The Biggest Stories Of The Week (July 13, 2013)

by Mike Futter on Jul 13, 2013 at 04:00 AM

Welcome back for another weekly Game Informer recap.We're into our second week of the new "Our Take" format and we're continuing to listen to your feedback. Feel free to leave your thoughts below, drop me an email, or send me a private message here on the site.

A busy week for Microsoft.

While we may never know whether it was the chicken or the egg that came first, we are pretty certain that the plans for the Microsoft corporate reorganization were in motion long before Don Mattrick decided to leave his post for the CEO job at Zynga. Mattrick was reportedly uninterested in moving into the hardware chief role now occupied by Julie Larson-Green after the shakeup. She'll be handling all of the hardware devices (Xbox, Surface), while former Windows Phone head Terry Myerson will be leading development of operating systems (including the three that are making the Xbox One tick). 

We're still very eager to speak with Larson-Green, Myerson, or preferably both about the vision for the launch of the Xbox One in the immediate future and the broader life cycle of the console. There is an interesting story to be told here about how Microsoft will affect these changes so close to the launch, especially as two new leaders take over core development arms for the console.

Additionally, Microsoft is contending with new negative PR regarding the NSA's Prism program. Based on a report out of The Guardian, the NSA has the means to broadly access Microsoft services, including Skype,, and Skydrive. The company has denied providing blanket access (as opposed to honoring court-mandated case-by-case requests for user data). Microsoft and Yahoo are two of the companies that have walked up to the line created by the gag-order to suggest that there is more at play here than they are allowed to discuss.

As we do not yet fully understand how the Kinect camera interacts with Skype, which powers chat on the Xbox One, I am concerned about potential privacy issues. The foreign intelligence surveillance court has already created a wider opening than originally intended to allow warrantless collection of data by exploiting the "special needs" doctrine. This provision allows for drug testing, airport screening, and more. Under this doctrine, the FISA courts are allegedly exempting security agencies from the warrant process when searching for "possible terrorists." Given the case of Justin Carter, the term "possible terrorist" could be applied to anyone who makes inflammatory and threatening remarks online... including via Skype... which powers the chat features for the Xbox One... which is attached to the Kinect... which is always on while playing and is intended for use in a low power state while in standby.

Will the camera and microphone bundle in your house make you just another channel for our government to tune into? Probably not. However, it's not hard to see why people might be wary about putting one in their homes.

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