German commission calls out Xbox One privacy issues

Country's federal data protection commissioner Peter Schaar likens Microsoft's next-generation platform to a "monitoring device."

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Not all are pleased with the technology behind Microsoft's upcoming platform, the Xbox One. Speaking with news site Spiegel (translated by Games Industry International), Germany's federal data protection commissioner Peter Schaar likened the next-generation console to a "monitoring device."

"The Xbox continuously records all sorts of personal information about me. Reaction rates, my learning or emotional states. [These] are then processed on an external server, and possibly even passed on to third parties," Schaar said. "Whether it be deleted ever, the person concerned cannot influence."

Privacy concerns surrounding the Xbox One were brought up immediately after Microsoft revealed that the system's built-in Kinect features an always-on standby mode that can react to users even when it is "off."

This issue was brought up to Microsoft Game Studios executive Phil Spencer, who assured gamers last week that their personal data will not be up for grabs.

"You are in control of what you want to be collected," Spencer said at the time. "Game developers will obviously enable certain features and you'll be alerted when certain things are happening. Putting the gamer in control is really important."

Discussion

611 comments
jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

I think a pair of wire cutters can turn it off. 

SKErwin
SKErwin

Epic kick on the balls

ry0uz
ry0uz

Now, if someone in the US goverment actually cared about its citizens privacy that'd be great. Doubt it'll ever happen, it's easier to imagine them using it as an 'anti-terrorism' spying device.

Gears_0f_L0ve
Gears_0f_L0ve

It's not the privacy options that we worry about, its the infrastructure vulnerabilities  and hacking possibilities.   

Jdc01
Jdc01

US law makers should follow Germany 's example, thank you Germany for caring about consumers privacy!

ThereWillBeNPCs
ThereWillBeNPCs

That face when the only reason you don't like this concept is because you can't feel comfortable masturbating in the comfort of your own fucking room. 

If you think privacy is an issue now, think about what's to come in future decades. Every thing is being more and more monitored. It'll be to the point where the existence of all man can be summed up to ants in an ant farm. 

csward
csward

Thank you Germany for standing up for privacy, just like you did when you defended the ability to resell digital content. You guys rock.

tim1935
tim1935

Yay, ban this feature now!  Kinect should be optional.  Then I will put Xbox One back on my decision list.  Right now I'm in line for a PS4.

64-bit
64-bit

iam gonna buy an Xspy One and point kinect towards my PS4 :P

matrixman2k
matrixman2k

I do recall ages ago, I once gave my personal details to reputable companies such as Virgin Media, Energy companies and the like who promised never to sell on that information, giving all the guarantees of never selling it on, I even opt out of the "Pass on information to carefully selected partners" box, it seems that promise was less valuable than a dead rat; as I thought, greedy corporations have ethical crisis and will never see the errors of their ways.

All they see is corporate greed, and in light of this, I was called 14-20 times a day by individuals from India whose spoken English is more torturous to the ears than rock music. Offering nonsensical products and what have we. I believe Microsoft will do the same, they are like journalists, their professionalism eclipses and squanders their humanity. Selling our data on and making money while charging us for Live accounts as well, it is a "win/win" situation. While they view us like herders keeping track of the barn animals; I hated that fact about social media, I don't really want to dispense such an amount of information to the public.


Microsoft will likely be paid  or subsidised in some way secretly by the Government and they may use that information and spy on the nation impeding on our freedom and right to privacy, liberty groups and privacy advocates may have their hands full here. Then again, what freedom and privacy do we really have? The threat of foreigners gave the former administration the rights to impede on our privacy anyway.  These new powers will seldom be used for good, but rather to annoy us and be of nuisance e.g parking on the wrong side or not vacuming the house twice a week. With a nation under fear, politicians can squeze more out and push the boundaries more.

COPMAN221ISBACK
COPMAN221ISBACK

Dear Microscam, Can your POS Kinect register this?

....................../´¯/)
....................,/¯../
.................../..../
............./´¯/'...'/´¯¯`·¸
........../'/.../..../......./¨¯\
........('(...´...´.... ¯~/'...')
.........\.................'...../
..........''...\.......... _.·´
............\..............(
..............\.............\...

Sincerely,

Gamer with common sense

jrabbit99
jrabbit99

I agree with that call. After news came out that SnapChat doesn't delete photos I'm happy that the Germans are watching are backs

SharnOfTheDead
SharnOfTheDead

Your phones have GPS, every text and call is on a database, everything you say and do online is traced, you think a little camera is a big deal? It's already happened. Still does remind me on 1984

DaSlyOne
DaSlyOne

SYNC is a Microsoft product. Anyone ever read the Ford SYNC terms and conditions? In them, Microsoft & Ford outline that while SYNC is in listen mode, they may record and retain any voice utterances, which includes all sounds/voices in the vehicle. It also states that these recordings will be associated to your cell phone number. Wouldn't be surprised to see the same type terms with the Xbox One, associated with your Live account and IP address. Problem is, the X1 will always be in listen mode, waiting to hear key words like "XBOX ON". Read those terms and conditions!

so_1t_goes
so_1t_goes

I wonder what would happen if you covered the kinect sensor?

nightcall14
nightcall14

Why would they be concerned about a camera that is always watching you even when you sleep and can tell if you are dead or dying?

hadlee73
hadlee73

Imagine what Psycho Mantis in the original Metal Gear Solid would have done with Kinect. "Before I kill you, Snake, you should know that your nose hairs really need clipping!"

Barrakas21
Barrakas21

you cant fool the germans microsft!!

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

People really need to relax.
It's just a game console, it's not recording our every waking moment.
It won't predict thought crime.
This isn't MONSANTO, it's Microsoft.

ITS JUST A GAME CONSOLE.

DEEVOKALOCK
DEEVOKALOCK

HEY HATE ME U WANT BUT WITH ALL THE NEGITIVITY TOWARDS X1 IM STILL GETING ONE DUE TO THE FACT ITS FROM A AMERICAN COMPANY AND  I WILL SUPPORT IT HELL AND BACK!!! JUST LIKE THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN SUPPORT THERE PRODUCTS REGARDLESS IF ITS SHI* GO MICROSOFT  (BY THE WAY XBOXLIVE IS BETTER BY FAR.. PLAYED PS3 AND END THROWING MY FRIENDS CONTROLLER TO MUCH  LAGGING NOT GOOD. YES IM XBOX FAN BOY

izTamz
izTamz

please don't let this guy show in another video, gamespot !

northArrow
northArrow

@ry0uz It won't happen here in the states mainly because there are too many politicians who refuse to stand up for customer and employee rights. These politicians will stand with businesses and allow them to do whatever they want all in the name of the "free market". They'll probably use the word "socialism" as the boogey monster to make getting raped by a corporation feel like the better option.

GERMANY21
GERMANY21

@ry0uz   haha ! Your government are the real terrorists 

evilfangs
evilfangs

@tim1935 I know you shouldn't have to do this but you can always turn your Kinect around and put over a dish cloth over the camera if you don't want it looking at you when you game.

jlsgamespot
jlsgamespot

@tim1935 Yay, Right on!! They might just get placed in my decision list too.

fobbs69
fobbs69

@SharnOfTheDead  You can turn your phones GPS off. Everyone knows phone calls can be recorded, and you can use the internet without being traced.  You have to have Kinect plugged in to use the next xbox, you cant turn off the microphone and camera, and microsoft acknowledges that they will share your data depending on your privacy preference, as well as having to be online, so it is something to be worried about, especially in such a private environment

jlsgamespot
jlsgamespot

@DaSlyOne Exactly. The terms of agreement. Some are will this entirely because of either laziness to read through the EULA or lack understanding of the terms listed in it. This is truly corporate greed and lust for power. 

green_abobo
green_abobo

@so_1t_goes I was wondering this as well.

you're likely to get some sort of error message that wont allow you to continue until you free up the kinnect's sensor FoV? I have no idea. also no clue wtf xbox was thinking about making the kinnect "mandatory".

really contemplating going back to sony, or maybe the wii u.

C8M
C8M

@Barrakas21 That awkward moment when you remember the PS4 and Wii U come with camera and mic bundled too.

OldKye
OldKye

@VenkmanPHD I think you just cover'd abuse of the handicapped, Public lewdness and nudity, and publicly displaying information of children don't know why anyone wouldn't want that lol.

You only need need invasion of privacy and stealing of personal information and you have the whole set lol. 

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

@VenkmanPHD You are the person MS easily sell their console too.. You are their victims and easy target.

DaSlyOne
DaSlyOne

@VenkmanPHD I think someone said something similar to Oppenheimer when he was working on the Manhattan Project..."SERIOUSLY? ITS JUST A TINY ATOM" 

00black
00black

@VenkmanPHD That's the problem dude. It's not "just a game console" anymore.

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

@northArrow That's exactly it, the rich and powerfull fool the young and naïve to vote against their own interests.

C8M
C8M

@DaSlyOne @VenkmanPHD You just compared Xbox to a nuclear weapon. Hyperbole much? Oddly comparing it to something so powerful, secret and important makes me want it more.

jlsgamespot
jlsgamespot

@C8M @DaSlyOne @VenkmanPHD I believe he was just relating to the idea behind someone not taking serious, that which appears to be harmless. "Seriously? It's just a tiny Atom," "Seriously? it's just a game console."