Microsoft’s Xbox One has had one hell of a rough week since its reveal last Tuesday. If it’s not discussion on used game DRM it’s the news that the system will need Kinect up and running all the time. It’s there – listening.
Tim Vines, director at Civil Liberties Australia, has spoken to GamesFix (an MSN-owned outlet) that Kinect always listening isn’t nearly as cool as Microsoft want you to believe.
But first: Privacy Breach: Xbox One A Twisted Nightmare is one hell of a headline.
“People should have the ability to turn off the camera or microphone,” he said, “even if it limits the functionality of the machine.” He added that privacy is “all about control”.
“Of course, if Microsoft doesn’t allow that then people should vote with their wallets and skip the next Xbox.”
“Microsoft’s new Xbox meets the definition of a surveillance device under some Australian laws,” he continued, “so they need to be upfront and tell customers whether anyone else can intercept their information or remotely access their device.”
Peter Schaar, Berlin’s federal data protection commissioner, added to this.
“The Xbox One continuously records all sorts of personal information about me. My reaction rates, my learning or emotional states. These are then processed on an external server, and possibly even passed on to third parties.”
Of course, Microsoft aren’t likely to fuel the fires anymore without careful consideration, but clarification’s needed on just what the Kinect is doing with that microphone array whilst it’s waiting for that all important “Xbox On!” command.