Microsoft Vows To Fight Government Spying Via Kinect

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Microsoft Vows To Fight Government Spying Via Kinect

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Microsoft said it would "aggressively challenge" any attempt by the government to use the Xbox One's Kinect to "spy" on users.

One of the biggest concerns of Microsoft's Xbox One was the fact that it requires an "always-on" web cam, in the form of Kinect 2.0. You can see how the prospect of Microsoft constantly "watching you" is a legitimate concern people could have, and given the recent PRISM fiasco, there is certainly a very unnerving possibility that the government could use the technology to "spy" on users. In order to ease our minds, Microsoft has assured users that it would "aggressively challenge" in court any attempt by the government to use the Kinect to gather information.

"Absent a new law, we don't believe the government has the legal authority to compel us or any other company that makes products with cameras and microphones to start collecting voice and video data."

The news comes as Microsoft fights allegations that the N.S.A has been able to gather user data from Skype, Outlook and Hotmail with Microsoft's consent. Microsoft denied the allegations, and called on the US goverment to "share publicly more complete information about how we handle national security requests for customer information".

"We'd aggressively challenge in court any attempts to try and force us to do so," said Microsoft, in response to the possibility of government forcing it to use the Kinect as a spy-camera. "If a government wants customer data - including for national security purposes - it needs to follow applicable legal process, meaning it must serve us with a court order for content or subpoena for account information."

It's a little-known fact that the Kinect, which Microsoft insists is integral to the Xbox One experience, can actually be turned completely off.

Source: Official Xbox Magazine

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Nope. Still not going to buy it, think of buying it, or accept it as a gift. Move on Microsoft, I'm sticking to my pc which I can trust.

Steven Bogos:
the prospect of Microsoft constantly "watching you"

...

Microsoft said it would "aggressively challenge" any attempt by the government

I'm not sure it would actually be possible for them to miss the point any more than that. People are not worried about the NSA using kinect to spy on them, they're worried about Microsoft using kinect to spy on them. Hell, they even admit they're doing it right here; after all, they wouldn't need to challenge attempts to get data from them if they didn't have said data in the first place. Having Microsoft assure people that they absolutely are going to spy on them hardly seems like the best way to respond to customer concerns about spying.

Somethingfake:
Nope. Still not going to buy it, think of buying it, or accept it as a gift. Move on Microsoft, I'm sticking to my pc which I can trust.

Which runs Windows, which is manufactured by Microsoft...

It would be so much easier for them to fight government spying by not making the Kinect mandatory. Are they going to do that? No.

Steven Bogos:

Somethingfake:
Nope. Still not going to buy it, think of buying it, or accept it as a gift. Move on Microsoft, I'm sticking to my pc which I can trust.

Which runs Windows, which is manufactured by Microsoft...

There's an app for that. http://www.linux.org/

It's cool if anyone wants to buy one, I can share with you my designs to render the Kinect unable to perform it's functions. Without damaging the console I might add.

That's a blatant lie. The Kinect as a device is actually collecting your metadata. That's not a conspiracy, that's what the thing does in order to do it's job. The official Xlive ToS already poses a great privacy risk, and all those anti-terrorist acts like The Patriot Act allow the US government to bypass the 4th amendment and just ask Microsoft for Kinect metadata without a warrant. On top of that Microsoft's been working with NSA on Prism since 2007. Anyone who believes this is quite simply a brainless fuckin' idiot. No point in dancing around that.

CriticalMiss:
It would be so much easier for them to fight government spying by not making the Kinect mandatory. Are they going to do that? No.

Steven Bogos:

Somethingfake:
Nope. Still not going to buy it, think of buying it, or accept it as a gift. Move on Microsoft, I'm sticking to my pc which I can trust.

Which runs Windows, which is manufactured by Microsoft...

There's an app for that. http://www.linux.org/

Going out on a limb and saying that most people who prefer a PC over the Xbox don't actually use linux, but it's not really hypocritical to prefer one product over the other from the same company >_>

So I guess that doesn't change anything! Yaaay!

OT:
Neat. I mean, it doesn't really hurt them in saying this, but I doubt it's going to win points for anything. Hell, it hardly has anything to do with the Xbox, really.

Kahani:
People are not worried about the NSA using kinect to spy on them, they're worried about Microsoft using kinect to spy on them.

Why? Why would they in any way or reason want too spy on people in their home. Why is this such a big problem for the Xbox but not for the thousands of smartphones/laptops/tablets that are out there (or why not the Wii U), which pretty much always come with an inbuilt camera and microphone. It would probably be just as easy to remotely access the cam or mic in an android phone as in the Kinect.

hehe, yeah.... right.

Microsoft contributed to PRISM. They might claim to not give out information without legaly binding order, but I don't see any reason why we could trust them on that. Plus: If they got a legally binding order they would have to give out this information and I don't really think the NSA would have all that much trouble getting those orders. They admitted giving out information and data on over 30000 user accounts. I don't see why I should trust them with keeping access to that camera denied to gouvernment agencies. It's the safer bet to just not give them the chance to hand it out.
Plus: They most certainly will use it for targeted advertising and fun like that. Another reason not to bother.

oggebogge91:

Kahani:
[quote="Steven Bogos" post="7.822806.19905461"]People are not worried about the NSA using kinect to spy on them, they're worried about Microsoft using kinect to spy on them.

Why? Why would they in any way or reason want too spy on people in their home. Why is this such a big problem for the Xbox but not for the thousands of smartphones/laptops/tablets that are out there (or why not the Wii U), which pretty much always come with an inbuilt camera and microphone. It would probably be just as easy to remotely access the cam or mic in an android phone as in the Kinect.

The reason: Collecting meta data to use in targeted advertising. And it's not okay on phones and laptops as well. I dissabled what I could on my phone and deactivated my microphone and webcam on my laptop in the hardware manager and activate them when needed. I also taped the camera for good measure. And I know enough people who did this too. I have no problem giving out information and data if I have a benefit from it. I just want to know when I'm giving out what data and I want to be able to opt out at any time. That's somewhat illusionary, but I don't see why one should try to at least partly get there.

Steven Bogos:

Somethingfake:
Nope. Still not going to buy it, think of buying it, or accept it as a gift. Move on Microsoft, I'm sticking to my pc which I can trust.

Which runs Windows, which is manufactured by Microsoft...

But which does NOT spy on you with a webcam. That's the key part.

OT: I was never worried about the government using Kinect to spy on me (even though the Patriot Act allows them to use MS as a data source), I was more concerned about Microsoft spying on me. Didn't they say somewhere they would use Kinect info to tailor ads to the consumer or something like that? I'm sorry, but companies trying to get into my head in order to sell me stuff is a good way to make me run away from their products as fast as possible.

It'll "vow" to fight kinect spying but don't worry, they'll still hand over all the other information such as Emails, Skype calls, Chat logs, Bing searches ect...

But the Kinect, THAT'S where they draw the line!

In case it's not blatantly obvious at this point, I'm calling bullshit on the 'word' of Microsoft (unintended pun). I've been told before that a company takes 'X' "very seriously" only to turn their back the moment they think nobody is watching.

And yet you're still going to spy on us for marketing purposes. Wait a second, what's...?

Steven Bogos:

It's a little-known fact that the Kinect, which Microsoft insists is integral to the Xbox One experience, can actually be turned completely off.

Okay, now i know that I'm not always going to be watched all day, but the fact that I knew so many horrible things about the Xbone and not this single redeeming feature until now says a lot about Microsoft's marketing department. They really need to stop being so fucking vague about everything other than confirming or backpedaling on their shitty features/practices.

In any case, not sure I believe Microsoft. They were already part of Prism, and people were already being spied on via Skype, so I'm not sure how much I trust them not to expand that to the cam.

Then again, they ARE apparently putting pressure on the government to be more revealing about their security...

Still not getting an Xbone, but I'll keep my eye on them. Plus, I'm hardly going to toss out my PC in disgust XD

I dont get what the camera has to do with spying, I mean spying text messages makes sense as people comunicate through that, I guess they can spy Skype calls but to think that they will watch you sleep? Why would they want to do that?

Even Microsoft doesnt need it to collect data for advertisements, its not like they will try to sell a t-shirt depending on what t-shirt color you usually wear. They only need to track where you go in your console or in your browser, thats what actually matters.

Its like having a camera pointing to the driver in a car and then also having a gps in that car, the gps will give a lot more important information rather then a camera that at best shows you what the person is wearing.

I just dont know why people are so worked up on this, whatever they want to do they can already do it and I bet they dont care about what you are afraid they start doing. The NSA could see your emails and calls, its not a camera in one room that will give them whatever information they dont already have.

Yes, Microsoft will "Aggressively Challenge" any government using the Kinnect to spy on citizens because Microsoft will be the ones doing the spying.

That's the basic underlying message I'm getting from Microsoft's actions.

I'm not worried about the government spying on me with Kinect.

I'm worried about Microsoft spying on me with it for marketing purposes, which is about a hundred times more likely to happen.

Why would the government care about your mood, or heart rate while watching tv? Companies though? That's a godsend for them! They can tell what kind of ads make you happy, which ones you respond to on a level that's beneficial for them, so they can shove more of their obnoxious advertising in your face.

Christ... at least when the government spies on you it's all done in the pursuit of safety. When a company spies on you it's all just so they can line their pockets.

008Zulu:
It's cool if anyone wants to buy one, I can share with you my designs to render the Kinect unable to perform it's functions. Without damaging the console I might add.

It's a towel, isn't it. Because I'd just chuck a towel or blanket over the thing.

Either that or turning it around to face the corner? "Naughty Kinect! You sit there and think about what you've done!"

Microsoft vows to fights government spying via Kinect. Because they reserve that right for themselves.

Your lies, Microsoft, transparent they are.

To be fair, it would be rather silly to not buy the Xbone due to privacy concerns, when you have no guarantee, and pretty much already know, that everything you do online on any device is trackable and accessible by people you don't want nor gave permission to. As for the Kinect, it should be the least of one's concerns. I don't think that any terrorist is dumb enough to do stuff in front of their Kinect, so I really doubt that it would be any intelligence agency's first source of valuable data. And no, I don't think Microsoft's gonna upload videos of you masturbating to femdom for the NSA to look at and frown upon. Since it can also be turned off to ease your paranoia, I don't think it's really a factor. There are many other, less silly reasons for not buying the damn thing, including (but not limited to) the fact that it supports about 5 countries worldwide, is a piece of shit and is probably gonna force its gimmick down your throat, while Kinect 1 can't even do menus correctly in many games, let alone meaningful gameplay. But yeah, it's perfect this time, Microsoft promised.

It's not the spying aspect of the Kinect that I'm annoyed about, it's that Microsoft want me to pay £100 extra for a peripheral that I don't want and that by making it a mandatory piece of the console they've ensured that I can't even return the module to a Game store to try and get some of my money back.

There's a wonderful invention called gaffer tape for those who are paranoid about cameras. For those of us who aren't worried about the Kinect but just don't bloody want one on the other hand, well, there's always the PS4.

Steven Bogos:

Somethingfake:
Nope. Still not going to buy it, think of buying it, or accept it as a gift. Move on Microsoft, I'm sticking to my pc which I can trust.

Which runs Windows, which is manufactured by Microsoft...

Which doesn't require a camera nor microphone to run...

josemlopes:
I dont get what the camera has to do with spying, I mean spying text messages makes sense as people comunicate through that, I guess they can spy Skype calls but to think that they will watch you sleep? Why would they want to do that?

Even Microsoft doesnt need it to collect data for advertisements, its not like they will try to sell a t-shirt depending on what t-shirt color you usually wear. They only need to track where you go in your console or in your browser, thats what actually matters.

Actually, it's very useful as a camera also shows the person's room. For example, my room is set-up so that if I had a Kinect on my Xbox it could see my bookshelf, movie collection, and game pile. Now why is all that important? It gives the company more information on what I like. Add the fact the new Kinect measures heart-rate -which is in some part controlled by emotional state- and this device is perfect for marketing. "This guy gets excited from action movies with lots of explosions. Let's show him ads for our next game with lots of explosions." "This guy has a lot of Sci-fi books and movies. Let's show him all our 'cool' Sci-fi stuff."

As for them just tracking my movements on the console or browser, well that only goes so far since it's all based on current products they have. Maybe I and a sizeable portion of people enjoy a genre (say steampunk) that they have no (or very few) products for. How can they learn about that from monitoring us when we're on the console? They can't; but they can learn about it from watching us read books of that genre, watch movies of that genre, etc. Now they've learned about a new market and they'll do what any good money-loving company will do: capitalize on it and make more money.

Spying isn't only about watching a person, but their surroundings as well.

Teoes:
It's a towel, isn't it. Because I'd just chuck a towel or blanket over the thing.

Either that or turning it around to face the corner? "Naughty Kinect! You sit there and think about what you've done!"

Kinect 2.0 is powerful enough to see through most fabrics. My idea is a specially constructed lead barrier with sound absorbing foam as a lining.

i trust microsoft to aggressively protect my rights and privacy about as much as i trust cookie monster not to eat a cookie...

i mean common guys the NSA have unrestricted access to Outlook.com and Skype ffs
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/11/microsoft-nsa-collaboration-user-data

Steven Bogos:

Somethingfake:
Nope. Still not going to buy it, think of buying it, or accept it as a gift. Move on Microsoft, I'm sticking to my pc which I can trust.

Which runs Windows, which is manufactured by Microsoft...

I don't know about win8 (never used and I don't want to) but in win7, vista or xp (and older) users have control over what their OS is doing. You can just block undesired apps and connections to ensure your privacy.

Anyway we can always switch to linux :)

oggebogge91:

Kahani:
People are not worried about the NSA using kinect to spy on them, they're worried about Microsoft using kinect to spy on them.

Why? Why would they in any way or reason want too spy on people in their home. Why is this such a big problem for the Xbox but not for the thousands of smartphones/laptops/tablets that are out there (or why not the Wii U), which pretty much always come with an inbuilt camera and microphone. It would probably be just as easy to remotely access the cam or mic in an android phone as in the Kinect.

Well Microsoft has already said that it will be collecting meta data of the users for targeted advertising, where as the other examples don't do that. And while yes you can disable the Kinnect (supposedly) just like you can on a tablet or smart phone there's a rather important difference..... trust, or the lack of.

The "deal with it", "we have another product for those that don't want to be online, it's the xbox 360" and other such comments by their (now unemployed) employees are showing their attitude towards their customers as nothing more than assets or resources to use, they will sell us games but they will also sell the data they collect to other corporations and god knows who else.

oggebogge91:

Kahani:
People are not worried about the NSA using kinect to spy on them, they're worried about Microsoft using kinect to spy on them.

Why? Why would they in any way or reason want too spy on people in their home.

To customize and adjust advertisements on your home screen to fit your personal tastes and habits.

Just have it not be mandatory for fucks sake!

Oh lets go to court and fight the government instead says Microsoft, because everyone needs a Kinect whether they like it or not.

Well at least they found their PR touch again, but as stated before this is a blatant lie because they damn well know US government can order surveillance on anyone at anytime without legal process under Patriot Act.

The only odd thing about this is that China didn't think of it first, might copy it afterwards.

Grouchy Imp:
It's not the spying aspect of the Kinect that I'm annoyed about, it's that Microsoft want me to pay £100 extra for a peripheral that I don't want and that by making it a mandatory piece of the console they've ensured that I can't even return the module to a Game store to try and get some of my money back.

There's a wonderful invention called gaffer tape for those who are paranoid about cameras. For those of us who aren't worried about the Kinect but just don't bloody want one on the other hand, well, there's always the PS4.

Or for those of us who simply don't have the space to even use one. I have just enough space in my room for my chair! It would be used as an over priced microphone in my case. I don't want a £100 microphone, I already have two perfectly working microphones for my Xbox.

Somethingfake:
Nope. Still not going to buy it, think of buying it, or accept it as a gift. Move on Microsoft, I'm sticking to my pc which I can trust.

I think that was their plan. The idea was to stop government spying by making the console equivalent of "Springtime for Hitler!" One can only hope that this doesn't backfire, like it did in that movie....Batman and Robin!

Yes, completely believable. I mean, Microsoft does have a history of keeping their word.

Until the Kinect is optional, I don't think they're fighting any kind of spying at all.

Microsoft Protecting you from the Government is like Dracula protecting you from leeches.

008Zulu:
It's cool if anyone wants to buy one, I can share with you my designs to render the Kinect unable to perform it's functions. Without damaging the console I might add.

Let me guess. Strategically applied sticky note?

I wouldn't be so suspicious of it if microsoft weren't so adamant about keeping that 'feature' in. But digress, MS you lost this console generation right out the gate. Sure people are going to buy it I mean god people actually voted for Sarah Palin as vice president. People voted for Ross Perot. Peapole belived there were WMD's in Iraq. There are idiots out there.

Seriously ms, there is no justifiable reason that the kinnect needs to be always on. I mean even when you consider ... how any people actually bought the kinnect when it was an optional add-on?

Is there ba warehouse in china full o kinects that you are determined to 'sell'. How much would the Xbone cost without the iSpy?

CardinalPiggles:

Grouchy Imp:
It's not the spying aspect of the Kinect that I'm annoyed about, it's that Microsoft want me to pay £100 extra for a peripheral that I don't want and that by making it a mandatory piece of the console they've ensured that I can't even return the module to a Game store to try and get some of my money back.

There's a wonderful invention called gaffer tape for those who are paranoid about cameras. For those of us who aren't worried about the Kinect but just don't bloody want one on the other hand, well, there's always the PS4.

Or for those of us who simply don't have the space to even use one. I have just enough space in my room for my chair! It would be used as an over priced microphone in my case. I don't want a £100 microphone, I already have two perfectly working microphones for my Xbox.

Good point, I hadn't even looked at it that way. There is a very thin argument along the lines that Microsoft is only doing with the Kinect sensor in the Xbox One what Sony did with Blu-Ray players in the PS3, but Sony made a massive loss with each PS3 sold in order to keep the price competitive with the 360. Microsoft have refused to absorb the cost of this 'innovation' and passed it down to consumers who are, justifiably, miffed. Perhaps even vexed.

Yeah, for some strange reason Microsoft I just don't trust you.
____

Steven Bogos:

Somethingfake:
Nope. Still not going to buy it, think of buying it, or accept it as a gift. Move on Microsoft, I'm sticking to my pc which I can trust.

Which runs Windows, which is manufactured by Microsoft...

Which comes with the option to not have a microphone/camera

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