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Microsoft addresses Xbox One Kinect privacy concerns


Addressing recent concerns raised by Germany's federal commissioner for data protection and other sources, Microsoft has detailed how users can maintain their personal privacy when using the Xbox One's motion-sensing Kinect camera.

Emphasizing that "You are in control of what Kinect can see and hear," Microsoft notes that individual user and family privacy settings can be accessed during Xbox One setup or at any time afterward. In addition, the company assures that conversation and other background noise will not be recorded or monitored by Kinect in any way.

"By design, you will determine how responsive and personalized your Xbox One is to you and your family during setup," Microsoft said. "The system will navigate you through key privacy options, like automatic or manual sign in, privacy settings, and clear notifications about how data is used. When Xbox One is on and you're simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded."

Microsoft also notes that the Kinect can be disabled at any time during console operation, though some games may require the peripheral to be active for certain gameplay features.

While Kinect monitoring will play a key role in certain game types (Microsoft cites exercise apps and multiplayer card games as examples), alternate control schemes for menus and other functions will be available via the Xbox One's controller and connected mobile devices while the Kinect is paused.

"You can play games or enjoy applications that use data, such as videos, photos, facial expressions, heart rate and more, but this data will not leave your Xbox One without your explicit permission," Microsoft states.

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