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.