Microsoft: Privacy Concerns with Kinect V2.0 Unfounded

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Personally, I’ve never seen such an overreaction as what Microsoft has received in revealing the Xbox One. The gaming community has had some strong (over-dramatic) opinions on the supposed used games fee – which may or may not even exist. Another sore point is the fact that the bundled Kinect must always be connected and ‘will always be listening’. That last phrase has resulted in some incredible paranoia.

But Microsoft’s corporate Vice President Phil Harrison has assured Eurogamer that consumers have nothing to be concerned about;

Microsoft has very, very good policies around privacy. We’re a leader in the world of privacy, I think you’ll find. We take it very seriously. We aren’t using Kinect to snoop on anybody at all. We listen for the word ‘Xbox on’ and then switch on the machine, but we don’t transmit personal data in any way, shape or form that could be personally identifiable to you, unless you explicitly opt into that.


Legally, Microsoft can not share your personal data unless you sign a form of contract giving them that permission, unless it’s something incriminating…(have you got some illegal actions to hide?). In this case, the privacy settings for Xbox One Kinect will be similar to the current-gen Kinect’s. Jeff Henshaw, Group Program Manager of Xbox Incubation & Prototyping, referred to the relevant privacy policy (which can be read here), in a new interview with CNET, where he also clarified that the camera itself can be set to be turned off;

If you want privacy, we’ll give you modes that ensure your privacy. We will have something similar for the Kinect with Xbox One. The system is designed to have Kinect be an integral part of the experience. It’s not the case where you’ll be able to remove the camera altogether. But you’ll be able to put the system in modes where you can be completely secure about the fact that the camera is off and can’t see you.

I highly recommend those who are worried about an invasion of privacy read the above-linked policy.

I am a graduate of the Bachelor of Interactive Entertainment (w/ major in Games Design) course at Qantm College, Sydney.

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