Microsoft Releases Detailed Xbox One Privacy Statement

by Mike Futter on Nov 01, 2013 at 04:06 AM

Microsoft has faced criticism and skepticism over the Xbox One and Kinect 2.0. Much of the conversation has revolved around privacy concerns about having a camera and microphone connected to the machine. Microsoft has made a move toward transparency with a detailed privacy statement that explains the information that is collected and how it’s used.

The section likely to be of greatest interest to most users is the information on Kinect. The device can be used to activate the console, sign players in via facial recognition, and measure some biometrics for exercise programs.

With regard to the sign-in functions, “[Kinect] measures distances between key points on your face to create a numeric value that represents only you,” Microsoft states. “No one could look at the numbers and know they represent you.  This authentication information stays on the console and is not shared with anyone.”

Players will have control over how other information, like photos taken by Kinect and exercise data, are shared. Facial expressions can also be read by the device and may be implemented as game features. According to the statement, this data is destroyed at the end of the session.

Notably, Microsoft is clear that video captured with GameDVR and Upload Studio will not include voice chat. However, if you use a personalized in-game character, it and your GamerTag, could appear.

[Source: Microsoft]


Our Take
With the revelation that the NSA has an extensive snooping program, many became concerned about the original Kinect plans. At first, the device was required to be connected and on for Xbox One use. Since then, Microsoft has responded to concerns and has ensured that the Kinect can be fully disconnected.

This privacy statement is a useful step in further ensuring users that their data is safe. Microsoft is working to put the privacy concerns behind, and having this document will give the company something to show skeptical users.