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Microsoft attempts to assuage fears over Kinect privacy invasion

As the month of next-generation console releases begins, both Sony and Microsoft are tying up every loose end that they can in order to provide as clear a picture as possible of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A major point of contention for many gamers in regards to the Xbox One has been the lack of clarification about how the Kinect will distribute the information it stores. In order to answer these questions, Microsoft updated its Privacy Statement to shed light on the specifics of the Kinect’s ability to gather information.

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Excalibur996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

You want to rid me of my fears Microsoft? Then ship a Kinect free system and maybe I'll buy one.

amiga-man996d ago

Kinect suits M$ agenda, this is about feeding M$ greed anyone who thinks M$ are forcing Kinect on users for the good of gaming really are blind.

Death996d ago

Kinect is part of the hardware. They included it with every console so it will be used. If you think it is an information gathering device, that is sad for you. If you can't afford a $500 system, maybe wait for a price drop.

As for offering the Xbox One without Kinect so you "maybe" will buy one, save your money. I don't think those of us that pre-ordered a system with it and a 100% attach rate for devs would be happy just so you could think about buying one.

VENOMACR1227996d ago

If you have a fear of the Kinect, just don't plug it in.

Problem solved.

UnHoly_One996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

VENOMACR1227 that makes too much sense for these people to understand.

They aren't getting an Xbox One regardless, they just want to complain about everything. EVERYTHING.

I'm sorry, but if you are so afraid of the Kinect that you don't even want it in your house unplugged and packaged up in a box then I worry for your sanity.

And don't give me this "Well then don't force me to buy it" crap.

It's part of the system. PERIOD.

If you don't like it, don't buy it. But don't give me that crap line that they are "Forcing" it on you. Because they are not.

UltimateMaster996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

Earlier when they announced what kind of data they were collecting, they were honest and straight-forward in their response: "Do not expect any kind of privacy when using the Xbox One."
Even without kinect, they still gather everything you say online with a mic.
And exclusive games "like Ryse SOR" requires the kinect to be plugged in "even if it was supposed to be optional".

And this is just a reassurance for people.
"You don't have to worry about the Xbox Gold Live Network getting hacked and loosing all of your personal information.
We'll take care of that and make sure we sell your private information to anyone willing to pay the amount of $ desired.
They'll know every single detail concerning your private life. You won't have anything much to hide afterwards."

VENOMACR1227996d ago

@unholy_one

You are right. It's just ridiculous that people are actually acting like they are scared MS will watch and listen to them. Like really? It's something for PS fans to complain about. Get over it already. Unplug it, break, sell it on eBay, whatever. Almost everyone has a cell phone, computer, tablet, etc etc. Plenty of ways for other companies to listen and watch you, so the Kinect is no different.

Bring on the disagrees

UltimateMaster996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

When an Xbox One owner uses the Kinect to sign in, the camera “measures distances between key points on your face to create a numeric value that represents only you.”

Therefore the facial recognition.
The FBI and other Government Official uses this in your facial profile to be able to identify you accurately.

@UnHoly_One
You are right.
If you don't like it, don't buy it.

4Sh0w996d ago

No fear, for me. I'm also not afraid of my cell phone either. I owned the original Kinect, can't wait to try out all the new bells and whistles with the new Kinect 2.

rainslacker996d ago

Wow...all these people who apparently know that MS will never remove it from the system is rather funny. "It's part of the system...PERIOD! Don't like it, don't buy it". Yeah ok, for now I guess.

You guys act like you are MS spokespeople. If sales are sluggish and MS needs to make a drastic price cut to compete, what do you think the first thing to go will be?

You think MS doesn't want the money from people with privacy concerns?

+ Show (6) more repliesLast reply 996d ago
mewhy32996d ago

That's how I feel too. Ship a Kinect free system for 50.00 less than PS4 and I might get one.

BX81996d ago

Sounds about right. I think a kinect less xbox would be around $350.

xHeavYx996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

Kinect is heavily integrated with the vision they offer, they'll lower the price before releasing a bundle without Kinect.
@Below Not saying that their vision is good or bad, just stating a fact

Excalibur996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

@xHeavYx

Exactly and their vision is to invade my privacy and target ads towards me, no thanks.

@Neonridr

Microsoft has already said they will use the facial recognition in Kinect 2.0 to gauge your reaction to ads and such,they have filed patents to scan your livingroom to see how many people are sitting on your couch to charge for movies and such, what more proof do you need?

SilentNegotiator996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

A vision that most gamers don't care about.

They should have focused on delivering to their customers, not advertising partners.

jgrigs09996d ago

Maybe they should throw in a tinfoil hat while they are at it

Death996d ago

Microsoft holds a record on the amount of patents they own. They do not patent for the sole purpose of using them, they aquire them so other companies do not use the patented ideas against them. Look at how the rumble patent suit went. Immersion held a patent on how rumble functioned in a controller. Microsoft settled with Immersion purchasing 10% of the company in the process. Sony fought and fought ultimately losing to Immersion. As a result, a percentage of the 90 million court settlement went to Microsoft. Patents are used in many ways. It's never as simple as patenting an idea with the goal of implementing it. More and more it is a defensive strategy to keep other companies from going after your profit margins.

Biggest996d ago

They'd over-charge for the tin foil hat as well, jgrigs09. No thanks!

rainslacker996d ago

They won't lower the price if it means losing too much money. There has to be a breaking point that investors will put up with, and right now the division that houses Xbox is under scrutiny for not performing as well. That division is not being endless funds to take a huge loss.

If MS needs to do a price cut soon(say the first year), the Kinect will be the most obvious thing to go. The hardware inside isn't likely to come down that much in that time, and even if it did, they'd still be sitting on consoles that are already manufactured at a more expensive cost.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 996d ago
Deividas996d ago

Exactly the same here. You want more people to buy your product? Give them options, dont try to force something on to people, when its clear that they dont want it. MS listens to the gamers my ass.

MasterCornholio996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

That makes sense because you don't need the camera to operate the system so i don't see why Microsoft doesn't create an SKU without one.

P.S I dont believe in Micro spying on people with the camera but i dont think its a necessary accessory.

MasterCornholio996d ago

Dang it i mean unnecessary accessory.

Thisisjuju996d ago

This, but with £100 knocked off the price also.

lawgone996d ago

@amiga-man...Your immature comment is the epitome of the negative aspects of gaming culture.

amiga-man996d ago

Lawgone what are you on about?

KRUSSIDULL996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

Buying a Xbox One without the Kinect is like buying the Wii U without the tablet.

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 996d ago
Neonridr996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

Anyone who thinks that Microsoft would watch/record you must realize that they have more important things to do with their time than watch you playing a videogame in your underwear, lol..

EDIT - I clearly forgot the /s at the end of my comment, lol

It was a bad joke, I agree...

Deividas996d ago

Clearly missing the point.

SilentNegotiator996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

That's what fanboy trolls do; when they aren't downplaying an issue, they're distracting from one by making the point seem like something it isn't.

Politicians do it all of the time; take a legitimate concern and make it seem like the point is something else. Want to change the healthcare system? "Socialism!" Want to cut spending on self-sufficient programs? "Trying to kill Big Bird!"

Edit: (uh oh! People are pointing out the flaws in my argument! I'll just do what I do best; pretend that the point is something it wasn't. Like umm...) Uhhh...umm, it was just a joke, guys! Yeah! LLOLOLOLOLLLLOLOLOL Get it?

Neonridr996d ago

lol, there was no point. It was simply a joke. I am sure there are more important things to report on in the world of gaming. Do you worry about what google does with the data it records from what websites you frequently visit? Youtube even asks you if you liked the ad it showed you before the clip you are trying to watch, so it can gather data and further provide you with more appropriate content.

lawgone996d ago

@Deividas...clearly missing a sense of humor.

@SilentNegotiator...his joke is poking fun at those that think MS has a secret agenda of watching and listening to us. Fact of the matter is, we're not that interesting! Oh no, wait, maybe they're in bed with the NSA and the NSA is hoping that terrorists are really into gaming and will buy XB1's and they'll be able to spy on them! Yeah, that's it! Give it a rest.

Neonridr996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

@Silent - I owned a 360 and a Wii last gen and currently own a Wii U. Explain to me what I am a fanboy of based on my original post?

The fact that you saw beyond my blatant poke in the name of fun and took it as something else leads me to believe that you might have other things to worry about.

Take the tinfoil hat off my friend, let's play some games!

Death996d ago

I'm sure the list of terrorist that only buy American is pretty short. If the NSA is looking for terrorist through Kinect, they are definately on the wrong platform.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 996d ago
SilentNegotiator996d ago

They were the first company to hop on the lap of the NSA and they've made it a point in the TOS to allow them to share whatever they please with other parties.

This isn't about Bill Gates masturbating to you in your underwear; it's about the NSA and advertisers having easy, creepy information.

lawgone996d ago

"It's about the NSA and advertisers having easy, creepy information."

Let's think about this statement, shall we? There are two groups you say would use information that could hypothetically be caught by the Kinect...advertisers and the NSA...so I'll address both.

Advertisers: It is highly unlikely that advertisers would use anything from the Kinnect to deploy targeted ads. Firstly, it would require extremely sophisticated and expensive technology to use random conversations and make targeted ads out of that. It would have to be always on and able to decipher something meaningful out of it. Secondly, how often do you sit in front of your TV talking to someone about anything that could lead to an ad? Thirdly, even if you did say something like, "I need a new car " and they picked that up, once you started seeing car ads on your home screen for your XB1 it would be so readily apparent what happened that people would KNOW they are being listened to.

NSA: I can't believe I even have to explain this one but I guess I do. The NSA collects data from sources that can lead to actionable intelligence. Do you really think the target market for the XB1 is likely to produce that? Or do you think XB1 is really popular amongst terrorists? The NSA is not looking at gamers. That is pure paranoia. Either that or you just hate XB1 so much you'll latch on to anything negative and run with it.

Thehyph996d ago

Obviously, if one had something to hide, then one wouldn't buy this device. That's not the problem with the NSA bit. The problem there is collecting and centralizing information about the masses, and the complex moral and legal issues of doing so.

The best thing to do is educate yourself on this topic, and do what suits your own preference.

Truthfully, I don't think the advertising part matters much to most people. Most users on n4g seem to spend a lot of time debating which new possession to buy.

SilentNegotiator996d ago

So much ignorance. I could puke.

"Advertisers: It is highly unlikely that advertisers would use anything from the Kinnect to deploy targeted ads"

Body shape, gender, etc.

"NSA: I can't believe I even have to explain this one but I guess I do. The NSA collects data from sources that can lead to actionable intelligence. Do you really think the target market for the XB1 is likely to produce that?"

Skype has already been tapped thanks to Microsoft being the first company to warm up to the NSA. Furthermore, NSA has tapped more stupid sources than XBL. Also, drug dealers have been caught on XBL before; what makes you think that they wouldn't be worried about international drug dealers?

"Obviously, if one had something to hide, then one wouldn't buy this device"

Right, because no one innocent has ever been harassed by the government due to false allegations. It's only about the truly guilty. God bless the Patriot Act. /sarcasm

Death996d ago

Microsoft the first to "jump in bed" with the NSA? http://news.cnet.com/8301-1...

Oddly I didn't see Sony's name on that.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/th...

rainslacker996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

"Firstly, it would require extremely sophisticated and expensive technology to use random conversations and make targeted ads out of that"

Funnily enuogh, that technology does exist, and the NSA uses it to monitor phone calls and explore people's emails.

That software was made by a public sector company, and it's available to the advertisers. All they have to do is change the key words they're looking for. Instead of listening for "Bomb", they listen for "Doritos", and then deploy a ad featuring Geoff Keihley.

Now I know the above is a nightmare scenario that no one in their right mind wants to have to go through, but yeah, the technology has existed for a very long time.

Now...where would MS have such a powerful set of computers to be able to decipher this info in real time? Could it be the power of the cloud? You think MS insistance on DRM was for the developer's or our benefit? No. It was to directly profit off of advertisers. MS is a company who charged millions of dollars for a single Dashboard ad. DRM transfer fees that controlled resale are a pittance compared to that.

Here are some links for you to consider

http://adage.com/article/di...

This second one is directly from MS while using skype voice chat.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/m...

Oh? MS is already doing this? Hmmm...yeah why would advertisers pay MS money for that?

Doesn't seem so far fetched now does it?

And one more from Verizon

http://www.redicecreations....

What's sad is this is just from the first page of a Google search. I didn't feel it necessary to go on as it's rather sad, and the people I'm making this point to think it's OK because they're so into the X1. Stupid console wars.

Thehyph995d ago (Edited 995d ago )

You partial quoted me, and you did it opposing the context I was making.

My point in that statement was to disregard excuses of "I don't have anything to hide."

While I certainly don't agree with Kinect or the policies that can make use of it, I'm not going to use a gaming news site as a soapbox for the issue. Surely, there are better venues.

I'd rather argue about gaming, not politics. I completely understand that this is a very, VERY serious issue to some. Just as some may believe that everything else may serve as a distraction from what Kinect is really doing, I believe that political issues like this are a distraction from larger problems. (Albeit, not intentional)
If this issue were somehow about systemic world dependence on a secretive, but openly authoritarian China, then I would be on the soapbox, too.
Everyone has their own stances. What is my stance on this issue? The hour is getting late.
The possibility of the United States government collecting a database on every thing or person that it can should have been debated before the Patriot Act, hell, before the internet existed. Pre-Patriot Act this stuff was legal. The government was allowed to collect data on just about anything. A court order was only needed to view the collected data. The internet made it easier and cheaper to collect this data, and then the Patriot Act helped remove the red tape.

But, of course, everything is subjective, and your mileage may certainly vary.

And just to be completely open about it:
There will NEVER be a Kinect device in my home.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 995d ago
chito1016d996d ago

Watch you do that and a fruitoftheloom ad pops up on your home screen lol.

DeadRabbits996d ago

Its the NSA/US Government not M$ we Europeans are worried about!

GrandTheftZamboni996d ago

I guess that means Angela Merkel is not buying xbox.

GarrusVakarian996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

Watching us means making money off of us by seeing what we like/dislike, if you think MS has anything more important to do than make money then you are dead wrong.

Not saying they would actually look at you and watch what you are doing but it wouldn't surprise me.

MegaRay996d ago

Better things to do? Like paying 3rd-party for timed exclusives? Nah I bet they want to watch you playing especially if you're a hottie ^^

Pogmathoin996d ago

Silent negotiator, I am happy to have you, as a non fanboy to point out facts from me. You are the picture of a perfect gamer... I think the big issue really, is that MS came forward and said it... the other big guys have said nothing... and I believe they do it too.... all of these guys want profit... only a fool would believe otherwise... Sony too has lost a share of many markets they were in.... you think they are not collecting data, studying your habits??

+ Show (4) more repliesLast reply 995d ago
ukchi3f996d ago

Scaremongering as usual, as someone else said are MS really going to watch you playing COD swearing and cursing in your underwear NO.
Accept technology has moved on and in the future good things can come of this, 10 years ago touch p-hones buttons were too small and they were all going to scan your fingerprint and kill you 5 minutes later but we all brought smartphones

Grimhammer00996d ago

It's the very hieght of insult and deception - release bs about how Kinect on xbone can be turned off NOW...or, trust them that they won't be sharing metadata....

Except now they release updated ToS to force a opt-out feature to Kinect's data collection.

Now, make no mistake. They say your data won't be used if you opt-out....they didn't say it wouldn't be collected!

2 red flags here. 1) they can change ToS again later...digging up opt-out data later for metrics, sell to corps or whatever.

2) they know its virtually impossible to verify that they used opt-out metadata. It's so hidden...anonymous to all but MS, that you could never prove your data was used!

Either way. MS has soooo many negatives that its factually naive to own this xbone unless you are not concerned with privacy issues. Which I'd argue makes you naive and ignorant.

It's important to realize the overall effect complying to this sort of data collection has on privacy as years pass us by. Things will get far worse...and it's because people won't care or won't understand what it why MS is doing with Kindct 2.0.

rainslacker996d ago

Didn't they say it wouldn't be shared with partners? Doesn't mean MS can't use it for their own purposes, or handle the way ads are targeted so it stays all in house.

Lawyer talk is tricky, specific wordings change the entire context, and can often be deceptive to the layman since most people don't take things literally by nature, however law is quite literally literal.

XboxFun996d ago

I wonder if any families, gamers or anyone who used Kinect 1 for the Xbox 360 has had any problems with the government, NSA or AI terminators sent back from the future when Kinect is in use.

Because I haven't read one story where it has.

SilentNegotiator996d ago (Edited 996d ago )

Skype was tapped. Skype is an advertised feature on Xbox. Skype is owned by Microsoft. Microsoft was the first company to accept the NSA's invasion.

There ya go.

edit: The precedence is there no matter how you dress it to attempt to make it irrelevant.

XboxFun996d ago

I wonder if any families, gamers or anyone who used "KINECT 1" for the Xbox 360 has had any problems with the government, NSA or AI terminators sent back from the future when "KINECT 1" is in use.

Because I haven't read one story about KINECT where it has. Because there seems to be a lot of fear about KINECT 2 being used to spy on people as the article points out about KINECT.

TRD4L1fe996d ago

wait you're telling me the NSA didnt tap into your kinect while playing dance central!?!?!?!?!?

Hicken996d ago

Well, since PRISM and the like wasn't around then, and since the first Kinect didn't collect the same types of data, why would they have?

None of these questions or concerns were raised on 360 because Microsoft didn't take the same actions on 360. It wasn't designed with online being compulsory, with Kinect being mandatory. It wasn't being released in the shadow of Skype spying and NSA backdoor key-giving.

So, no, I don't imagine any families, gamers, or anyone who used Kinect 1 for Xbox 360 has had any problems with the government, NSA or AI terminators sent back from the future when Kinect in use. Well, not due to Kinect, anyway.