Xbox One breaches too much privacy

I am a gamer, and I love making things go boom, slice, vroom on my Xbox 360. But the newly announced Xbox One is a breach of our privacy. The media center itself doesn’t, but the Kinect 2.o camera system does.

1. The Kinect microphone is always on, always listening. This is neat for people to walk into a room and say “Xbox. On.” and it comes to life, but that means the built in microphones are always listening to you, just in case you want to turn your system on. Its convenient until you realize that it has the capability of recording you at anytime. Microsoft hasn’t confirmed or denied that any telemetry data  picked up by the microphone or camera system will be recorded or sent to servers in Redmond…

2. The Kinect Camera is always on, recording and watching you. If you are having sex in your living room and the system is off, its still watching you. If you walk across the room, its watching you, just in case you do a hand gesture indicating you want to swipe the screen or switch blades. Once again, Microsoft has not confirmed or denied that your recordings of activity will be sent to them.

3. The Xbox One might have the capability to tell if too many people are in the room. There has been some rumors that the system will not allow people to not watch films or play games if they don’t have a license. The Kinect 2.0 sensor can detect up to five people in a room at a time. For example;  if there are too many viewers for say Elysium it will prompt you to have less people or to pay for viewers. This is a breach of privacy of anyone much less large families. Not to mention the law regarding the amount of viewers at one time is vague.

In the case of motion pictures, including videorecordings, and of other audiovisual works, one of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner is to perform or display the work publicly. Unless videorecordings are sold or rented with public performance rights or are licensed for public performance, they should be considered home use only and should be restricted to private showings in the home to a “normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances.” The only exception to this is the face-to-face teaching exemption.

So according to the FCC, normal circle of family and social acquaintances is the defined amount of people allowed to view a film at one time. Microsoft would need very specific definitions of what is too many viewers, and could arbitrarily create a number that they deem as too many. That number could be more than five, which is the amount of people who can be sensed by the camera.

With this in mind I want you to take a look at this. The NSA is setting up a data center that is designed to capture all electronic communications inside and entering the United States. The claim is to keep track of potential terrorists and criminals, but it will collect Emails, text messages, Tweets, and any thing you send or receive through the Internet. This is another breach of our privacy, but I want to make something clear.

If Microsoft collects all data received by the Xbox One Kinect camera your data will pass through the NSA collection center.

collect-citizen-data

So if you’re smoking a bowl and playing COD, don’t be surprised when the police come knocking on your door asking about illegal activities in your residence.

 But most importantly, if Microsoft is going to record and store the visual and audio data that the Kinect collects, what are they doing with it? Most would say that its there for a visual DRM scheme, and for targeted marketing. Any form of that data being used to me is a violation of my privacy. There is a reason why I hate the fact that the Xbox will suggest games for me to try based on previous purchases and games played. Its creepy.

So if you are looking forward to the new gaming console, keep this in mind before you purchase.

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2 comments

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if some savvy entrepreneur came out with some novel idea to temporarily blind & deafen your console when you require some privacy –it might just take something as sophisticated as a black sock 😉

    The idea of the console judging whether your party is too numerous to be allowed to watch a movie is ludicrous, bordering on surreal. Has Microsoft done proper research on how family circles vary from country to country? Even in the XXIst century Latin American families are more numerous than in say, the Netherlands –though I’m too lazy to look for a proper reference at the moment. Is the console intended to act as a birth control mechanism as well –although now that I think about it, it kinda does already 😛

    The whole thing is gonna blow in their face.

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