Microsoft: Kinect won't be used to spy on you, camera can be switched off

Microsoft has moved to dispel claims that the new Kinect's voice and face recognition functions constitute an invasion of privacy, revealing that Kinect can, in fact, be turned off (though not, we're guessing, disconnected) while the console is active.

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Snookies122507d ago (Edited 2507d ago )

Okay, so the camera can be turned off according to this, but it's still listening to you... Which is creepy lol. Doesn't make sense why you can't just unplug the damn thing though.

dirigiblebill2507d ago

Seems like it's listening for one key phrase, "Xbox on".

I highly doubt MS wants to nab and redistribute anybody's personal details, because that would be a f**king stupid thing to do. They'd be sued to hell and back.

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Why o why2507d ago

Better that than no option to off it at all.

gaffyh2507d ago

This is good news imo. I can live with it listening and not watching at all times.

hellvaguy2507d ago

Isnt the webcam on everyone's laptops always on by default? I doubt most people go thru the settings to turn it off. Although I have heard of 1 co-worker that put a piece of duct tape in front of it because he was afraid of the government watching him.

MikeMyers2507d ago

"The system is designed to have Kinect be an integral part of the experience. 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.

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 you have it, you can now put the tin-foil hats away. If people are really that concerned turn the power off on the Xbox One.

bintarok2507d ago (Edited 2507d ago )

We've seen people use cellphones with built-in cameras & mics. People can't even switch 'em off, would they have the same concern about privacy when they're online?

Can big brother still watch/listen people whenever they may be, even when they're watching porn or surfing web on the phones?

You'll never know.

SecondSon2507d ago

@hellvaguy No it's not.
Laptop cameras have a light that turns on when they are activated and that light is hardwired into the camera so it can not be bypassed by any software.

If your Web cams light is on someone Is watching you!

DragonKnight2507d ago

This is just a re-statement of the claim they already made. This isn't new information. As long as the device is still listening, it's still a surveillance device.

I mean...

Microsoft doesn't care about your privacy.

blib2507d ago

No such thing. Sound is being digitized. All sound. It's a spy microphone, and a security risk. Mics and Cameras should not be on the base machine, and customers should have the choice to buy them or not. Kinect needs to be optional, and DRM needs to be removed. We buy it. We own it!

waltercross2507d ago (Edited 2507d ago )

@ hellvaguy

My Wifes cam on her laptop is off, it only comes on when It is activated through skype or some other cam software.

nix2507d ago

it will always be listening. that's pretty much given. on the stand by mode, it will be listening for the word "xbox".

ShabbaRanks2506d ago

Do people here have short term memory or something? Microsoft has been known to spy on consumers in the past lol. Now don’t also forget that you need to scan you’re face to turn the dam thing on in order to access you’re profile. So unless you turn it off after that every time its still a fu**king pain in the ass and that’s why I wont be getting one

evanextreme2506d ago

Then I guess the whole thing that they patented a camera like device to monitor who is watching movies and charge you based on the amount of people in the room is just pure coincidence

JC_Denton2506d ago

I just find it funny that they actually need to clarify this stuff.

GameSpawn2506d ago (Edited 2506d ago )


Actually that light IS controlled by software. It's just wired by default in the drivers to come on, but it can be bypassed. The Cyberlink Dell Webcamera software, for example, that comes just about every Dell laptop has a surveillance mode that turns the camera on and records without the camera light ever coming on. There is also a time lapse capture mode that has an option to disable the camera light.

Any remotely talented software engineer (I use that term very loosely) can write a program (virus, trojan, etc.) to enable the webcamera to record whilst not turning on the camera light.

So people may be paranoid by putting tape over their cameras, but with what I've mentioned you can see how their concerns are justified.

Leio2506d ago


But knowing that i can turn it off, and the fact that i can turn it off without compromising my computer is very satisfying no ?

I spend the money and i deserve that kind of minimum freedom.

Kevin ButIer2506d ago

Come on guys, this "spying" thing is pretty stupid, you should be more worried about all the information you spilled on facebook. If you are worried about "hacking stuff" you should run and cover all your webcams because they also vulnerable

Alcohog2506d ago

Actually that is exactly what their patent says. The privacy agreement with this thing should be a great read.

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OlgerO2507d ago ShowReplies(7)
dark_1012507d ago

Yeah, I'm sure Microsoft will enjoy listening to 12 years old kids trashing taking over Xlive

lilbrat232507d ago (Edited 2507d ago )

Can you imagine if someone ends up hacking the system and can then access anyone's camera? Yeah thanks but no thanks

Campy da Camper2507d ago

That's fine and dandy buy I don't want it connected. Why? Call me paranoid but I know some very computer savvy folks who can easily hack into programs and I don't want some dbag hacking my system and turning on the camera. They would see inside my house and that is very unsettling.

stage882507d ago

NOT good enough, Microsoft.

I don't care if it's just listening now, it's coming nowhere near my house.

Bigpappy2507d ago (Edited 2507d ago )

Oh oh, M$ steps in and dispels another one.

What do we have left the connect to online every 24 hr thing? Hum... was it Phil Harris who said that? Does Sony want him back yet?

The guy below want to know what happens if Kinect breaks, and gets 12 agrees... Who aaare these people? Oh lord help us all!

buynit2507d ago (Edited 2507d ago )

You are scared of that? I can talk to my car and tell it to change the radio station, i can even tell my built in gps where to take me! Talk about spooky.

Ill have you know.... No one, and i mean no one is allowed to conversate in my car. I wouldnt want acura to have a spying advantage on me! /s

Is it just too hard to tape a piece of paper over the lens if you are that scared?

JsonHenry2507d ago

Yeah right. How many times have these companies been caught spying on you when they say they are not? I don't believe it for a second.

FlameBaitGod2506d ago

People have been able to turn other peoples webcams on for years, y would this be any different? If they wanted they could turn it on without having the led on, don't have to be a genius to know this.

ssj272506d ago (Edited 2506d ago )

Come on guys.. that camera will hear and see everything you do or say and I bet it could see trough walls if it can see your heart bit.

It's mandatory it's somethibg wrong and bad behind this.. I will recommend that if you are a hug fan and have to get the xbone please do yourself a favor and unplug the thing and just plug it back when you are going to game.. and don't forget to face it against the wall or floor.

Come on! Why will you wajt to talk to a machine? I already feel non human enough when I text.. will n4g will be fun if you argue with a bot? No it will not.. is very antisocial and weird to talk to a machine, a step towards trans-humanism which is sad.

AngelicIceDiamond2506d ago (Edited 2506d ago )


"Xbox On" Come on lets use our heads a little it has to hear that. Whats creepy about it? Camera's are looking at you all the time at super markets and shopping malls now that's creepy.

A little Kinect sensor waiting on you to tell it to turn on is not creepy whatsoever.

Christopher2506d ago

If it can be turned off, then why does it have to be plugged in at all in order to use your Xbone?

TheSurg2506d ago

Seems to me like you americans are paranoid. You have cameras and microphones in your cellphones, on the street, in laptop, everywhere! I also bet you have facebook account where you post your pictures, full information like how you greet with your friends and so on, list of any people you ever met and talked to, list of your relatives etc. Give me your facebook account and I'll tell where you live, where you study, what time you go out and where you go out, what you like and what not, etc etc and same about everyone else connected to your profile. Now if that didnt made you poop all over your armor right now, then you shouldn't mind a camera in an entertainment system. It's a way to control the hardware, nothing more. You guys will pick just on anything.

Also you should consider not to breathe, I've heard they spray chemicals in those chemitrails that planes leave in the sky, it might kill you!

KwietStorm2506d ago

If you can turn it off, why can't you unplug it?

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M-M2507d ago (Edited 2507d ago )

What if the Kinect 2.0 breaks, or I don't want to use the thing at all? It's good that they allow you to turn it off, but there are still other things to consider.

sashimi2507d ago

kinect breaks, send it in (even though the console should work w/o it)
nonremovable hdd breaks, send it in(after warranty too? lol even with cheaper options out there)

A whole summer of unstable/outage of internet, oh we screwed (happened to me a few summers ago luckily ps3 & psp doesn't require a internet check in)

all this DRM stuff is annoying , intrusive, and useless

Imalwaysright2506d ago

What if it breaks when its no longer under warranty? Would people have to pay €150 for a device they may not want or care about?

ginganinja2507d ago

Don't worry. If the Kinect breaks it sends out a distress call. You'll have a MS employee at the door before you even realise.

waltercross2507d ago

You have to use Kinect, no choice.

ltachiUchiha2507d ago

It will be used to not spy on you but your wife lol. Dirty bastards spying on my wifey. I notice the camera moving every time my wife walk around. Jokes.

Game4life2507d ago

you sir must have a smoking hot wife ;)

hellvaguy2507d ago

You can just get free porn from like 1000's of sites. I really don't see anyone wanting to watch someone like that.

cronaldo72507d ago

xbox one bundle without kinect would be sweat

but * DRM

brewin2507d ago Show