Print 30 comment(s) - last by tamalero.. on Oct 30 at 3:01 AM

The Xbox One won't be able to watch you if you put a cover on it

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) assures that the Xbox One will feature "robust" privacy protections. However, given recent accusations data sharing contracts with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and other domestic spying programs, some are fearful that the 1080p Kinect 2 sensor in the Xbox One will be used as a "Big Brother" device.

Gaming accessory maker PDP has come along and thrown fuel on that fire.  While its $19.99 USD Xbox One Kinect 2 TV mount accessory's primary purpose is ostensibly allowing you to mount the Kinect on top of your flat screen TV (versus having it sit on a nearby table or stand), it also comes with a free "privacy cover" that covers "both the RGB and IR cameras".

The plastic shroud comes in black plastic and matches the part of the stand that clips onto your TV.  The TV mount package will ship on December 4, a week and a half off the Friday, Nov. 22 launch of the Xbox One.
PDP Kinect 2 cover
To its credit, Microsoft promises:

You are in control of what Kinect can see and hear. By design, you will determine how responsive and personalized your Xbox One is to you and your family during setup. The system will navigate you through key privacy options, like automatic or manual sign in, privacy settings, and clear notifications about how data is used. When Xbox One is on and you’re simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded.

PDP's privacy cover somewhat remedies the potential spying concerns, however, it is far from complete.  After all, while it blocks the Kinect 2 from "seeing" you, Kinect 2 can still listen to you with its bank of microphones.  It wouldn't be a surprise to see future accessories pop up that include a full-length cover that also shrouds and insulates the microphones from room noises, as well.

Source: Amazon

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RE: Kinect is not something people want.
By inighthawki on 10/28/2013 2:11:32 PM , Rating: 2
My impression was that many titles failed to try to take advantage of Kinect because it was low resolution/a bit laggy and not everyone had it. The new Kinect attempts to solve the first issues with higher resolution and improvements to the tech, while the second would be solved by shipping it with the console.

My personal thoughts? It's not going to make much of a difference in most games.

RE: Kinect is not something people want.
By exeedorbit on 10/28/2013 2:28:01 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, yet it adds an extra $100 to the cost of the system, for a largely mundane, and useless feature that will rarely ever truly benefit the customer.

RE: Kinect is not something people want.
By GulWestfale on 10/28/13, Rating: -1
RE: Kinect is not something people want.
By inighthawki on 10/28/2013 5:54:42 PM , Rating: 2

You do realize that an "always on microphone" doesn't mean it's sending communication data across the internet, right? In order for the NSA to record a conversation, it must be sent across a network connection. They cannot magically reach into your computer and remotely connect to the audio hardware in a computer.

I hate the idea of the NSA snooping around as much as the next guy, but these sort of claims are completely unfounded. People extrapolate things well beyond certain capabilities. Recording audio communication across the internet and phone lines is in a whole other ballpark than recording audio input that is locally processed on the computing device.

By tamalero on 10/30/2013 2:58:40 AM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't that be easy to do if the xbox one had a backdoor(on chip or in software) specifically designed for that?

I remember reading many years ago, that you cannot sell a firewall or security encryption software in the US unless you gave the master keys to the NSA.

RE: Kinect is not something people want.
By althaz on 10/28/2013 6:31:28 PM , Rating: 1
The Kinect can be disconnected or turned off.

The XBox is also not capable of either storing everything Kinect sees or hears, nor is it possible to directly stream kinect data to microsoft. All recording and streaming has to be user-initiated and it is not monitored by Microsoft.

I know everybody is paranoid about the NSA, but the NSA data that came from google, microsoft, apple and the like was data those companies were already collecting (which is why they got the most data from Google, Google collects the most data). Those companies were not able to go and fetch additional information, they just turned over information that you had already agreed to give them.

That doesn't make it right, but it shouldn't make you paranoid, just careful.

RE: Kinect is not something people want.
By GulWestfale on 10/28/2013 7:57:52 PM , Rating: 2
All recording and streaming has to be user-initiated and it is not monitored by Microsoft

according to microsoft.

By inighthawki on 10/28/2013 8:30:44 PM , Rating: 1
Then by all means, Mr. genius, enlighten us on the intricate details of the inner workings of the xbox one and the Kinect sensor and a detailed working of how this claim is false and actually sends data to the NSA. Until then, stop trolling and spreading speculation that has no basis.

RE: Kinect is not something people want.
By althaz on 10/28/2013 10:39:36 PM , Rating: 2
Why would they lie? Also, it would be illegal for them to do so, as buying an XBox constitutes agreeing with them that they won't do it. It's called a privacy policy and it is legally binding.

Microsoft COULD change their privacy policy to allow them to collect this data (although outside of Korea and Sweden most people's internet couldn't take it), but they won't, because the only way they have to not hand over data to the NSA is not to collect it in the first place.

Microsoft have never violated a privacy policy before, I'm not sure why you believe they would start now.

By piroroadkill on 10/29/2013 5:30:29 AM , Rating: 3
It would be illegal to lie? Tell that to the US government.

By tamalero on 10/30/2013 3:01:02 AM , Rating: 2
I'm still wary about what Microsoft says.

They have backpedaled more than a Politician during a scandal.

They first said the kinetic couldn't be turned off, then they claimed they tweaked it;when people still were pissed off.. they said you could turn off(standby) certain parts...
And the only way to really turn it off, was to turn off the kinetic.. and of course; the console via disconnecting it from the energy plug.

By Manch on 10/29/2013 7:53:09 PM , Rating: 1
Well, if they were listening, considering that you are not the Chancellor of Germany I think your safe. If they want lets say a 45 page "book" on suicide with a free kindle copy, well I'm sure they have that covered too and still wouldn't bother with you.

By BillyBatson on 10/29/2013 11:39:49 PM , Rating: 2
This is from Wikipedia

24 million units of the Kinect sensor had been shipped by February 2013.[1] Having sold 8 million units in its first 60 days on the market, Kinect has claimed the Guinness World Record of being the "fastest selling consumer electronics device

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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