Earlier this week, we reported on a story that Microsoft was developing an interactive TV commercial service, based on its Kinect technology, called NUads. The story was based on an article posted by News.com where a Microsoft manager said in a presentation that the NUads system could in theory see and hear, via Kinect, how a TV audience reacts to TV commercials.
In our article we remarked on the fact that this kind of system could generate significant privacy concerns and even posted a statement from a Microsoft spokesperson who said, "Microsoft has a strong track record of implementing some of the best privacy protection measures in the industry. We place great importance on the privacy of our customers' information and the safety of their experiences."
Today Microsoft has sent Neowin another statement that further clarifies its position:
To be clear, the presentation at the PII conference did not announce targeted advertising features. The focus of the presentation was the future of advertising and the potential privacy issues managers at other companies must consider as technologies such as Kinect transform the industry. Microsoft takes the privacy of its consumers very seriously. Internally, Microsoft has strict policies in place that prohibit the collection, storage or use of Kinect data for the purpose of advertising. Unrelated to the conceptual future-state examples presented at the conference, the NUads announcement last year at Cannes addresses a new way consumers may choose to interact and engage with advertising. For example, in the future someone watching a car commercial in their living room could choose to say “Xbox Near Me” and an interactive map of local dealerships selling that particular vehicle could appear. This form of advertising is consumer driven, not based on any data collected about the user and opt-in only. Microsoft and its adverting customers are not collecting or using data obtained via the Kinect.
Microsoft added that the company has "not announced any plans for Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE to use any information captured by Kinect for advertising targeting purposes."