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Microsoft clears itself on Xbox One and Kinect privacy issues

Microsoft has posted the privacy statement regarding its upcoming Xbox One and Kinect gaming console and sensor, said that any agencies, including government officials cannot access the images of the users.

XBOX One and Kinect - Privacy policy explained
XBOX One and Kinect – Privacy policy explained

XBox One Kinect sensor measures the arrangement and length of certain facial features and calculating that into a number it can identify certain ace of the players. This has raised the privacy issue regarding the access of user images by NSA or any other government agencies for spying. But, Microsoft said in the privacy statement that the unique number of image processing is even passed to the officials, it can’t be used or decoded to build an image of user’s face, hence technically impossible to break the images of players by any agencies.


Microsoft also said that, even the game software reads the players expressions to respond accordingly, those “emotional” data will not be sent to the company and it will self-destroy after the game session. This is not the first time the company is facing privacy scrutiny and many experts, even Microsoft privacy adviser are not trusting Microsoft over the privacy policy – doubted that the company is still providing the user-data to NSA’s and others’ mass surveillance operation.

Go to this link, where the company posted the privacy statement/disclosure with detailed rules and limitations.

Some of the key details of the privacy disclosure:

  • Users can turn off Kinect at any time.
  • Facial-identifier unique numbers won’t be shared with anyone and it stays on the console itself.
  • Microsoft can share user info to those companies, those who meant to provide services on behalf of Microsoft and it said that those companies must pledge to not to share those information.
  • Te company said that if they receive any legal requests from government agencies to comply with the law, they will share user info. Read this post for the first half year’s user info requests received by Microsoft – Yahoo’s hereFacebook’s here.
  • Despite all of the above disclosure, it said that it “will not disclose your personal information to a third party without your consent“.
  • The company uses the player data to serve “better” targetted advertisements and provided the users an option to opt out.
  • If customers link their Microsoft account with a partner company, “Microsoft may share limited account information with that company”. That information may include name, address, email and date of birth, but not credit card or other payment information.


About John W Arthur

John is the head of our IT Security team and he writes about Security, IT news on The Next Digit. He was the Employee of the Year 2013 for his selfless support and efficiently setting up the whole security infrastructure. He also occasionally writes on "IT Sec Pro" Print Media of Sweden. All posts by John

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