be searched before going to a sporting event or concert. (of course TSA is a whole other conversation....)

I sort of agree with the points. Esp. the part about microsoft not communicating it well (it's being a disaster so far).

However
1) there's still no need to REQUIRE the thing to be connected to the console. the fact that no console ships WITHOUT kinect should be enough to sway developers into using it more. but for those games that don't use it, people should be able to just unplug it

2) Sure. Verizon, Apple, Google, government agencies. Everyone spies on you. But given how much of a hard time MIcrosoft gives google with their whole scroogled campaign,... are they really in a position to pull the same crap? very hypocritical

Julius Caro said,
1) there's still no need to REQUIRE the thing to be connected to the console. the fact that no console ships WITHOUT kinect should be enough to sway developers into using it more. but for those games that don't use it, people should be able to just unplug it

Microsoft is requiring developers to use Kinect -- they stated apps, but my guess is with the One, it'll be for games too.
http://www.neowin.net/news/all...s-to-require-kinect-support

As Scott McNealy famously said back in 1999: "You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it." Stop fighting the illusion that you do and enjoy the technologies available.
**** you. Privacy exists and it's worth fighting for. I cannot believe what I'm reading here, this is disgusting.

people are honestly stupid, my brother even said "it can spy on you" - I replied with "you know your laptop has a camera too?"

Xbox One Nine Eight Four

But seriously, the thing that bothers me is it's not clear that when you disable the Kinect 2's response to your actions or speech, it doesn't mean that it might not still be recording metrics such as who's in the room when watching a tv show or movie and when, how they feel about each scene, who's playing what game and when, etc etc. Those are valuable metrics, invaluable to producers of those products, it's like focus test data from a vast set of people. And yet they're still charging you for Xbox Live and probably putting ads in your face like on the 360. I would want to be assured that I could completely opt out of any such gatherings of data, and would want a way to be assured that the only time a Kinect 2 is on is when a game requires it, and that it is not gathering and sending any metrics or other such data without my consent. That's all, a very simple opt-in program.

As for the One including it when hardly any games use it, that sucks too.

Edited by Geezy, Jun 15 2013, 5:34pm :

If the big brother wants to spy one you, you think you can stop them? Besides I'm not doing anything wrong, why should I worry.

You have far more control over your laptop and camera than this thing, obvious to even your brother. It's all worth paying attention to and defending. Point is, it's not OK for any company or government to spy on you with or without your knowledge, the nodding dolts with the "I'm not doing anything wrong" are beyond ridiculous. Sad that this happens, sadder that useful idiots actually defend it.

So I guess you always look over your shoulder all the time, because you are afraid they know you are doing something wrong right. Who says you don't have control over your Kinect as well? Did you actually use it yet? Also you have any proof that they spy you from the Kinect? Man, you just talk out of your ass.

Hahaiah said,
You have far more control over your laptop and camera than this thing, obvious to even your brother. It's all worth paying attention to and defending. Point is, it's not OK for any company or government to spy on you with or without your knowledge, the nodding dolts with the "I'm not doing anything wrong" are beyond ridiculous. Sad that this happens, sadder that useful idiots actually defend it.

Jackass, plain and simple. It's people like you that write this **** and excuse it in some lame way that convinces the weak minded and stupid that "everything is fine". I can't tell you how disgusted I am by people like you.

Hahaiah said,
Jackass, plain and simple. It's people like you that write this **** and excuse it in some lame way that convinces the weak minded and stupid that "everything is fine". I can't tell you how disgusted I am by people like you.

I'm not excusing it, I'm simply pointing out that if you're going to complain that MS is spying, you should probably go after the cell phone carriers, cell phone OS makers, and cell phone manufacturer's first, because that's far more invasive than a video game system.

I actually don't really care if im honest, im all for DRM and big brother society as long as its done right and to protect the people of the world.

I wonder how many people would sit in their own homes and talk about plots to kill people and attack people and look for certain things, if this was all recorded action could be taken quicker.

Throwing a spanner in the works: can it be hacked? .. i think i read somewhere it's pretty much a PC.

I remember the days of trojans n stuff that were able to record the victims web cam.

side note: i have no idea what the kinect is actually capable of seeing.

Everything can be hacked. But the Xbox is pretty locked down, so it's hard for someone to get bad software to run on it. I would be a lot more worried if I had an Android phone.

Whats privacy? This is what people will say in 20 years maybe less. Might as well take the word out of the dictionary or change its meaning to "something we had before the year 2000".

This is not as bad as it sounds anyway, You will get a warning of sum sort and can at least still turn console off or unplug Kinect.

I find that the government's being allowed to shut down websites just because a company claims they are getting ripped off by pirates shocking. By doing this the government makes laws along the way allowing them also to take down sites and spy on users of the net and thus taking away our right to privacy.

Hell if the local police wanted to they could have someone outside your house 24/7 staring into your windows logging everything you do.

I have a disabled friend who was reported for fraud they were saying he had a partner (he didn't it was a care worker) anyway because of this "report" that came from someone just ringing up he had the government outside his house spying on him and accusing him of something he was not guilty off. Anyway it got chucked out in court but they still had the "right to check" apparently. (innocent until proven guilty heh; guess not.)

The kinect is nothing on what is already going on.

How many people here believe if one of the governments secret courts ordered Microsoft to turn on the camera and mike of a kinect to spy on someone, Microsoft would refuse to do it?

Wow did you just quote Scott McNealy ???

Seriously ...

I don't think MS will use Kinect to spy on its users. I'm 100% sure MS wont. But if MS would do it it would be wrong. 100% wrong. There's absolutely no sane way to spin this as a good thing.

MS won't, but huge prisms off the fibre lines of their data centers will. It'll even log your damn pulse and be used against you/your family when you seek insurance claims...

Small camera flap and a tiny pink noise machine by the mic should be sufficient to null anything useful.

Anything that requires 365 internet connections a year to continue functioning isn't really yours now, is it? Spying or not, 8 year olds likely don't have much to hide. I'm more concerned when they turn 16 if they'll have a paperweight or if those 300,000 servers will still be functional. I generally adopt a system after its been proven and made cheap, Will this be at all possible with microsofts new system? When their next big system releases will the xbox one die?
The fact that MS can now make the console and your account extinct with the flip of a switch is scary. You don't own anything unless it can verify the license - how long will MS keep that up? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? They'll come a point when they will want to shut everything off and 'kill off' the xbox one. Who thinks they will remove the 24hr online protection then? I sure as hell don't. I've seen XBL accounts seized and destroyed for VERY minor infractions, like using the wrong words in your 'about me' section. Without evidence of stacking or getting paid to level people up your xbox account is terminated without warning and all that DLC vanishes, but those credit card charges don't.

Considering without a live account the console is useless, and EVERY SINGLE GAME is hard locked to that live account - (you would have to relicense your games to switch accounts) thats a huge gamble compared to physical discs that just work for decades to come regardless of internet or account standing. Guess Microsoft not only alienated 60% of the people who would adopt the console (will work in only like 10% of the world at launch) , they also gave a big **** you to those who aren't immediate adopters.

Maybe they should stop charging people for games and charge them for how much of the games they play, like a subscription. Sony PS+ hits this right on the nose and looks to be a better model to me, free games and $10 cheaper a year. Guess we'll find out in a year whos leading and whos lagging.

Edited by srbeen, Jun 15 2013, 2:52pm :

srbeen said,
Anything that requires 365 internet connections a year to continue functioning isn't really yours now, is it? Spying or not, 8 year olds likely don't have much to hide. I'm more concerned when they turn 16 if they'll have a paperweight or if those 300,000 servers will still be functional. I generally adopt a system after its been proven and made cheap, Will this be at all possible with microsofts new system? When their next big system releases will the xbox one die?
The fact that MS can now make the console and your account extinct with the flip of a switch is scary. You don't own anything unless it can verify the license - how long will MS keep that up? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? They'll come a point when they will want to shut everything off and 'kill off' the xbox one. Who thinks they will remove the 24hr online protection then? I sure as hell don't. I've seen XBL accounts seized and destroyed for VERY minor infractions, like using the wrong words in your 'about me' section. Without evidence of stacking or getting paid to level people up your xbox account is terminated without warning and all that DLC vanishes, but those credit card charges don't.

Considering without a live account the console is useless, and EVERY SINGLE GAME is hard locked to that live account - (you would have to relicense your games to switch accounts) thats a huge gamble compared to physical discs that just work for decades to come regardless of internet or account standing. Guess Microsoft not only alienated 60% of the people who would adopt the console (will work in only like 10% of the world at launch) , they also gave a big **** you to those who aren't immediate adopters.

Maybe they should stop charging people for games and charge them for how much of the games they play, like a subscription. Sony PS+ hits this right on the nose and looks to be a better model to me, free games and $10 cheaper a year. Guess we'll find out in a year whos leading and whos lagging.

The minor infractions you indicate usually only result in significant actions if the person is a repeat offender or has made other infractions in the past. If it was a first they will usually just ask that you that change the text and verify it.

This guy had his account for 3 weeks, put up something along the lines of im the best player, but abbreviated it, and when he went to sign in his account was gone citing he used 'against the rules' terminology as he was trying to solicit players to make money from stacking their account. He had 5 friends on his list, and nobody had transferred ANYTHING to him, nor did his xbox sign in with someone elses account.. Im sure he could have sit on the phone for 5 hours and got it resolved - but he was given NO warnings at all. Everything was just gone.

Also playing into the spying theme I found this to be interesting; http://news.yahoo.com/microsof...a-them-first-140237627.html

srbeen said,
This guy had his account for 3 weeks, put up something along the lines of im the best player, but abbreviated it, and when he went to sign in his account was gone citing he used 'against the rules' terminology as he was trying to solicit players to make money from stacking their account. He had 5 friends on his list, and nobody had transferred ANYTHING to him, nor did his xbox sign in with someone elses account.. Im sure he could have sit on the phone for 5 hours and got it resolved - but he was given NO warnings at all. Everything was just gone.

Also playing into the spying theme I found this to be interesting; http://news.yahoo.com/microsof...a-them-first-140237627.html

They do have a dispute process. He could of gone through that unless there was a reason he couldn't (eg past banned accounts).

If you don't want to be "watched" then I suggest you burn all your electronics in a fire and go live in a cave in the mountains. Even then, there are satellites that can find you. Point being that if someone wants to know what you're doing, they can find out.

You can disable the damn thing you know? Also, if you're not confident about that then just place some opaque tape over ALL the sensors so it won't see you in your birthday suit. Also, remember that MS is not Google. Google depends on knowing about you because of their business model. MS doesn't really need to know that stuff since they make real products that people buy.

If MS wants to pay me then I'll gladly provide my paypal info.

No?

Ok.

If the author of this rubbish is so okay with giving up his privacy, maybe he'd in turn not mind disclosing any and all personal data such as finances, medical records and private conversations.

Even if we put aside the fact that IT'S JUST AN EFFING GAMES CONSOLE! and we also forget "YOU CAN TURN THE EFFING THING OFF! What makes you people think you're so special that anyone actual cares about what you do. Seriously you have more chance of the actual CIA/FBI/MI5 knocking on your door with a questionnaire than you do of the Kinect doing anything but being an addition to game-play and remote control of your Xbox, get over it and get over yourselves.

People have such short memories. Was only a year ago that Microsoft was filing patents directly related to gathering information from your room via Kinect for ad targetting and analytics. As soon as I read those stories I knew they'd either physically build Kinect into the next Xbox or make it a required item.

Here's one of them (can't find the other at the moment): http://www.geekwire.com/2012/h...-ads-based-emotional-state/

And yes I do care if it is spying on me. Sure, my smartphone has a camera and microphone. But to my knowledge there are no signs that it ever has or will monitor me, unlike these Kinect patents. Of course owning a patent and using it are two entirely different things. But I don't trust Microsoft anymore than I do any other company.

Fourjays said,
Sure, my smartphone has a camera and microphone. But to my knowledge there are no signs that it ever has or will monitor me, unlike these Kinect patents.

Android phones know your location at all times, and Google uses this information. Shortly after Google Now was released, I woke up one morning and saw a car icon on the top of the phone. Curious, I clicked on it -- and it told me how long it would take to get to my job in current traffic conditions that morning. Thing is, I never told the phone where I worked; Google figured it out based on my previous driving habits. Isn't that spying?

As far as I know, both Google and Apple previously got into a lot of trouble over tracking users locations and it was stopped (have to admit I didn't really pay much attention to smartphone news at the time). If what you are referring to is something new then maybe you should let some journalists or an appropriate governing body know.

My smartphone is a Windows Phone so I'm good, right? (Doubt it.)

I'm not excusing Google and Apple, but I'm not using it to justify Microsoft potentially doing the same either as this article seems to suggest we should. Users have a right to privacy. There is an element of trust involved, which is why the "everything has a camera and microphone therefore privacy doesn't matter anymore" argument falls flat on its face. Users should have a reasonable expectation that hardware will only be used for the features it is intended for.

Given the fuss made on Neowin over Gmail targeting ads based on keywords (which is what AdSense does on any site), I don't get why Neowin users weren't downright outraged at the spying patent Microsoft filed. It was reported here at the time and was quickly forgotten...

Fezmid said,

Android phones know your location at all times, and Google uses this information. Shortly after Google Now was released, I woke up one morning and saw a car icon on the top of the phone. Curious, I clicked on it -- and it told me how long it would take to get to my job in current traffic conditions that morning. Thing is, I never told the phone where I worked; Google figured it out based on my previous driving habits. Isn't that spying?

Yes it is, but I couldn't help it, when I read that the first thing I thought was "wow that's cool".

Fezmid said,

Android phones know your location at all times, and Google uses this information. Shortly after Google Now was released, I woke up one morning and saw a car icon on the top of the phone. Curious, I clicked on it -- and it told me how long it would take to get to my job in current traffic conditions that morning. Thing is, I never told the phone where I worked; Google figured it out based on my previous driving habits. Isn't that spying?

You actually had to drive to your job for google now to then ask if that was your work. I had such a phone when google now was released and it didn't just automatically know. However you can also turn off google now and disable location services. Every app installed also informs you of the permissions it requires from the system.

Typical worthless neowin article. Makes you wonder how much of their user info is shared. This website is loaded with ads, which speaks for itself.

And yes we DO have a right to privacy despite what he is claiming here. Advertising websites will say what is said here to justify them selling your information to others, making bucks off you.

You have control over the settings and if you are extra paranoid masking tape is your friend.

Honestly Kinect is one area MS has done well on in its XB1 launch....the NSA leaks however definitely have people concerned about all things privacy though and rightfully so

Superboy said,
and why should people pay more for the extra kinect when you are going to put masking tape over it

THEN DONT BUY IT!! How hard is this point to comprehend. The kinect is apart of the system microsoft wants to sell, if you don't like it then vote with your wallet like good little consumers and don't buy it.

If you still want an xbox and are paranoid that kinect is the eye of big brother then tape solves your dilemma.

Theres your two options, end of story, asking why you should have to pay for one is redundant.

"end of story", really if that is the end of story then stop posting about the XBone if people want it they are going to buy it and if they don't then they won't. You trying to play-down the concerns of people is not going to make a difference end of story.

The kinect is not spying on you. The only time it sends video/audio to microsoft is when you tell it to. And when the xbox is off the kinect is off. You can disable the audio check so it no longer listens for "xbox on".
And when the xbox is off you can unplug the kinect if you so wish. It's really no different than the current kinect and as the article said, no different than your cell phone, tablet, tv, etc.

Shadowzz said,
When Xbox is 'off' it can be enabled from Kinect, so Kinect is definately listening along even when its 'off'.

No, you can turn that off so it's not listening. So then it really is off.

It amazes me that people only read the threads started on forums instead of the actually reading what MS has put out or at least research a little more to find out information. People are just jumping on band wagons so quickly and blindly at times that its surprising they have a single individual thought anymore.

I don't drink the Kool-Aid from any company but it doesn't mean I don't like Kool-Aid and won't drink a glass from time to time.

I have purchased 1 used game and returned it because the disc was scratched and wouldn't read. Even though Game Stop said it was fine. It was not and they tried to blame me and I told them to take a hike. That was the one and only time I have ever wanted to buy a used game. It was more so because they were out of the new one at the time. Otherwise it would have been a new game for me. The savings was big enough for me and then the scratches were a deterrent. I am sure there are many many games that are in great condition but I usually don't play a lot so the moments that I do buy I buy new.

Kinect 2.0 should be on all the time but as MS has stated that you can control the privacy settings. They are not recording your every more and sending all that 1080p video back to MS BLACK LABS to spy on you. Even if they were could you imagine the data center that would be required to handle that job?

I want to be able to walk in the living room and if it can detect me by my height or some other visual cue that would be cool. If I have the option to turn this on I would. Wave my hand or walk into the room and say "XBOX TV ON" that would be even better. XBOX OFF etc etc.

What is wrong with the very functions people have talked about being cool for years and now it seems to be an invasion of privacy for some? Then don't get it! Period. Simple. End of Story.

You are not forced to purchase the XBOX ONE so don't buy it if you think they are invading your privacy or have cameras that are setting new standards not only in gaming but in facial recognition to better improve your experience.

Some of you are such conspiracy theorists that it scares me.

Just like i personally don't like those webcams in laptops, and never leave my headset constantly plugged in. I personally don't like the idea of people being ABLE to watch me, doesnt matter if they actually do or not.
Its great this philosphy and technology, i would fancy it to not having to use a remote and just hand gestures or voice control for simple tasks such as those you mention.
But why can't it be disconnected, 'disabled' software wise. But it makes no sense it has to be always connected.
Also the 24hour required check-in doesnt help making many people feel more comfortable about it too.

I'm pretty sure MS already said there would be privacy options and clear information on what is being sent in.

Raa said,
Good point - so why is MS forcing Kinect to be connected?

So that developers are guaranteed that everyone who has an XBox One also has a Kinect -- and can develop against it, knowing the entire userbase can use the functionality.

To encourage developers to integrate it into to their games.

You can turn off all the Kinect's functionality through the software.

Fezmid said,

So that developers are guaranteed that everyone who has an XBox One also has a Kinect -- and can develop against it, knowing the entire userbase can use the functionality.

That still doesn't explain why it must be connected at all times. Sure Microsoft can bundle the Kinect and every developer will know you have one, but you shouldn't be forced to connect an 'always on' camera.

ahhell said,
Seriously, why would anyone want to record you in your own home? You aren't special or interesting.

It could be quite valuable if they collect data about people's reactions to eg. TV contents, specially ads.

Microsoft is also running an advertisement business after all, so getting information about your interests not out of your browsing habbits alone but by observing when your are paying attention and when your are not (along with your excitement about the product from the variations in your heart rate) would surely increase the value of their ad targeting offerings to third parties.

Clutching at straws. Just because other companies are doing it doesn't mean people should be OK with it when the Xbox does it too. How did this make the Editorial? Neowin is starting to disappoint me, really.

Also, I don't believe for a second that a multi-billion dollar company is incapable of phrasing and saying exactly how and what they want about a new product.

100% disagree...
Privacy matters. A lot!
Just because everything is interconnected and able to spy our every move, it doesn't mean we should let them do it without a fight.
Privacy is a fundamental need of human nature and it matters, A LOT.

In todays technology, "turn off" doesn't really translate to "stop spying":
1. Top Spying Experts Explain Why You Should Oppose Spying… Even Though You've Done Nothing Wrong http://goo.gl/obENG
2. Cell Phone Spy Software Without Installing the Cell Spy on the Cell Phone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okGXAmHdU2g
3. A ready to use, for you and me spying app http://highstermobile2012.com/
4. Smart TVs hacked and ready to be spied http://goo.gl/PKs54
5. ...next XboxOne
6. ...next is your fridge, oven and the place where you take a ****
7. ...next is an implanted chip in your body, which OF COURSE, AS ALWAYS you'll be able to "TURN OFF"...
Your privacy is a big matter, my friend, and you should not take it so lightly.

zicoz said,
Which is why you can turn off the cam and mic on the Kinect. So what's the problem?

Then what is the point of having the kinect and forcing everyone to pay more for somethong we don't want. Just like microsoft took out the media center in windows 8 or didn't include dvd playback on the xbox acording to them why should every customer pay more instead of only the ones that are going to use it.

Superboy said,

Then what is the point of having the kinect and forcing everyone to pay more for somethong we don't want. Just like microsoft took out the media center in windows 8 or didn't include dvd playback on the xbox acording to them why should every customer pay more instead of only the ones that are going to use it.

Because they want developers to know that everyone actually has a Kinect so they can develop their games with that in mind.

You can turn it off if you don't want it to listen for anything at all (including the Xbox On command).

Then you can turn it back on again when you've turned your Xbox on and intend to use it.

you don't get it. Why should I or anyone else pay more for something that i or we don't want or will use instead of making it cheaper just like when they didn't want to include the blueray on the 360 instead they made the HD-DVD optional and a lot of other examples like when they say why should people pay more for dual or quad core phones when they don't need it, or why should they include native dvd playback in windows 8 they say why make it more expensive for everyone when you can just get a 3rd party player if you do want it, etc........ to infinitude microsoft is full of these examples and now all of the sudden they want to force and make more expensive something that shouldn't be.
And I think I know why: Advertisements, Advertisements, Advertisements, if they can read your pulse they know when you get excited about something. Even when you pay for gold you still get like a gazillion of ads.

zicoz said,
I do get it and I told you, it's so that the developers will know that everyone actually has one.

And in return have less users. Its a decent reason but not good enough for many.

If you don't care about being spied on, because you're doing nothing wrong then you're ok with the state/whoever putting CCTV camera's in your house/bedroom right? After all, you're doing nothing wrong.

If society accepts ever increasing amounts of spying on the basis that "it doesn't matter" then eventually it'll end up like 1984.

Pathetic article.

Apart from anything, you make a bunch of sweeping assertions that just aren't true for a lot of us. I know for a fact that Google and Apple don't know everything about me. I don't use Facebook or Twitter, I don't have Google+ account or indeed a Google account for anything beyond a youtube subscription. I haven't added my real name or phone number to it. Just because some people are willing to flop it all out for companies doesn't mean all of us are.

If you can't trust the US government not to spy illegally (whilst saying they aren't), what makes you think you can trust Microsoft to follow the same ideals?

Also, looking forward to the PRISM API for Kinect Should be a ****ing blast.

articuno1au said,
If you can't trust the US government not to spy illegally (whilst saying they aren't), what makes you think you can trust Microsoft to follow the same ideals?

Mostly because Microsoft has nothing to gain and everything to lose by collecting more information on users than they share. If they abuse the Kinect, they stand to lose billions of dollars. When the government (allegedly) abuses the constitution with PRISM, what do they stand to lose? Nothing.

Fezmid said,

Mostly because Microsoft has nothing to gain and everything to lose by collecting more information on users than they share. If they abuse the Kinect, they stand to lose billions of dollars. When the government (allegedly) abuses the constitution with PRISM, what do they stand to lose? Nothing.

Wasn't that entirely the case with PRISM? The government used the tech companies' existing infrastructure to spy on people and even though they had "nothing to gain and everything to lose", the tech companies went along with it.

How is this different? Because they haven't done it yet?

IgorP said,
Wasn't that entirely the case with PRISM? The government used the tech companies' existing infrastructure to spy on people and even though they had "nothing to gain and everything to lose", the tech companies went along with it.

How is this different? Because they haven't done it yet?


With PRISM, companies were complying with a government order. What other choice did they have? Verizon, for example, wasn't using the information themselves. In this case, sure, the government COULD potentially force MS to spy on people and give them the information they want... But wouldn't it be better for the government to tell Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile/etc (or Google/Apple) to turn on someone's cell phone camera and microphone and snoop that way?

Fezmid said,

With PRISM, companies were complying with a government order. What other choice did they have? Verizon, for example, wasn't using the information themselves. In this case, sure, the government COULD potentially force MS to spy on people and give them the information they want... But wouldn't it be better for the government to tell Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile/etc (or Google/Apple) to turn on someone's cell phone camera and microphone and snoop that way?

Why not have it all?

Also it depends on the situation, there are several instances I can think of where Kinect information would me more valuable than that from a cell phone.

In any case I'm not suggesting that the Xbox One is the ONLY encroachment on privacy, only that we should acknowledge that it is potentially a very dangerous one. I feel attempting to downplay it with "everyone else is already doing it" does nobody any favours.

Fezmid said,

With PRISM, companies were complying with a government order. What other choice did they have? Verizon, for example, wasn't using the information themselves. In this case, sure, the government COULD potentially force MS to spy on people and give them the information they want... But wouldn't it be better for the government to tell Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile/etc (or Google/Apple) to turn on someone's cell phone camera and microphone and snoop that way?

I can disable wifi/data connection. Even completely disconnect from the carrier with the phone on. And still watch a video on it, listen to music or play a game.
I can also pick a phone without a camera and a microphone weak enough to not be able to collect sounds from outside my pants if its in my pocket.
I can not pick a Xbox one without kinect, i can not pick a Xbox one without mandatory logins.

Shadowzz said,

I can disable wifi/data connection. Even completely disconnect from the carrier with the phone on. And still watch a video on it, listen to music or play a game.
I can also pick a phone without a camera and a microphone weak enough to not be able to collect sounds from outside my pants if its in my pocket.
I can not pick a Xbox one without kinect, i can not pick a Xbox one without mandatory logins.

Microsoft has said that you only need to checkin once every 24 hours. So yes, you can still use your Xbox offline, just like you illustrated with your cellphone.

But let's be real here. You don't use your cell phone without WiFi/data. You don't disconnect from the carrier. You don't have a cell phone without a camera.

First of all. How much is Microsoft paying you or Neowin for this puff piece?

Secondly, I would turn this argument around again and say, "If I've done nothing wrong, why can't I have my privacy?" Yes, it matters. Why on earth would people want a surveillance equipment in their living that is always listning? Especially with the recent revelations that the US Goverment is spy on everyone including Europeans. Thar every tech company including MIcrosoft is working with them.

Edited by MindTrickz, Jun 15 2013, 12:10pm :

MindTrickz said,
First of all. How much is Microsoft paying you or Neowin for this puff piece?

Secondly, I would turn this argument around again and say, "If I've done nothing wrong, why can't I have my privacy?" Yes, it matters. Why on earth would people want a surveillance equipment in their living that is always listning? Especially with the recent revelations that the US Goverment is spy on everyone including Europeans. Thar every tech company including MIcrosoft is working with them.

Exactly, how about neowin sends us a copy of all their emails and their internet history, if you aren't doing anything wrong they shouldn't matter, the nsa already has access, what is wrong we me having access to?

MindTrickz said,
First of all. How much is Microsoft paying you or Neowin for this puff piece?

Secondly, I would turn this argument around again and say, "If I've done nothing wrong, why can't I have my privacy?" Yes, it matters. Why on earth would people want a surveillance equipment in their living that is always listning? Especially with the recent revelations that the US Goverment is spy on everyone including Europeans. Thar every tech company including MIcrosoft is working with them.


Why don't you wireshark your router after you buy xbox one and once you find that MS is spying on you, sue them for millions?

MindTrickz said,
First of all. How much is Microsoft paying you or Neowin for this puff piece?

Microsoft doesn't pay us anything for any of our articles... But if they're spying on this article and want to throw some bucks my way for it, they know how to get ahold of me. LOL

You are ABSOLUTELY correct. Christopher White is absolutely ridiculous. There is something very wrong with the world if we have to tell people why privacy matters whether or not they're hiding something.

Edited by MindTrickz, Jun 15 2013, 12:54pm :

Yeah this Kinect bull circulating the internet is some of the stupidest paranoia to come up in a while. I'm sorry folks, if you have a cell phone, you have no right to complain.

siah1214 said,
Yeah this Kinect bull circulating the internet is some of the stupidest paranoia to come up in a while. I'm sorry folks, if you have a cell phone, you have no right to complain.

My cellphone camera isn't aiming the rear facing camera right at me, it isn't measuring my heart rate. Also kinect is not a necessity, they can make the console work like the 360 if they wanted to, clearly they are doing this to spy on us, hence the patent they filed to detect the number of users for when you rent a film.

Firstly you can turn off all the Kinect's functionality through the software.

Secondly, Microsoft are Bundling the Kinect with Xbox One to spy on us. You're paranoid. They are bundling the Kinect with the Xbox One so that developers will be encouraged to integrate their games with it because they know every one will have one.

Jeez, some people are just insane.

torrentthief said,

My cellphone camera isn't aiming the rear facing camera right at me, it isn't measuring my heart rate. Also kinect is not a necessity, they can make the console work like the 360 if they wanted to, clearly they are doing this to spy on us, hence the patent they filed to detect the number of users for when you rent a film.

theres something called front facing camera,which virtually all modern smartphones have in the last few years.

torrentthief said,

My cellphone camera isn't aiming the rear facing camera right at me, it isn't measuring my heart rate. Also kinect is not a necessity, they can make the console work like the 360 if they wanted to, clearly they are doing this to spy on us, hence the patent they filed to detect the number of users for when you rent a film.

They only need a working prototype to file a patent. Many patents go unused. There is no evidence they implemented the patent in the XBox One. They did implement similar technology for player tracking during gameplay but it is to make interaction more seamless. I've seen videos of it working and it is impressive to say the least.

"The old cliché is often mocked though basically true: there's no reason to worry about surveillance if you have nothing to hide. That mindset creates the incentive to be as compliant and inconspicuous as possible: those who think that way decide it's in their best interests to provide authorities with as little reason as possible to care about them. That's accomplished by never stepping out of line. Those willing to live their lives that way will be indifferent to the loss of privacy because they feel that they lose nothing from it. Above all else, that's what a Surveillance State does: it breeds fear of doing anything out of the ordinary by creating a class of meek citizens who know they are being constantly watched."

~ Glenn Greenwald

"A functioning police state needs no police."

~ William S. Burroughs

Vlad Dudau said,
100% agreed!

The difference between your phone and the Xbox one is that its always on and listening to what you are saying. The camera and microphone on your phone aren't always on. (okay maybe there are some phones with custom roms that have this feature, but I'm talking about stock phones that people buy from manufacturers)


Oh, and yes there ARE angry mobs against Google and Apple. Where have you been living? You weren't reading the news the time that Google/Apple got sued for tracking your location by recording the latest cell tower your cellphone came in contact to? And then we have people complaining about Google's ad model right here at Neowin. You make it seem that people are upset at Microsoft because they hate Microsoft but they let the other two giants go.

On a side note, Google agents reading your emails is an invasion of privacy but the Xbox One hearing everything that happens in your house isn't?

Apart from the whole discussion, just an fyi camera and microphone CAN be activated remotely without your permission.

onionjuice said,

The difference between your phone and the Xbox one is that its always on and listening to what you are saying. The camera and microphone on your phone aren't always on. (okay maybe there are some phones with custom roms that have this feature, but I'm talking about stock phones that people buy from manufacturers)


Oh, and yes there ARE angry mobs against Google and Apple. Where have you been living? You weren't reading the news the time that Google/Apple got sued for tracking your location by recording the latest cell tower your cellphone came in contact to? And then we have people complaining about Google's ad model right here at Neowin. You make it seem that people are upset at Microsoft because they hate Microsoft but they let the other two giants go.

On a side note, Google agents reading your emails is an invasion of privacy but the Xbox One hearing everything that happens in your house isn't?

You can turn both the camer and microphone 100% off, so it's no different then a Smartphone in that regard.This is something that really should be stated in the article as well.

I'm also pretty sure that a lot of people have installed apps that can turn on mic/cam on their phones, especially on Android phones.

People fail to realise that there are some at Microsoft who have good intentions, some who do not and some who can only do as they're told. It's obvious a lot of the data Microsoft will collect will not only be used to improve their products and services but will also be collected by the government because they love spying on people. If you think big companies like Microsoft are not in any way influenced by outside forces then you have a lot of researching to do. People within the government have ways of skilfully influencing individuals in a company with their ideas. Anyone who denies this has the consciousness level of a gnat.

Come at me bro.

zicoz said,

You can turn both the camer and microphone 100% off, so it's no different then a Smartphone in that regard.This is something that really should be stated in the article as well.


I did

"Do you own a cell phone? It also has a camera and microphone, and follows you around everywhere."

True that your smartphone camera isn't pointing at you all the time but your phone is on you most of the time and your xbox one will be stuck in your living or bedroom.

As you say the Kinect 2.0 will be used for spying even though Ms said it won't then how do you know that stock smartphones are not always listening to what you're saying? We already know mobile operators monitor our communication.

Kinect 2.0 is not used just for games, it' an integral.part of the XboxOne system, it is used for multitasking, voice commands can be used to switch, resume and close apps, games. This makes up the whole XboxOne experience, besides that including a Kinect with every xboxOne will make sure every xboxOne owner has a Kinect and therefore this will make developers to implement kinect features since every xbox one owner has a Kinect, that's why the xbox one isn't being sold without a Kinect.

onionjuice said,

The difference between your phone and the Xbox one is that its always on and listening to what you are saying. The camera and microphone on your phone aren't always on. (okay maybe there are some phones with custom roms that have this feature, but I'm talking about stock phones that people buy from manufacturers)

Just to put the record straight: any cellular phone is, potentially, a passive microphone can, even when is switched off, listen to what is said. The only way to disable it is to pull out the battery.

Fritzly said,

Just to put the record straight: any cellular phone is, potentially, a passive microphone can, even when is switched off, listen to what is said. The only way to disable it is to pull out the battery.

To prove his point an anti-theft app Cerberus has the ability to have the phone call another number you designate silently so you can snoop in the conversation of whoever took your phone. Now then it is potentially possible for someone to implement that for malicious means as well. Think about it. We live in a technology world.

Everything man has created is a huge double-edge sword. The more good it can do, the more evil it can do. However we won't be able to move forward if we keep being afraid of the evil side. We need to really think of how a product can be used for good.

Kinect can provide amazing interaction into games and other products and as the article states has many of the same kinds of components that many devices we use everyday already has.

I assume that most people have a laptop. Heck I bet if it was bought within the past few years it has a built in webcam and mic. It has already been proven that they can be activated remotely if someone is crafty enough. Why are we not complaining about the laptops too?

Man, I'd agree with people watching at start. But who cares!
If you're that scared, you have something to hide man!
Microsoft might just move to the way steam does things! I knew it gonna happen before neowin even had the article about ms engineer and those voice command might just be like Siri or Google Now!
I'm connected to net when I need it, otherwise I wouldn't reading neowin articles and playing game, or even on facebook!
In the end, this is what all tech will be anyway! You still needs internet to play multiplayer. So I don't care....

Kenny Kanashimi Chu said,
Man, I'd agree with people watching at start. But who cares!
If you're that scared, you have something to hide man!
.

I would suggest you to read a very enlightening book about the concept of government:
"The Republic" by Plato.

Fezmid said,

I did

"Do you own a cell phone? It also has a camera and microphone, and follows you around everywhere."

I meant the part that you can turn off the mic and the cam on the Kinect completely so that it doesn't even listen for "Xbox on".

Kenny Kanashimi Chu said,
Man, I'd agree with people watching at start. But who cares!
If you're that scared, you have something to hide man!

I have nothing to hide, except that which is of no one else's concern: my private life. I wasn't born and I don't live in USA, and I certainly don't want any third party peeping on me, much less a foreign entity. Nobody needs to know if/when I pick my nose, I fart, I burp, I scratch my ass, I have sex or anything like that (yes, I'm putting simple but "gross" things everybody does so it's easier for you to understand).

I'm not scared. It's MY privacy, MINE and no one else's and I'm not willing to give that freedom up just to be able play a stupid video game in a stupid console. I won't purchase an X-Box One unless they change all of that. So you could say I do care man!

ffs. said,
People fail to realise that there are some at Microsoft who have good intentions,

Make no mistake, Microsoft's ONLY intention is their responsibility to their shareholders, profit...pure and simple.

Kenny Kanashimi Chu said,
Man, I'd agree with people watching at start. But who cares!
If you're that scared, you have something to hide man!

The problem with that line of thinking is, true you may having nothing to hide today. But what are you going to do when something in your life or society changes (laws etc) and suddenly you DO have something to hide, but no longer have the ability to?