NEWS - Friday, June 21, 2013

Xbox One Kinect may face legal hurdles

Amid the controversies surrounding Xbox One’s policies, one that has gotten slightly less attention are the privacy concerns regarding the new Kinect. If a newly proposed privacy bill becomes law, though, Microsoft may have to significantly change how you interact with the device.

Polygon reports that the "We Are Watching You Act," proposed by Congressmen Michael Cupuano (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC), would require an explicit request every time a company wants to store a user’s data, and identical service for those who refuse permission. Finally, the device would have to inform the user how the data is collected and who will see it.

Microsoft has previously assured users that the Kinect won’t be recording or uploading information, which could let it dodge the implications of this law entirely. If the device is sending data to Microsoft, though, that would mean you would have to agree to an on-screen prompt every time you turn the console on. If you refused to let the Kinect send that data, Microsoft would have to offer identical service, without the data-collecting.

"These DVRs would essentially observe consumers as they watch television as a way to super-target ads. It is an incredible invasion of privacy," Capuano wrote, regarding the proposal. "Given what we have recently learned about the access that the government has to the phone numbers we call, the emails we send and the websites we visit, it is important for consumers to decide for themselves whether they want this technology. Think about what you do in the privacy of your own home and then think about how you would feel sharing that information with your cable company, their advertisers and your government."

Granted, this is only a bill for the time being, and many bills never make into full-fledged laws. It will be one to watch, though, as the Xbox One approaches launch.



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