Your privacy and what Xbox One Kinect really sees

11:00 AM on 11.01.2013

Dale North

Former Dtoid EIC

Concerns addressed in Microsoft privacy statement

With the privacy concerns games raised recently, Microsoft found themselves needing to fully detail what the Xbox One Kinect sensor sees and sends. A new privacy statement page gets into what Kinect data is collected and how it will be used.

For example, Kinect sees a players face, using facial recognition to sign players in. But Microsoft explains that the tech is really seeing the distance between key points on faces, and that they store a set of numbers, and not necessarily pictures.

During play, the Kinect records similar numeric values for your skeleton. Microsoft says that these numbers are temporary, and are "destroyed" after use. Beyond this, this skeleton data cannot be used to identify a player. 

Voice commands can be sent to Microsoft, if you choose to participate. These will be used to improve the service.

The  Kinect microphone section warns that players "should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features such as voice chat, video and communications in live-hosted gameplay sessions offered through the services." They also say that they may monitor communication to some extent, but will not monitor the entire service.

Also, keep in mind that third-party apps will have their own privacy conditions to watch for.

Take a look for yourself and see if you have any concerns. Note that each section of this privacy statement page shows a summary first. Some of the heavy stuff lies beyond the "Learn More" link. Sneaky!

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