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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 5:54:42 PM , Rating: 2
Sigh...

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.


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