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Xbox One is Spying on You
By: Jessica Cherok
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Microsoft has touted its Xbox One as the “next generation of gaming,” and apparently the next generation’s console is nosy.

Xbox One allows users to watch TV and movies, listen to music, surf the Internet, etc., all while using voice command. While the voice command feature is neat, it means, of course, that the console is always listening. Even when you’re not actively using the device.

Xbox One can not only hear what you’re saying, but see what you are doing, and even tell when you are excited. Its camera comes equipped with an infrared technology, so it can see if your heart rate is rising.

Well, that’s a little creepy, isn’t it?

Microsoft has said that while Xbox One does collect data about its user, it doesn’t specifically associate the data with the user. In other words, the data that is collected is de-identified upon collection, unless the user opts to have the association known. By allowing the information to be tied to a specific user, companies would be able to market directly to you, based off of the info collected by Xbox One.

What’s interesting to note — even though Microsoft says it does a lot to protect the privacy of its customers, it does not allow for the user to opt out of their data being collected. You could opt to disconnect the camera, but would have to reconnect it each time you wanted to use the console.

Not exactly convenient. Perhaps try the less laborious Post-It note over the lens.

The amount of potential data collected by the Xbox One console could be unprecedented. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s privacy disclaimer is worrisomely vague. In other words, owning Xbox One could be a lot like living with an advertising spy, constantly watching what you’re doing and collecting your information to pass along to unidentified third parties.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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