The lights are on
While we were in Los Angeles spending time with upcoming hardware and games, two United States Congressmen were at work filing a bill to protect Americans from prying electronic eyes. Massachusetts representative Mike Capuano (D) and North Carolina representative Walter Jones (R) have filed the "We Are Watching You Act."
The bill doesn't mention Microsoft or Kinect, only cable boxes and DVRs with built-in cameras and microphones, but it's hard to imagine the Xbox One peripheral wouldn't be swept up in the legislation. The proposal calls for an opt-in procedure, consumer receipt of detailed information about the kind of data that will be captured, and a list of who will be able to access the information.
Furthermore, should the legislation be enacted, a large message will be displayed on-screen during recording stating, "We are watching you." These proposals come just days after news broke about the NSA's snooping program, PRISM.
The Congressmen were spurred to action by patents filed by Verizon, but the company states it has no intention right now of implementing the technology. Microsoft, on the other hand, has touted that the Kinect will remain in a low-power state by default for the purposes of voice activation.
Addressing privacy concerns, Microsoft has indicated that the device can be paused or turned off at will. However, it must be connected to enable core Xbox One operations. The mechanisms for pausing the Kinect device's monitoring have not been made clear yet.
[Source: House.gov via International Business Times]