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Xbox One’s Always On Microphone Causes Privacy Fear

Civil Liberties Australia has voiced their distaste towards Xbox One’s always-connected motion device, Kinect. While Phil Harrison has stated the device will not “snoop” on consumers.

Microsoft confirmed the Xbox One will need the Kinect device connected at all-times to function. The  added always listening microphone attached to the device, has caused many to speculate its potential to gather personal information.

Director at Civil Liberties Australia, Tim Vines, spoke to GamesFIX regarding his thoughts on having a choice to turn off the device.

“People should have the ability to turn off the camera or microphone, even if it limits the functionality of the machine,” said Vines. “Of course, if Microsoft doesn’t allow that (control), then people should vote with their wallets and skip the next Xbox.”

“Microsoft’s new Xbox meets the definition of a surveillance device under some Australian laws, so they need to be upfront and tell customers whether anyone else can intercept their information or remotely access their device,” Vines added.

Adding fuel to the situation, Berlin’s federal data protection commissioner, Peter Schaar, told Spiegel Online his true opinions on the device.

“The fact that Microsoft could potentially spy on my living room is merely a twisted nightmare.”

However in a recent interview with Eurogamer, Microsoft Games Studios Vice President, Phil Harrison, has stated they have “very, very good” privacy policies in place and will not use the device for the companies personal gain.

“We take it very seriously. We aren’t using Kinect to snoop on anybody at all. We listen for the word ‘Xbox on’ and then switch on the machine, but we don’t transmit personal data in any way, shape or form that could be personally identifiable to you, unless you explicitly opt into that.”

There are still many details regarding the Xbox One console that we just don’t know, but the announcement of Microsoft’s next generation console continues to cause controversy.

Source: #1, #2, #3

Jamie Briggs manages Analog Addiction and you can like them on Facebook, follow his daily life on Twitter @JamieAA and his videos on YouTube.


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