Xbox One Kinect is a 'monitoring device,' German data commissioner says

Xbox One's Kinect is a 'monitoring device,' German data commissioner says
Germany's federal commissioner for data protection and freedom of information, Peter Schaar, expressed concern over the Xbox One's Kinect functionality, calling it a "monitoring device" over which the player (or bystander) has little control.

"Under the heading, 'game device,' Microsoft pushes a monitoring device in the market," Schaar told Spiegel, translated by Google Translate. "The Xbox continuously records all sorts of personal information about me: reaction rates, my learning or emotional states. These are then processed on an external server, and possibly even passed on to third parties. Whether they will ever deleted, the person can not influence."

The Xbox One's Kinect is always on as long as it's plugged in, listening for specific commands to wake up the entire system. Microsoft Corporate Vice President Phil Harrison responded to earlier privacy concerns presented by Eurogamer by calling Microsoft a "leader in the world of privacy."

"We aren't using Kinect to snoop on anybody at all," Harrison said. "We listen for the word 'Xbox on' and then switch on the machine, but we don't transmit personal data in any way, shape or form that could be personally identifiable to you, unless you explicitly opt into that."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.