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Submitted by Excalibur 831d ago | news

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. (Xbox 360, Xbox One)

Excalibur  +   831d ago | Well said
You want to rid me of my fears Microsoft? Then ship a Kinect free system and maybe I'll buy one.
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allformats  +   831d ago
Well said, Excalibur.
amiga-man  +   831d 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.
Death  +   831d 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.
VENOMACR1227  +   831d ago
If you have a fear of the Kinect, just don't plug it in.

Problem solved.
UnHoly_One  +   831d 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.
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UltimateMaster  +   831d 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."
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VENOMACR1227  +   831d ago

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
UltimateMaster  +   831d 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.

You are right.
If you don't like it, don't buy it.
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4Sh0w  +   831d 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.
rainslacker  +   831d 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?
mewhy32  +   831d ago
That's how I feel too. Ship a Kinect free system for 50.00 less than PS4 and I might get one.
BX81  +   831d ago
Sounds about right. I think a kinect less xbox would be around $350.
xHeavYx  +   831d 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
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Excalibur  +   831d ago

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


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?
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SilentNegotiator  +   831d ago
A vision that most gamers don't care about.

They should have focused on delivering to their customers, not advertising partners.
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jgrigs09  +   831d ago
Maybe they should throw in a tinfoil hat while they are at it
Death  +   831d 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.
Biggest  +   831d ago
They'd over-charge for the tin foil hat as well, jgrigs09. No thanks!
rainslacker  +   831d 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.
Deividas  +   831d 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.
MasterCornholio  +   831d 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.
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MasterCornholio  +   831d ago
Dang it i mean unnecessary accessory.
Thisisjuju  +   831d ago
This, but with £100 knocked off the price also.
lawgone  +   831d ago
@amiga-man...Your immature comment is the epitome of the negative aspects of gaming culture.
amiga-man  +   831d ago
Lawgone what are you on about?
KRUSSIDULL  +   831d ago
Buying a Xbox One without the Kinect is like buying the Wii U without the tablet.
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Neonridr  +   831d 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...
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Deividas  +   831d ago
Clearly missing the point.
SilentNegotiator  +   831d 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?
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Neonridr  +   831d 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.
lawgone  +   831d 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.
Neonridr  +   831d 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!
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Death  +   831d 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.
SilentNegotiator  +   831d 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.
lawgone  +   831d 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 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.
Thehyph  +   831d 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.
SilentNegotiator  +   831d 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
Death  +   831d ago
Microsoft the first to "jump in bed" with the NSA?

Oddly I didn't see Sony's name on that.
rainslacker  +   831d 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

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

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


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.
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Thehyph  +   830d 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.
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chito1016d  +   831d ago
Watch you do that and a fruitoftheloom ad pops up on your home screen lol.
DeadRabbits  +   831d ago
Its the NSA/US Government not M$ we Europeans are worried about!
GrandTheftZamboni  +   831d ago
I guess that means Angela Merkel is not buying xbox.
GarrusVakarian  +   831d 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.
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MegaRay  +   831d 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 ^^
Pogmathoin  +   831d 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??
ukchi3f  +   831d 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
Grimhammer00  +   831d 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.
rainslacker  +   831d 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.
XboxFun  +   831d 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.
SilentNegotiator  +   831d 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.
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XboxFun  +   831d 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.
TRD4L1fe  +   831d ago
wait you're telling me the NSA didnt tap into your kinect while playing dance central!?!?!?!?!?
Hicken  +   831d 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.
dansdooz  +   831d ago
f@£k the kinect they should be calming fears over the resolution! 720p arrgghhhhhhh!
TRD4L1fe  +   831d ago
sorry but when im balls deep in a game i dont stand back and say "wow this 720p game is disgusting" im too busy Fing SH!T up to worry about resolution
steve30x  +   831d ago
I'm more concerned over the fact that the terms of service for Xbox live says I have to share my personal details with the advertisers.
boeso  +   831d ago
They should pay us to have that in our homes. FUCK THAT
Grimhammer00  +   831d ago
Ok. Since you fanbots are delusional. I'll spell it out for you.

MS makes it easy by cresting backdoored for Skype, messenger, email etc.

NSA are using sophisticated software to convert all data (audio & video) to txt. Which is then compiled on NSA servers for the grand protection of the US and its interests.

But guess what? NSA are employing human beings to analyse this data. Certainly some of this is done by software algorithms, but also by people.
These humans are like you and me. They have motives, stressors, influences and false information at times ....all factors in thier behaviour day in and day out.

Some NSA individuals analyzing the data were caught using this tech to check on there wives/husbands. It's in court documents.

That's abusing the mandate of the program. And illustrates poor judgement.

Do you know how easy it is to manipulate metadata on say email? I do. It's very easy to take a email and make it appear as if it was typed on a different date. And further - create bogus email and plant it. Provided you had the level if access MS has provided NSA.

So ...perhaps your daily wank off to DOA5 isn't important to MS. But the tech & policies you support furthers the ends of individuals morally corrupt enough to abuse the systems you believe don't care about your lowly activities.

This is why xbots make me angry. Not because they are ignorant or foolish. But because they are unwilling to see the dangers they will help develop as time progress the privacy concerns of individuals the world over.

They just want their Halo and Forza.
lawgone  +   831d ago
I certainly hope you don't have a cell phone if you are worried about all of this. You do realize code can be run to keep the mic on your phone at all times so that people can listen in to your conversations, right? But guess what, it is extremely unlikely to happen to you so you use your cell phone.
Neonridr  +   831d ago
But yet you use your cell phone daily and don't care about what is being done on the back channels there.

You have such a stance against your game console doing any sort of data collecting, meanwhile all your phone conversations are being monitored and filtered by your government to identify trigger words in relation to national security.

Can't have your cake and eat it to...
ExDexteraDomini  +   831d ago
Your privacy has already been invaded, so quit your moaning. The difference in surveillance with Kinect and without it is minuscule compared to the sum of all the other ways you're already being watched.
Darrius Cole  +   831d ago
The Great Eye of Richmond is always watching.

I'm just joking. Microsoft wouldn't use Kinect to record you, and the USA doesn't spy on anyone.
Mexxan  +   831d ago
If I'm knocking one out, Billy Gates could be watching me doing that - while HE's knocking one out too! Aaaaannnd so on and so on.........

I've cracked it. THE real reason Kinect is a mandatory pack-in.
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lawgone  +   831d ago
Clearly, no one here has ever performed a risk analysis. If they did, they would stop worrying about the *potential* for entities to use the Kinect for surveillance. Wanna do quick one for fun? OK, 5 point scale with 1 being low risk and 5 being extreme, catastrophic risk. We'll score different variables and then total it up to see what decision we should make.

IMPACT - If the worst were to happen, what would the effect be on YOU? Well, unless you're a terrorist or major criminal with a penchant for gaming, it's fairly low. Score: 2
LIKELIHOOD - The likelihood that MS would spy on us and give data to advertisers or the government. Personally, I'd score this a one but as a concession to others fears and recent events with the NSA, I'll raise it up a little for the tin foil crowd. Score: 3

So, we get a risk score of 2.5 which is low-moderate. Hmm, that's a little high for my comfort. Is there a way to alleviate the risk? Yes! Let's incorporate a control!

CONTROL: Unplug Kinect or cover it. Score 2

That leaves us with a RESIDUAL RISK of 0.5, i.e., trivial. And that was assuming a moderate likelihood it could happen.
Excalibur  +   831d ago
I love the argument that Microsoft isn't forcing you to buy it or just don't plug it in, ya know what? you are absolutely right BUT do you go through life spending extra money on things you don't need or want?

What Microsoft is doing is taking away my options as a consumer, it's the same thing if you went to buy a new car and the dealer said you will pay an extra thousand dollars for a color you don't want, take it or leave it or if you went to a restaurant and there was only one dish they served and it came with a bunch of vegetables you didn't like, oh and BTW you have to pay extra for those vegetable because they are out of season, take it or leave it.

None of us as consumers would put up with that if those weren't the color we wanted or the vegetables we liked.

Sure we could NOT buy it but we would really like to BUT we want to buy it on OUR terms as the consumer and not your terms as the seller.

How hard is that to understand?

I also don't get the fact that some of you folks are so willing to run members of your community off in saying "well just don't buy it", you realize if we "just don't buy it" that means less in your community to play online or co-op games with right?
Less in your community to show first party developers support and so on right?
The more of us you run off because you want to take away our choices just might kill your precious gaming platform so you might want to think about that before you are so quick to dismiss us.
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Dehnus  +   831d ago
Erm Dishes often come with the vegetables of the day, as do cars with certain features that the car maker things is part of their brand (Ford for instance and their intergration of smart devices).

So will yo also cry to Ford that they should remove the whole center console as you do not wish their "Spy Smart devices in your car! OH AND MAKE IT 35% cheaper too, as my Internet buddies told me that that is how much that center console costs!".

No you buy another brand and you deal with it! The choice is in other brands, and that is something that is HARD to understand for you. MS is not holdinga gun to your head to buy the XBox One.
Grimhammer00  +   831d ago
For those that care.
I actually rarely use my cell. I do use my tablet for txt.

The difference is - it is an utterly impossible jack to squeeze back in the box. Cells, tablets are too ingrained and the tech is not understood. I try to inform where/when possible.

This Kinect 2.0 has 2 major issues. 1) it's owned & operated by one of the most vile privacy breakers in the entirety of big buisness. 2) it captures video at a detail impossibly imagined by Orwell!

What if that bong your using has the shape and silhouette of a known explosive device? You think that that won't trigger the software MS has generously provided the NSA?

Conspiracy theory, tinfoil hat crap maybe? But why even take the chance? For a game or 3?

Maybe you need to understand that this applies to Sony. This applies to Ninny. If they were discovered to be pulling this crap too.....I'd be sorely pressed. Gaming vs my ethics.

Good thing I don't have to make that choice. And neither do you.

Take a stand. A stand that we can win. The Cellphone and tablet, social media....all have shipped past the chance to really make a change.

Xbone isn't established yet. We still can make a difference.
JediDiah  +   831d ago
Ditch the Kinect and free up that little GPU and all will be time. :)

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