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Microsoft Contractors Listened to Xbox Owners in Their Homes

Multiple contractors working for Microsoft explain how they listened to audio captured by Xbox consoles.

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Motherboard broke the story first https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/43kv4q/microsoft-human-contractors-listened-to-xbox-owners-homes-kinect-cortana
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Jin_Sakai56d ago (Edited 56d ago )

And this is why I never liked the idea of Kinect. The fact Microsoft allowed this to happen disgust me.

Kribwalker56d ago ShowReplies(32)
Lennoxb6356d ago

Anything with a microphone and internet connectivity can be listened in on.

55d ago
Cobra95155d ago

Reminds me of a story. Cop pulls a guy over for speeding. The guy asks "why did you pull ME over when everyone else was doing the same speed?" Cop asks "do you ever go fishing?" Guy says "yeah; so?" Cop answers "do you expect to catch every fish in the pond?"

Microsoft is the fish on this hook. Nothing anyone else does excuses them for it.

FishTank55d ago (Edited 55d ago )

and yet they didn't listen to a word i said when i asked for a bunch of sequels....

DaDrunkenJester55d ago

But they did listen when you tried to command Cortana to talk dirty to you while you fapped.

DillyDilly55d ago

Anything with a speaker likely does this shit FYI

Cobra95155d ago

Kinda hard to turn speakers into microphones when they're fed digitally through external DACs and there are no ADCs in the circuit. So, no; not everything with a speaker can do this.

gamer780455d ago

you had to have allowed diagnostic data on your Kinect for this to have been collected. It was anonymized. Unlike amazon Alexa where they would record it and have humans look at it even if you opted out of diagnostic data.

SPEAKxTHExTRUTH55d ago

You’re a fool if you think the device you typed that comment on doesn’t do the same thing. You want privacy then stay off the grid.

S2Killinit55d ago

Or maybe force congress to keep up with technology advances in order to protect our fundamental right to privacy?

Cobra95155d ago

The device I just typed this on is deaf and blind. It's a desktop PC with no cameras or microphones. The integrated (motherboard) audio is disabled. The speakers are fed through DisplayPort to the monitor's DACs. There are no ADCs to feed digital audio back to the PC.

So again, absolutes fail. No; not every device you type on can do audio or visual surveillance on you.

CH33S355d ago

What's funny is this happened after this: https://www.polygon.com/201...

Forget the spin from the tragics in the comments. This is black and white.
MS could be in trouble here.

gamer780455d ago

no they won't be, you have to have left checked share diagnostic data... if you unchecked it , they didn't have audio to listen to. Also at any time you can clear all or any of your recorded history, same with your web search history etc: https://account.microsoft.c...

CH33S354d ago

Is this a joke? Read the link. MS LIED. They didn't say they wouldn't do this. They (MS) said it was impossible as all files (video and audio) remain local unless you expressly upload them.

The fact they've been caught out and every Xbox account on n4g is here lying to protect them tells you how much trouble they're in. You can't lie to consumers. Links to things that COULD happen aren't the same as MS getting caught actually spying on users. The fact you've linked to options to "turn it off" that were updated since the crime took place speaks volumes.

So don't worry. MS will be fine right? It's not like the EU, Australia, NZ and so many other countries have laws that prohibit this very thing. Here's the law the US wants to introduce: https://www.nytimes.com/201...

You guys are just scrambling for any BS you can post to make this go away. Too good.

ThinkThink55d ago

I hope that you are equally disgusted by sony, amazon, and every mobile phone carrier. If a product has a camera or a microphone.. High level employees at that company have listened in on customers.

DJStotty55d ago

They didnt do it to listen to conversations, as per the article, they listened to the "commands" to improve the voice recognition, and as per article, the kinect wrongly recognised a command.

How do you think companies improve tech? You think Sony didnt do the same thing with Playstation Eye?

NarutoFox53d ago

This is one of the reasons I don't own an Xbox anymore. It's not the major reason though

+ Show (7) more repliesLast reply 53d ago
RacerX55d ago

Sony does it too. It is disgusting, but every device that can "listen", does listen.

bow2yoda55d ago

you all as consumers allowed for this to happen. yall got to get your heads out of the virtual world and back into real life!

fr0sty55d ago

Racer, do you have evidence of this, or are you just saying that because you want it to be true?

Knightofelemia56d ago

So much for the privacy in my own home that just flew out the window.

DaDrunkenJester55d ago

You gotta smart phone? How about a webcam? How about a laptop with a webcam? Windows 10? PS Eye? Smart TV? Just about all of these devices as well as the apps you allow on your phone have something in their ToS that allow them to record, monitor, and sell data. Webcams can be easily hacked into from your computer...

PapaBop55d ago

I've not once seen a story about a smart phone listening in on people in their living room and collecting information this way. Or literally any of those things you have mentioned in fact. Webcams can certainly be hacked but that's a crime so obviously doesn't count.

DaDrunkenJester55d ago

@papa

""Apple, Google, and Facebook suspended their own use of contractors after swelling media coverage around the widespread practice; Amazon said it will let users opt-out."

You don't think Facebook it listening on the phone app? I have had friend requests pop up for someone I literally just met, never even called on my phone or anything.

darthv7255d ago

Papa... maybe you havent read a story but have you experienced a sudden "coincidence" of looking at your phone and seeing something you may have recently spoken aloud about to another person? It happens far more often than you think.

sushimama55d ago

You're a sick damage-controlling pig. This is some of the worst damage-controlling I've ever seen. This isn't some bad game coverage or something, or some moron who doesn't protect their own passwords or something, this is totally different. The fact that you're damage-controlling this is pathetic and disgusting. "Yeah but they do it too, and they have done it over there. Don't touch my microsoft"

DaDrunkenJester55d ago (Edited 55d ago )

@Sushimama

Lol I'm not defending MS, I'm responding to Knightofelemia's comment about privacy in his home and just informing him the unfortunate truth about the smart devices likely all over his house. Whether that's his Kinect, phone, laptop, webcam etc. etc.

I don't think any of these companies should get a pass on this.

SyntheticForm55d ago

They don't want to hear that; it's easier and more fun to just be outraged at Microsoft.

I never liked the idea of Kinect either and never really used it, but I'm an informed person who knows what's going on in this age of hyperconnectivity.

annoyedgamer55d ago

@Papa

Yes your smartphone spies on you, and the data goes to the government. Its a form of lobbying.

sushimama55d ago

I don't use facebook. I don't have a mic connected to my PC.... AT ALL. On my phone I go to 'permissions' and disable the microphone slider for certain apps, and through other ways.... "Google it" you can do it. Fair enough the Government, but I do what I can to stop tech companies from getting info and using it for ad research and shit like that. Even if SOME get through, the fact the MICROSOFT is a part of this is DISGUSTING.

Look I know other companies are doing it, but don't you want to stop it with your gaming consoles? Come one man. It's not ok that Microsoft are doing this, I don't care if other companies are doing this. Keep console gaming out of it.

RacerX55d ago (Edited 55d ago )

Everytime one of you purchases a device that can "listen", you have entered into an agreement with that company that gives them permission to do so.

Is it a bad practice from the company? Yes...
Did YOU agree to allow it? You sure did!

Your precious Sony does it too!

DaDrunkenJester55d ago

@Sushi

Yes I want this to not invade literally any and every device I own... not sure why you think I'm defending this.

Unspoken55d ago

Simply because you haven't seen an article =/= it is not happening without your awareness. Ignorance is bless eh?

The Wood55d ago (Edited 55d ago )

Had black tape over my camera and laptop since forever. My TV doesn't have a camera or mic and I never use voice commands like ok Google or whatever the triggers are. Does that mean I think that I'm not being snooped on. . . No way. . I'm just minimising how much 'they' get. It's visually impossible to stay off the grid fully in modern society.

sushimama55d ago (Edited 55d ago )

@ RacerX

It's the easiest thing in the world to PERMINANTLY disable the microphone from Sony's camera in the settings. So SONY does not do it. AND Sony are not the ones that launched a console with a MANDATORY CAMERA with voice controls, and encouraged people to use it. Saying it's one of their main features. A feature that makes the console stand apart from the competition. DISGUSTING

+ Show (10) more repliesLast reply 55d ago
SierraGuy55d ago

It's pretty bad when Bill Gates himself has a piece of tape over his smart TV camera.

Atom66655d ago

"Alexa, what is the 4th Amendment?"

"Sorry, I couldn't find the answer to your question."

BillyG0AT55d ago

So does you phone, your tv, alexa. Every "smart" product you own can and does do this. Also, your ISP can see everything you do on the internet (providing you don't use a VPN) All that tranny porn?Oh they see it. They probably laugh too.

PapaBop55d ago (Edited 55d ago )

Give me proof of how my isp is listening in on me in my living room please? Or any of those things you mentioned. Obviously I know what you're getting on but this is different, this is the first time I've read about a big company collecting user data via recorded and saved audio clips.

BillyG0AT55d ago

https://www.ispreview.co.uk... - How relevent this bill is today I'm not sure. I didn't say they are listening in on you in your living room, but they can track anything you do online under their services. Also, the new Sky Q boxes in the UK have voice control so they probably can collect voice data

Stanjara55d ago

You are so ignorant it's hard to believe that you live in 2019.
You have examples of this on YouTube. A couple tried it out starting to talk about cats near their phone. And a day later Facebook stared to advertise cat food and all kinds of cat related stuff.

Raise that rock above your head dude.

DaDrunkenJester55d ago

https://www.theguardian.com...

https://www.theverge.com/20...

https://www.cnn.com/2019/08...

Sorry bud... but all the big tech companies are doing it... Welcome to the smart device world. And to clarify, I do not defend or condone this. I think any company that violates their consumers privacy should be fined to hell and it should be illegal unless you explicitly consent to it being okay. It should not be mandatory in their ToS.

Petebloodyonion55d ago

Well, I guess you don't check news often then.
Apple?
https://www.foxbusiness.com...

Amazon? (including partners like Sony)
https://www.foxbusiness.com...

Sony?
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/0...

Sorry, but unfortunately they all do it for the purpose of improving voice recognition (no Ai can do that)

Cobra95155d ago

Actually, he's right about VPNs, PapaBop. Your ISP normally does know everything you're doing, or they could easily find out. If you use a VPN, all they get is a tunnel of encrypted traffic to pass along, in which case all they would know is (1) you're using the service, (2) the bandwidth consumed, and (3) the one IP address all your traffic goes to and from (your VPN server). That's it.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 55d ago
kayoss55d ago

Damn. Now im embarrass. All those loud sex must made them uncomfortable.

rdgneoz355d ago

No need to be embarrass. What you do with your sex doll is your choice. It's their fault if they're uncomfortable with all those loud sex...