NEWS - Wednesday, May 29, 2013

MS attempts to calm Xbox One privacy concerns


Microsoft has attempted to calm consumers worried about the privacy implications of the always-connected nature of the Xbox One and its motion sensing camera peripheral Kinect.

The Xbox One requires the Kinect peripheral attached in order to function, alongside a connection to the Internet. Speaking to Kotaku, a Microsoft representative said that the machine "is not always watching or always listening."

Questions about the privacy of Xbox One owners have been asked following the unveiling of the device last week, with Germany’s federal data protection commissioner Peter Schaar today likening the next-generation console to a "monitoring device."

The Xbox One can be completely switched off, the representative confirmed. "Yes, you can turn the system completely off," the Microsoft representative said, "This would use no power and turn everything off. We’ll share more details about how it all works later." By default the Xbox One will suspend to a low-power state and listen out for applicable voice commands from users.

In an effort to reduce fears that the motion sensor will spy on its users, Microsoft assured that it would ship the Xbox One with various customisable privacy settings for users. "We are designing the new Kinect with simple, easy methods to customize privacy settings, provide clear notifications and meaningful privacy choices for how data will be used, stored, and shared," said Microsoft.

"We know our customers want and expect strong privacy protections to be built into our products, devices, and services," continued Microsoft, "and for companies to be responsible stewards of their data. Microsoft has more than ten years of experience making privacy a top priority. Kinect for Xbox 360 was designed and built with strong privacy protections in place and the new Kinect will continue this commitment."

Microsoft is not prepared to go into specifics on the Xbox One’s privacy settings at present, however. "We’ll share more details later," concluded Microsoft.



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