Xbox One Kinect Spying Via NSA PRISM A Target Of ‘We Are Watching You Act Of 2013’

Patrick Frye - Author

Aug. 23 2017, Updated 3:21 a.m. ET

The Xbox One Kinect 2.0’s potential for spying is a target of a new Congressional bill called “We Are Watching You Act Of 2013” due to privacy concerns.

And, no, I didn’t make that name up for the bill.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the announcement of the Xbox One $499 price point after all the other Microsoft stumbles had some critics claiming Sony has already won the latest console war with the PlayStation 4.

Now Microsoft has to deal with Congress if the “We Are Watching You Act Of 2013” bill is passed by both the House and Senate. The Xbox One Kinect 2.0 is being touted as a main feature by Microsoft. Most of the basic functionality assumes the Xbox One Kinect is turned on all the time.

Microsoft responded to concerns over Xbox One Kinect spying several weeks ago:

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“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.”

With the “We Are Watching You Act Of 2013” any Xbox One Kinect spying will pretty much be impossible (unless it’s sanctioned by Congress and the NSA). “We Are Watching You Act Of 2013” will require the Xbox One Kinect, or any other camera-equipped device, to display the message “We are watching you” whenever viewers are being monitored for any reason. The bill would also require devices like the Xbox One Kinect to provide a camera or Kinect-free user experience. If the Xbox One Kinect collects any data this info must be displayed on-screen.

Even other governments are concerned about Xbox One Kinect spying after the NSA PRISM scandal. Germany’s Federal Data Protection Commissioner Peter Schaar says the Xbox One collects all sorts of personal information:

“The Xbox [One] registered all sorts of personal information about me. Reaction rates, my learning or emotional states. You are then processed on a remote server and possibly even to third parties. Whether it be deleted ever, the person concerned cannot influence.”

The NSA PRISM spying program supposedly includes Microsoft. But no one knows for sure if the NSA had plans to turn the Xbox One into a “NSABox.”

Do you think the “We Are Watching You Act Of 2013” bill’s limitations on potential Xbox One Kinect spying are reasonable?


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