German federal commissioner for privacy protection: "Xbox One is a surveillance device"

Microsoft's new game console Germany's top privacy advocates worried. The Xbox one is a "monitor", Peter Schaar, told SPIEGEL. Users could not control what information would be stored on it.

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Cam9771243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )

Ban it!
Ban it for our privacy, to show manufacturers that they can't get away with this and for the preservation of gaming! My latest submission details why if successful, gaming will die as many manufacturers will copy the limitations brought to the table with the XBONE. The XBONE is a threat to gaming! Ban it for us!

ZodTheRipper1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )

Here in Germany, consumer privacy is an important topic fortunately. Companies like Apple or Google had problems with our government more than once so it was just a matter of time until someone was alerted by the new Kinect.
I don't think that they will ban it but it could make Microsoft change their strategy, at least on this side of the atlantic.

fr0sty1243d ago

Hopefully they do something to apply pressure to Microsoft. Hopefully they can get enough negative press from this to be forced to change their ways, because this direction they are heading is quite disturbing. Not only does their device watch and listen to me, but it sees in night vision and makes a damn 3d model of my living room. Requiring it to always be connected is the dumbest (and scariest) thing Microsoft has ever done.

They're called options. For those who do not have an issue with having a camera always monitoring them, let them enable it. Don't force us all to deal with that crap.

GamingWorldPeace1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )

Wait, if Kinect would be banned in Germany, does that mean the new PS4 eye might be as well? The tech behind it is similar to Kinect. I am just keeping it real and looking at all possible angles and how all this will turn out.

"Sony says the Eye will allow the PS4 to use face login, and the collection of microphones might make voice control possible as well. No word yet if the new camera device will be a PS4 pack in or sold separately"

kneon1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )

It's the fact that Kinect is mandatory that is the issue here. There is no technical reason that it must be connected, it's just that they know most people won't leave it connected if given the option and that would make many of the features useless.

I expect Germany and some other countries could force Microsoft to make Kinect optional.


I haven't seen anything about the PS4 eye being mandatory for the use of the console. If it is then they would face similar issues, unless perhaps if it's inactive when the console is off. Kinect is never off and that's the problem.

GamingWorldPeace1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )

"Kinect is never off and that's the problem"

Why can't it be off? Owners have the option to disable its Wi-Fi connection, turn the power button off, pull the power plug. There are ways around it like even taping a piece of paper over the camera.

I think people are over reacting. MS will get sued if they haven't thought about this in advance. I am sure the camera will just be on standby mode and nothing will be recorded and sent over to the net. It will only awake with a key word like xbox on or something. You people tripping.

MS already confirmed that there is an off mode for the camera.
"It's not the case where you'll be able to remove the camera altogether. But you'll be able to put the system in modes where you can be completely secure about the fact that the camera is off and can't see you."

Shuyin1243d ago

Mal einer, der informiert ist! Like! :D

kneon1243d ago

But they won't let you turn the sound off since that disables the ability to turn on the console on using your voice.

If they do add the ability to completely turn off Kinect then they should allow you to unplug it if you wish.

Blank1243d ago

This is great germany knows whats up and are calling it out here in the US microsoft is good buddies with the government itll take a good court case to try to stop this as opposed to germany whom think more further about these things. I just want all this kinect nonsense to stop in a way that you dont need the kinect to use the console aside the used game fee but thats for another article/thread.

DragonKnight1243d ago

@GamingWorldPeace: You can technically turn it off, but if you do the Xbone won't work. The Xbone will not allow you to do anything without the Kinect 2 being connected and on. That's not an overreaction, that's fact.

Stop trying to spread lies about the PS4. I can't believe you'd support the Xbone's practices. The PS4's camera is optional, as is everything else about it. You can use the camera, or not. You can be online, or not. You can use the share button, or not. All optional.

Tyre1243d ago

@Zod18 The German people are my heroes!

GamingWorldPeace1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )

Yo DragonKnight,

Dawg, why are you calling me a liar when in fact Sony hasn't admitted anything pertaining to the PS4 package. I watched the entire 2 hour reveal and search through various news articles and not once did Sony confirm anything stating the camera is optional. If it is, then it is all good because I don't have a need for it. There are also no news about other details like mandatory install, online pass/fee and etc. All Sony had confirmed thuz far is that the PS4 doesn't require always online connection. If you can find any links that can debunk of what I had said, then I will shut up and apologiez.
Look hommie, I am a Sony fan and I love me some PS4 but I also love me some Cole Train too on xbox so I try to keep an open perspective of things on both sides.

BitbyDeath1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )


"The light-bar doesn’t require the camera to function."

In other words it can be turned off.

kreate1243d ago

I should move to Germany where freedom is protected instead of exploited.

rainslacker1243d ago

Has there ever been an instance where Germany banned something due to consumer privacy? I'd be interested to see the effects of that.

morganfell1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )

Google and 5 seconds. Amazing what you can find:

Pinkdolphin1243d ago

Only ban kinect, ps eye gets a free pass. *rolls eyes*

MysticStrummer1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )

"Why can't it be off? Owners have the option to disable its Wi-Fi connection, turn the power button off, pull the power plug."

Not if they want their One to function they can't.

@Pinkdolphin - PS4 isn't ever required to be online, so I'm not sure what your point is. If it never has to be online, it can't be considered a possible surveillance device.

BattleAxe1242d ago


The nice thing about the PS Eye is that it is completely optional, the PS4 isn't built entirely around the use of this peripheral. In my opinion, Kinect is a complete invasion of privacy, on a scale that I've never seen before. Its going to be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Mrmagnumman3571242d ago (Edited 1242d ago )

@ Frosty, you nearly just described the CCTV screens from 1984, if that isn't a sign to step back, I don't know what is.

Sooner or later we will reach the ((Brave New World) of (1984)), I don't plant to help them reach that vision. TV's are going to start having this same tech within the next few years, and it will be always on. This is getting scary.

r1sh121242d ago

I think the majority of the countries within the EU are well protected by the data protection laws.
We even get very good consumer protection too, I mean look at google glass - they are able to freely be utilised in the states, and have only just come under fire about the privacy concerns.

But within the EU the concerns have been aired since its rumours..
Lets not forget googles main objective is 'to know everything'.
I will say that MS have good data protection policies, but even I can see the mandatory kinect is an obvious way to spy.

+ Show (16) more repliesLast reply 1242d ago
Silly Mammo1243d ago

"Xbone" Hehe that might not be the nickname MS wants to catch on with the public.

braydox211243d ago

hey I have an Xbone to pick with you lol, but yeah their naming of this console is absoulutly terrible.

Pro Racer1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )

Hopefully the German court will win out over MS on this issue and force them to change their always-on and Kinect-required policies for the Xbone.

However as it stands, I think I'll hold off until the Xbox Two announcement and hope they don't make the same mistake twice.

nirwanda1242d ago

Xbone makes it sound like a fossil.

Mike134nl1243d ago

Having cameras in your living room being it kinect and to be honest lets not forget the ps4 eye, definitely could lead to privacy issues.

I am not sure about the legislation in America but I am pretty sure that in Europe private information cannot be gathered,stored(for longer periods of time) or offered to third parties without consent. Also said information is not allowed to be stored on servers outside the EU.

Lets just consider that monitoring people without consent is not legal. Information concerning Reaction rates, learning or emotional states could be useful for developers to fine-tune their games, even in these cases some kind of consent should be given by the player.

ShwankyShpanky1243d ago

"monitoring people without consent is not legal"

Can't wait to see the EULA. Maybe that will finally open some people's eyes.

ginsunuva1243d ago

No, let the XBone come out, then ban it.

nypifisel1243d ago

There's some great things about the EU. Like if a company tries to screw its citizen they'll just ban importing that product. Microsoft have to listen to them or they'll loose a market of half a billion people!

mmj1242d ago

That's true but Xbox 360 has only really been massively popular in the US, perhaps Microsoft are just focusing on the that market as they seem to be going down the police state route (under the guise of the war on terrorism).

Perhaps MS got themselves a lucrative Department of Defense contract to increase their domestic spying ability, money alone will ensure that Xbone is not banned in the US.

TwistedMetal1243d ago

its just sad that xbox fanboys will go down with the xbox one ship. no reason at all to get a xbox one

ps4 has

1. more exclusives
2. more power
3. better multiplatform titles
4. longer life span and will allways be supported the longest.
5. better gaming features
6. more devs like it and support it
7. indie devs.

slapedurmomsace1243d ago

I hope it does get banned, but I can see some governments making an agreement with MS about surveillance in the name of terrorism. And when I say some governments, I mean my government of the good ole' 1984 loving USA

kenshiro1001243d ago

Wow, at this rate, Microsoft will have to deal with lawsuits soon enough.

TheKayle11242d ago

u dotn understand what u r talking this peter schaar...

so u would ban every mobile phone with a read/fron camera and an internet connection and pretty much every ipad3g and notebook etc etc...pls...sht up

+ Show (8) more repliesLast reply 1242d ago
MaideninBlack1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )

"The fact that Microsoft [can] now spy on my living room is merely a twisted nightmare." the commissioner said.

Nyxus1243d ago

Has Microsoft gone completely insane?

fr0sty1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )

What I don't get is that people didn't see this coming. Microsoft has been well known to do this sort of thing in the other areas of their business. look at how they got in trouble with skype after they bought it, for spying on people's conversations. That is why I never supported their Xbox brand. They charge for everything they can, restrict the crap out of everything, and then have the nerve to tell you that you can't even use their products at all unless you let them watch you with a 3D camera and let the device phone home over your net connection at least once per day.

This isn't so much of a shock to me, it's them living up to their character.

KillrateOmega1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )


When I heard how they were planning on applying these devices and technologies, I honestly couldn't say that I was surprised.

The thought of there being an eye in my living room, looking me dead in the face, recording my voice, uploading a map of my living room, and possibly keeping track of my heartbeat, is something that is and should be alarming to everyone, regardless of your console alignment.

To make it worse, Kinect HAS to be connected in order for the One to even function. We're forced to choose between letting Kinect gather its data or not being able to utilize the console that we paid money for.

Gh05t1243d ago

Dont forget this is all for money. Microsoft will record data like your Emotions when you watch movies or tv and will sell that to the studios for profit. Imagine if you had statistical proof through facial recognition whether your big dialogue made people sad or that joke you made really landed with your target audience.

MS is a huge data mining machine from health records (big payer in the digitization of health records), to school statistics on children (why do you think they "donate" all these computers), on millions of computers through Windows plus their partnership with facebook and other social media and now to be in millions of living rooms reading emotions, how many people watched the show, how was their heart rate, and what is their demographic make up. This information can be used from games, tv, movies, and music. It is all about collecting information. If you dont think it is than apparently you haven't done product research and bought this information from companies to do market research.

rainslacker1243d ago

Mining information for movies or TV's isn't as worrisome as if MS would sell that same type of information to politicians or the government. I believe keeping politicians guessing at what their constituents think is much more honest than them manipulating us based on our reactions to a particular speech, although honestly and politics rarely go hand in hand.

Data mining in general is used for broad statistical analysis. Most companies aren't going to care about what specific person's reaction is, unless that one specific person has some major influence on their perception.

braydox211243d ago

SOP ( Sons of the patriots)........... my god its finally happening Kojima was right this is the furture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

im not the only one who shares this theory or is it fact now?

Excalibur1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )

Giving Germany's History they would know, why some people are in such a hurry to be spied upon is beyond me.

IDK, this Kinet always on has so many legal ramifications I'm shocked any company would risk it, it only takes one hack job or bad employee doing something nefarious with it and you instantly have thousands if not millions of potential lawsuits.
Trampling on peoples right to privacy is pretty serious and scandalous business.

As I stated before I absolutely don't understand the need for the Kinet device to always be connected and on for me to play a single player game that has no Kinect abilities.

Why M$, Why? I really want to know why you feel it necessary to force this on me?
I'm sorry the whole thing feels shady at best.

ZodTheRipper1243d ago (Edited 1243d ago )

It's simple, the more Microsoft knows about you the more they can profit from it. The mistake they made was seeing this interaction only from a company-perspective. They thought it's a win-win situation if they know exactly what you like to offer you even more things you might like, but all of this comes at the cost of your privacy and there is no other way around it. If you think about it, Google does this for years now but it's far more subtle. And since they almost have a monopoly position with their search engine (who uses Bing or Yahoo, honestly?) and it's part of our everyday life now people don't have that much alternatives like with the Xbox so they just deal with it.