We all know Xbox One as a next-gen console created by Microsoft. Less known is that the Kinect, which records motion and sound 24/7 will have to be connected if you want to use Xbox One.
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The Xbox One bundles with the Kinect, its own device that captures motion and sound with mic and camera. These will be on by default, if you disconnect the Kinect you won’t be able to use Xbox One. Even when you turn your new console off, the Kinect will continue to work. The camera works in the dark so there’s no way to hide from the Big Brother.
Along with reading your facial expressions, the Kinect’s camera is able to count how many people are in the room with you. Some say they will charge Pay-Per-View movies per person in the room. I say that’s a hilarious rumour, might be they will charge my dog to watch movies with me. Since the Internet connection is required in order to use Xbox One, you can imagine where all the captured data will be sent.
Microsoft tried to explain why the mic has to be on at all time by saying its new next-gen console has the ability to be turned on by saying “Xbox On”. How does it justify the fact that it has to be turned on 24/7? There are users who don’t mind turning their console on in an old fashioned way by hitting the power button. It’s a nice option to have, but shouldn’t be mandatory.
Since the launch of Xbox One, questions were raised from users around the world. The director at Civil Liberties Australia, Tim Vines, said that Microsoft has a lot to answer for a product that can watch and listen to every move a person makes. “People should have the ability to turn off the camera or microphone, even if it limits the functionality of the machine,” sad Vines, adding that privacy is all about control.
“Microsoft’s new Xbox meets the definition of a surveillance device under some Australian laws, so they need to be upfront and tell customers whether anyone else can intercept their information or remotely access their device,” added Vines.
Peter Schaar, Berlin’s federal data protection commissioner, said that “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. The fact that Microsoft could potentially spy on my living room is merely a twisted nightmare.”
The biggest concern is that even if there was an option to use Xbox One without its mic and camera by turning them off, they could be remotely activated. Seriously how far this paranoia can go? Last few months there’s been a lot of grudge over the governments’ agencies spying on gamers, now we have people being afraid of using Xbox One because it can record everything you do. Maybe we should just turn the Internet off and be done with it.
As my friend who enjoys her Xbox One says “who cares, since we don't do anything wrong we will just bore anyone watching to death and they will mostly see cats playing.”
We have new technology coming out that will be able to see through our walls and that’s very exciting. I am not so excited about it, I want my home to stay private as it should. Xbox One might be the surveillance device, but it’s not the only one that we use. Every mobile phone is being tracked, Skype messages, Gmail emails, Facebook private messages. If you are afraid of the Big Brother watching you, simply stop using the technology.
Thanks to Pauline for bringing this to our attention.
Dolores is SEO and Digital Marketing consultant who has been completely hog-washed into doing this site by KC.