German Authorities Express Xbox One Privacy Concerns

Microsoft counters - you can turn Kinect off.

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German Authorities Express Xbox One Privacy Concerns
The German authorities has its eye on Microsoft's Xbox One and in particular will be watching the company's upgraded Kinect camera very closely. According to a national report, federal commissioner for data protection and freedom of information Peter Schaar is concerned about the console's privacy implications.

Schaar has been looking into the consequences of the console's always-on capabilities and the Kinect's ability to listen to users since Microsoft's reveal event last week. The motion-sensing camera's other features - that it can read heart rates, see in the dark and ascertain a user's reaction to various types of content - are also cause for concern.

"The Xbox [One] registered all sorts of personal information about me - reaction rates, my learning or emotional states," said Schaar in a report by Spiegel (translated by Polygon). "You are then processed on a remote server and possibly even to third parties. Whether it be deleted ever, the person concerned cannot influence."

Microsoft, for its part, has insisted that it takes privacy concerns very seriously, and that the Kinect's ability to always listen (even when powered down) can be switched off. Although the suggestion that it will be left on by default will likely be the sticking point with anyone concerned about what data is being tracked and where it's being sent to.


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