Microsoft attempts to calm Xbox One privacy worries

Microsoft confirms that the machine can be switched completely off, and adds that the company takes privacy of its users seriously.

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.

For more information on Microsoft's next-gen console, check out GameSpot's Xbox One hub.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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martingaston

Martin Gaston

Hi! I'm Martin, for some reason or another I have managed to convince the people who run GameSpot that I am actually wor
4554 comments
Secret360
Secret360

Look as far as i am concerned all they want to do is give the kinect the same voice recognition as widows 7 after all its Microsoft. I for one can't wait to get my hands on the xboxone. The only real set back for me is that it has to be online all the time, i live in africa thats just unrealistic 

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

Hate to sound paranoid but people need to think about this:

1. It listens to you

2. It Monitors your heat signature

3. Even when its off its monitoring your conversation

4. It watches you as part of its sensor technology...


I dont want this shit in my house...how do we know that even when its unplugged it doesnt hold a charge for monitoring purposes? I dont see a reason for these features to exist in a video game console what-so-ever..

TreFacTor
TreFacTor

As someone who bought the kinect... I don't care how improved it is....I DON'T WAN'T ANOTHER KINECT! Plain and simple. It's being forced on people and those that aren't dumb want it to be optional just like the mandatory 24 hour big brother check in. If they don't get it by now, they never will.

dalepickstock
dalepickstock

It's all about what data is collected and what it's used for. If you think that ms is going to record video and voice and save that info then perhaps you should stay under your tin foil hats and not buy one the cost of storage alone would certainly make the xbox too expensive to run as a concept.

Chances are that it will collect how long you play a certain game for and what sex / age you are etc so it can try and make better games / products and target you for advertising. Sound familiar? No? Well it should its what google has been doing for years!

We have got to remember this is a company that makes money out of us buying games / music / video and operating systems is it really going to be interested in what colour boxers your playing in?

Vienreich
Vienreich

It's interesting to see the way people rally up behind stupid shit, like this kinect thing being the new spying tool in the living room. Suddenly a whole mass of ill tempered dogs start barking. 

1blackone
1blackone

Comment of the day: [Paraphrased]

@Celtic_34 

You know you messed up creating a feature when, instead of people's reactions being "Oooh, that's cool. I want that.", they instead say 

"...How do I turn it off?"

northArrow
northArrow

Microsoft cares about your privacy about as much as BP cares about the gulf coast.

Celtic_34
Celtic_34

voice recognition and motion controls are so gimmicky and useless. Who the heck wants to talk to their television? do you have any idea how awkward that is?

serious. is there one person who saw this and was like omg that's so cool i have to have that? it was more like how do i turn it off? lol

when ms's first press release is you can turn it off as damage control, why even include it at all? too funny.

Jdc01
Jdc01

Microsoft kinect privacy:

A- on all the time ( recommended)

B- power saving mode

C- low power state

boudinbreath
boudinbreath

This is what I expected. Of course this machine will be shipped with customizable privacy settings. It is a requirement in this day and age. I have trusted Microsoft for ten years with my personal data, and they haven't let me down yet - unlike Sony, which has its Playstation Network hacked causing hundreds of thousands of personal profiles to be compromised.

My biggest beef with the new console is the "always connected" mentality, whereby you need to have your console connected to the internet at least once a day (reportedly). I sometimes work in areas that have not only no internet, but no cell reception. I take my Xbox in the bush with me and this will obviously hamper my gaming while away. It's just disappointing, and if it greatly affects console sales, they'll have to consider changing it.

Hopefully they make the right decision, if not for gamers, then for their bottom line.

100proofsoco
100proofsoco

Tim Vines, director at Civil Liberties Australia, told GamesFIX that Microsoft has a lot to answer for with a product that has the ability to listen and watch everything a person does.

“People should have the ability to turn off the camera or microphone, even if it limits the functionality of the machine,” he said. Vines believes privacy is “all about control”.

“Of course, if Microsoft doesn’t allow that (control), then people should vote with their wallets and skip the next Xbox.”

Vines says Microsoft should be upfront about what it does with data collected by Xbox One.

“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,” Vines said.

minkbikini
minkbikini

Sony won the day M$ decided to go Blu-ray...

Rattlesnake_8
Rattlesnake_8

So it's not always listening, but it's going to be set to listen to specific voice commands which means it is always listening. 

Glongold
Glongold

The best privacy setting is the one called "not buying this."

hedgehod
hedgehod

*Microsoft reveals that the new console is able to apprehend users that are doing something seemingly illegal in front of it*

W: What has happened to him?

H: Seems like... he has been left to his own devices.

( •_•)>⌐■-■
(⌐■_■)

YEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

sieg6529
sieg6529

Wasn't going to buy it anyway (my soul belongs to Gabe Newell), but I love to watch them squirm prior to launch.  

KingSardine
KingSardine

I like how every time M$ announces something about the XBone, they have to come back and either clear things up or try and "calm" us. I swear they don't have a PR team or a marketing team.

SKErwin
SKErwin

" 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"

That's annoying, i want to play, not to be watched by them.

VastGameMaster
VastGameMaster

MS should worry about calming us down after that disappointing Xbox One reveal.

Achilles04
Achilles04

lol Here comes all the Sony fanboys. Put on your tinfoil hats. MS is planning on having thousands of emloyees watch you through your kinect because you know, that will be SO worth their time and money. It's funny that Kinect 2.0 actually looks like an amazing piece of technology instead of the POS Kinect 1.0, and yet people freak out. I guess we know everything about the X1 though in terms of privacy since every gaming website has posted rumors and whatever other convuluted trash tey can find on it. Makes sense, especially since the communication has been wait until E3. The reveal sucked, just like the reveal for the PS4 sucked. E3 will be the time for Sony and MS to talk about their used game plans and reveal a hell of a lot more about their systems. I for one am excited. I will be buying both, enjoy your one system pony.

sonic_man00
sonic_man00

I thought the Xbox One was always crap. Then this was annonced, Then it became more crappy. Buying the PS4 now.

redwin
redwin

We know no one that has played a single game in this machine and we you are killing it,lol. I have owned every gaming machine including the late turbofx 16 including the hand held and cd and all playstations. I will tell you this. The xbox360 has the best in game experience ever. P.s. I'm no fan boy.

Infinity_Gauntl
Infinity_Gauntl

Yes you can turn it completley off........*walks over and unplug it

Vienreich
Vienreich

Thanks to the revolution of Xbox One, fish will now gently swim away when approached by you in most games. It completely changes the experience.This kind of innovation is hardly seen in the black mountains of Ps4

commander
commander

always online , kinect mandatory, i think i won't buy an new xbox, and start playing on the pc only. I can't be bothered with playstation, i hate the controller, ms is stupid a lot of people will not buy this system , if they keep the kinect and online mandatory.

snugglebear
snugglebear

I don't have any mature comments, so I'll just say "Xbox One?! More like Xbox Number Two!"

RussellGorall
RussellGorall

I feel so much calmer. Now if they can just make watching TV easier. I tried watching TV this morning and I have no idea how it works.

Blake Schwark
Blake Schwark

Privacy wont be an issue and I doubt anybody would find me sitting around very interesting,

Shadeslinger04
Shadeslinger04

M$ must think we're all dumb. To use the Xbone you must have it turned on, and while it is, it will gather 10X more information than the 360 ever did. Your reaction rates, your learning or emotional states, your facial expressions, how many people are in the room with you...even in the dark. These are then processed on an external server, and possibly even passed on to third parties. Hell, in Australia the Xbone is already classified as a surveillance device! Remember, the Xbone will not work unless Kinect is connected but they better have an option to turn the camera and/or mic off even if it limits functionality. And even if they do have the option, any sicko or organization with some tech skills could override the system. So do I want to pay hundreds of dollars for a console that can spy on me 24/7? NO!

Vienreich
Vienreich

According to reliable rumours Xbox One will be approx 6times more powerful than Ps4 and have around 80% better games. You can also use it as a water cooler.  Go home Sony fanboys, you're drunk.

Gegglington
Gegglington

i thnk m$ is bad crack but put a sock over the camera on kinect

howard1030
howard1030

I really wish, as some people have mentioned here, that xb1 will be boycotted unless they seriously listen to all the current concerns.

Why do I get the ominous feeling however, that they only need to bring out one exclusive game in a series that everyone loves to get this total disgrace of a system sold?

Gaming to me is playing a decent written game that I love, that I paid for once, with all content, not endless paid add-ons, without unlocking meaningless achievements and without idly chatting about it on social media. I want a good offline game I can play for hours without anyone bothering me.

Bring back gaming!!!

nannasin
nannasin

Its kinda sad that people claim to want innovation but when presented with a change in the status quo they rise up in arms.

1) Kinect 

They improved it so much and it allows for some really nice augmentations to games like skyrim, mass effect, nba 2k, and the demo they showed with the FPS and the guy touching the side of his head and nightvision was turned on and off.  Why do people think MS wants to risk a multibillion dollar lawsuit to spy on some random joe schmoe?

2) Used games

Gamestop is the leech in all of this.  MS/Sony makes the systems for the games, developers develop the game, gamestop sells the game. All get paid.  THEN Gamestop buys back said game for 20 dollars a day after the game is released and RESELLS the game for 50 dollars instead of the game being new for 60 dollars.  So now instead of the people who are responsible for the game being made getting paid, only gamestop gets paid AND MS is at fault for wanting to get money for developers and themselves.  Do you not see a problem with that?

3) Internet connection

MS wants people connected so they can enhance the experience of the person, so they can make use of "cloud computing"

http://www.zdnet.com/microsofts-orleans-cloud-programming-model-gets-a-halo-test-drive-7000009300/?s_cid=rSINGLE

Also, everything requires an internet connection TVs, Ipad, tablet, smartphones, computers, cable boxes, even your ps3 and xbox 360s require an internet connection.  Without the connection you miss out on game updates, bug fixes, DLC, offers, etc.  Shoot the most popular games require an internet connection and yet, people fault MS for wanting their system to be connected.


It makes you wonder about people sometimes.

VakarianGirl
VakarianGirl

All I want to know is - once I have my Kinect device installed in order to get the XBone working - can I then subsequently turn EACH and EVERY Kinect function OFF.  

If so......I'm happy.  If not.......PS4.

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

"This would use no power and turn everything off. We’ll share more details about how it all works later." LOL! how stupid can you be?

adamg78
adamg78

to turn Xb1 off you probably have to talk to the  XB1. with the  Xb1 having voice recognition it makes sense.  

bksonic123
bksonic123

Microsoft know that "casual" gamers won't bother turning it off.

Timmeh929
Timmeh929

Judging from what there doing with all these rumors is seeing how much they can get away with. There making things out to be far worse then they actually are my suggestion is keep bitching  don't give them any ground and make them think twice about it.

darksiED70
darksiED70

The biggest problem about Microsoft is that you cannot believe anything that they say.

EL_Bomberdor
EL_Bomberdor

Even if the console was free like you get with mobile phone deals because you would certainly pay more than a consoles worth in charges over 8 years I wouldn't have an Xbox One. I worked out in the UK if you played online on an Xbox for 8 years it would have cost the gamer £480 ($728). I am not having the wool pulled over my eyes this time and even if the system was free I would turn it down.

moleyUK
moleyUK

"[the machine] is not always watching or always listening." 

So there'll be a scenario where you shout "Xbox, Watch TV" and it does nothing the first two times and then says "Sorry, were you talking to me?"

"Yes, you can turn the system completely off,"

You can also leave it in the box.  You could even leave it on the shelf in the store for extra security.

TheGreatmars
TheGreatmars

xbox1 will live or die depending on one thing >>exclusives (and its price cause i am poor :D )

this is what makes or breakes a console and since we haven't seen any games yet so i say it is too early to judge the console.