Almost a week after the technology giant lifted the lid on Xbox One, the company has come under fire for “twisted” features that could potentially gather personal data to be sold to the highest bidder.
The new device, which is expected to launch in Australia before Christmas, includes a Kinect motion camera that is able to track movement. Voice commands such as “Xbox on” can be used to control the console, suggesting the camera and microphone are constantly in standby mode.
Tim Vines, director at Civil Liberties Australia, told GamesFIX that Microsoft has a lot to answer for with a product that has the ability to listen and watch everything a person does.
“People should have the ability to turn off the camera or microphone, even if it limits the functionality of the machine,” he said. Vines believes privacy is “all about control”.
“Of course, if Microsoft doesn’t allow that (control), then people should vote with their wallets and skip the next Xbox.”
Vines says Microsoft should be upfront about what it does with data collected by Xbox One.
“Microsoft’s new Xbox meets the definition of a surveillance device under some Australian laws, so they need to be upfront and tell customers whether anyone else can intercept their information or remotely access their device,” Vines said.
This sentiment is being felt the world over, with Berlin’s federal data protection commissioner, Peter Schaar, telling Spiegel Online that Xbox One is nothing more than a monitoring device under the guise of a gaming console.
“The Xbox One continuously records all sorts of personal information about me. My reaction rates, my learning or emotional states. These are then processed on an external server, and possibly even passed on to third parties.”
Schaar believes this is a major breach of privacy.
“The fact that Microsoft could potentially spy on my living room is merely a twisted nightmare.”
Microsoft aims to bring simplicity to the living room with Xbox One, which it calls a “powerful, all-in-one device of modern architecture.”
Just make sure you’re not planning world domination in front of it.