Microsoft Can Be Trusted With Privacy, Says Departing CEO

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Microsoft Can Be Trusted With Privacy, Says Departing CEO

Xbox One Kinect

On his way out the door, Steve Ballmer says your personal data will be just fine.

Snooping, spying and data collection are the talk of the technology world these days, and that includes games. Steve Ballmer, outgoing CEO of Microsoft, even addressed the matter at his last shareholder meeting on Nov. 19, telling investors that the company's phones, tablets, and yes, game consoles, would not be used to gather personal information on customers.

"We all want to live in a country and a world that's safe and secure, but it is a business imperative that we retain the customers' trust in every country around the world," said Ballmer, who has been Microsoft CEO for the last 13 years. "We take a lot of pride at Microsoft about the care we take to respect the privacy concerns of our customers ... Across our industry there are some [who] seem rather bent on trying to use every single piece of personal information they can get so they can target you with more ads." He and executive vice president Brad Smith said Microsoft's commitment to privacy included files such as emails, SkyDrive and cloud storage. While it is easy for Ballmer to say anything given his departure, it should be noted that Microsoft did previously vow to fight the government if it attempts to spy via the Xbox One's Kinect.

The Kinect, with its motion-tracking video camera and voice recognition, has been a specific cause of concern among some consumers since its announcement. At the beginning of November, Microsoft released an updated privacy statement in regards to how the Kinect collects user data, stating that the compay planned to monitor chat and video communications "to the extent permitted by the law." Likewise, Sony's most recent software usage terms for the PS4 says that the company may monitor and record voice and text communications between PSN users.

Update: It's also worth noting that Microsoft did team up with Google to sue the federal government to allow them to speak more freely about data collection practices.

Source: Eurogamer

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The mere fact that this power exists means that someone WILL abuse it eventually, in some capacity, somewhere. And if the government did use connect to spy on people, and I'm sure they'd love to, I doubt we'd know about it until it was too late. I find the mere fact that we have to have this discussion disturbing.

As long as the camera can be turned off I can see major problems being avoided, but the idea that the federal government can spy on people in any capacity is disturbing.

I will grant them doing a US alongside Google against the American Federal Gov is nice I notice that they started this after the whole PRISIM scandal broke and not before.

Wait... Just like Google won't force me into using their social net-shit to get someone even more options to push their advertising? Oh wait... I don't buy a single part of it.

Um...yeah. Don't know who Microsoft thinks they're fooling, but that's bullshit. MS is just as culpable as everyone else, Google, Yahoo, Sony, everyone. They may not want to be shills for the US government, but they certainly stand to make a lot of money through targeted advertisements.

"... Across our industry there are some [who] seem rather bent on trying to use every single piece of personal information they can get so they can target you with more ads."

Right, right, how many times am I going to have to whip this old chestnut out?

Microsoft may be waving the flag of the right to privacy, but they sure don't mind throwing Doritos and Mountain Dew at us, do they?

You want to put ads on your box, that's fine. But don't throw Doritos into our faces and call it privacy.

image
That's right gamers! I'm trustworthy!
You should make a contract with me, to get a brand new game system!
All it takes is a wish!

Because big companies never lie or go back on their word.

XBOX! Search: Death to America

I was on the fence about getting a console, but now I plan to avoid them altogether. I already have one device in my house that monitors my activity without my consent, I don't need another one.

Objectable:
image
That's right gamers! I'm trustworthy!
You should make a contract with me, to get a brand new game system!
All it takes is a wish!

...I now must request that someone photoshop's Steve Ballmer's head onto Kyubey's body for me to laugh even more. XD

OT: Yeah, I hope you don't mind if I take this with a grain of salt Mr. Ballmer.

Pffft, yeah right! Why should we believe you? YOU'RE LEAVING!

Like anyone jumping ship cares what they say...

What Ballmer didn't mention is that the only reason he said this is they threatened to leak his private information if I didn't.

Fox12:
The mere fact that this power exists means that someone WILL abuse it eventually, in some capacity, somewhere. And if the government did use connect to spy on people, and I'm sure they'd love to, I doubt we'd know about it until it was too late. I find the mere fact that we have to have this discussion disturbing.

As long as the camera can be turned off I can see major problems being avoided, but the idea that the federal government can spy on people in any capacity is disturbing.

and it's not just the government. Microsoft, Sony, and a lot of other companies have had histories with their security being compromised. Even if they don't just give it out, how safe are we? How secure is the data they collect? How secure is the method by which they collect it?

Really the only positive thing you can say about Microsoft here is that unlike Google ad-revenue isn't their main source of income. They're still a big corporation though and revenue is profits for the shareholders, that's the only thing you can count on really.

Zachary Amaranth:

and it's not just the government. Microsoft, Sony, and a lot of other companies have had histories with their security being compromised. Even if they don't just give it out, how safe are we? How secure is the data they collect? How secure is the method by which they collect it?

It's actually because of all of these leaks that Russia actually started using typewriters again when recording down stuff. Sure the paperwork can be messy and cluttered, but you can't exactly leak it onto the internet and get away with it as easily. :P

Neronium:

It's actually because of all of these leaks that Russia actually started using typewriters again when recording down stuff. Sure the paperwork can be messy and cluttered, but you can't exactly leak it onto the internet and get away with it as easily. :P

It's funny, because I remember my electronics instructor talking about several other instances in which Russia's solution to high tech issues was to go low tech.

I mean, everyone sort of snickered but....It's not necessarily a bad idea.

Talk is cheap. Microsoft wants us to trust them, they'll have to earn it.

They probably won't.

You know, this kind of statement always reminds me of the movie Jungle Book and the snake Kaa

image

Trust in me and nothing bad is going to happen to you. And 5 minutes later they'll screw you over and eat you....

Who was it again that gave the NSA all the backdoor encryption keys to Windows? Oh that's right, it was Microsoft.

Microsoft, we already know what your planning to do with the xbox, stop lying about it.

I actually believe them when they say that they are not planning to use the console or rather the kinect to spy on people.

However, someone will definitely try to hijack the thing to do just that.
How secure will their network be against malware from others?

Now if you'll excuse me, i'll have to pick up my tin foil hat from dry cleaning.

Maybe I'll trust you at a later date Microsoft, but for now I'll wait for some suckers to buy into your console and give some general feedback on it before I lay money down.

Objectable:
image
That's right gamers! I'm trustworthy!
You should make a contract with me, to get a brand new game system!
All it takes is a wish!

In all fairness, Kyuubey is a lot more charismatic than Microsoft despite not even being a human.

I guess that's why Facebook tells me to add friends, family members and people I meet online all the time, despite everything in my profile but the mail address being made up. Of course that has nothing to do with MS selling my Skype data, that's unthinkable...

Of course Microsoft can be trusted with this sort of thing. It's not like they've ever abused such things before, for example promising a data security feature built-in to Windows to encrypt one's hard drive, then releasing a program that bypasses the feature entirely making supposedly secure data readily accessible. Nor do they make what should be a user's private data readily available to US authorities without need for a warrant, process or cause.

Absolutely Microsoft are trustworthy with user's data and having an always-on camera able to log and record user's actions, expressions, gestures and conversation is totally not open to abuse. Also, it's very unlikely they'll sell this information on to advertisers to spam targetting ads at customers who paid money for a console just so they could be advertised at.

I love that "to the extent permitted by the law". Doesn't that mean that they'll have to give everything (again) to the NSA (or any other government agency) if they're told to?

It's like hearing someone say "Hey you can trust the devil with your soul! I guarantee you he'll take good care of it and eventually send it to heaven."

Steve has to understand that genuine trust is built through a long track record of good actions and not words. And if in the off-chance that they actually don't gather data, someone, legal or otherwise, eventually will.

Zachary Amaranth:

Neronium:

It's actually because of all of these leaks that Russia actually started using typewriters again when recording down stuff. Sure the paperwork can be messy and cluttered, but you can't exactly leak it onto the internet and get away with it as easily. :P

It's funny, because I remember my electronics instructor talking about several other instances in which Russia's solution to high tech issues was to go low tech.

I mean, everyone sort of snickered but....It's not necessarily a bad idea.

My favorite one is that NASA spent millions trying to get a pen that would write while in space for their astronauts. Russia's answer? Send their cosmonauts up with pencils.

Zipa:

Zachary Amaranth:

Neronium:

It's actually because of all of these leaks that Russia actually started using typewriters again when recording down stuff. Sure the paperwork can be messy and cluttered, but you can't exactly leak it onto the internet and get away with it as easily. :P

It's funny, because I remember my electronics instructor talking about several other instances in which Russia's solution to high tech issues was to go low tech.

I mean, everyone sort of snickered but....It's not necessarily a bad idea.

My favorite one is that NASA spent millions trying to get a pen that would write while in space for their astronauts. Russia's answer? Send their cosmonauts up with pencils.

That's not actually true - BOTH space programs used pencils initially, and then switched to special space-pens (in the case of NASA) and ordinary ball-points (in the case of whatever russia's space agency was called). They switched from pencils because trying to sharpen them with the little bits of wood floating off and getting stuck in things, plus the carbon in the pencil lead is conductive so you certainly don't want it anywhere near a control panel....

Yes, basically, pencils are actually a terrible idea in space. The real stupidity of NASA is that they developed special space-pens that were pressurised and so on in order to work correctly in space, entirely unnecessarily... normal ball-points actually work better in space than on earth in that they work any way up in space.

I get what he's trying to say here, but it's yet another case of Microsoft saying something that really doesn't need to be said, but saying it anyway regardless of possible negative implications. Anyone who's into the whole "Microsoft is watching you masturbate" theory isn't going to be persuaded by the outgoing CEO, and those who don't have any particular concerns are more likely to have concerns as a result of such an announcement. Someone needs to teach that entire company about effectively communicating with consumers.

nickpy:

Zipa:

Zachary Amaranth:

It's funny, because I remember my electronics instructor talking about several other instances in which Russia's solution to high tech issues was to go low tech.

I mean, everyone sort of snickered but....It's not necessarily a bad idea.

My favorite one is that NASA spent millions trying to get a pen that would write while in space for their astronauts. Russia's answer? Send their cosmonauts up with pencils.

That's not actually true - BOTH space programs used pencils initially, and then switched to special space-pens (in the case of NASA) and ordinary ball-points (in the case of whatever russia's space agency was called). They switched from pencils because trying to sharpen them with the little bits of wood floating off and getting stuck in things, plus the carbon in the pencil lead is conductive so you certainly don't want it anywhere near a control panel....

Yes, basically, pencils are actually a terrible idea in space. The real stupidity of NASA is that they developed special space-pens that were pressurised and so on in order to work correctly in space, entirely unnecessarily... normal ball-points actually work better in space than on earth in that they work any way up in space.

Cool, the more you know I guess. I just assumed that they would use a new pencil instead of sharpening them because of the floating issue.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Wait... wutr.. they're serious?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Tit-for-tat Mr. Ballmer, because trust is a two-way street.
Trust ME with Microsoft's information, then I'll consider.

What? You have no reason to trust me? Well, how convenient, neither do I to trust you.

Zipa:

nickpy:

Zipa:

My favorite one is that NASA spent millions trying to get a pen that would write while in space for their astronauts. Russia's answer? Send their cosmonauts up with pencils.

That's not actually true - BOTH space programs used pencils initially, and then switched to special space-pens (in the case of NASA) and ordinary ball-points (in the case of whatever russia's space agency was called). They switched from pencils because trying to sharpen them with the little bits of wood floating off and getting stuck in things, plus the carbon in the pencil lead is conductive so you certainly don't want it anywhere near a control panel....

Yes, basically, pencils are actually a terrible idea in space. The real stupidity of NASA is that they developed special space-pens that were pressurised and so on in order to work correctly in space, entirely unnecessarily... normal ball-points actually work better in space than on earth in that they work any way up in space.

Cool, the more you know I guess. I just assumed that they would use a new pencil instead of sharpening them because of the floating issue.

Then you'd need an inordinate quantity of pencils, and cost was measured in millions of dollars per kilo. Plus, even if you never sharpen them, the leads can and do break off accidentally, which brings us back to the conductive material floating + electrical control panel scenario.

This is not even funny anymore. At best, I can get a tortured grin on my face and at worst, I vomit over my router and windows...yeah, over my Windows 7 copy too.

First, I don't trust your PR lies.

Second, You are departing, so your statement is invalid as soon as new CEO is in his power.

"After he was done speaking the mysterious glowing red dot that had been on his forehead the entire time suddenly winked out."

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