Kinect is Always Watching. Waiting.

This should come to no surprise to anyone in the wake of the Patriot Act–what is privacy? Insurance companies can look at your social network pictures and deny you coverage for, say, depression, because you have photos that seem to suggest you’re having “fun.” Plenty of places sell or acquire your information for marketing purposes, and then catalog it for other people to see on sites like Spokeo. Hell, even if you’re safe about your online information, you’re still being watched while you play games–developers like Bioware, for example, “watch” you play your games from afar (but if you want to secure your tinfoil hat a little better, you can disable them from doing so in the option menus of their games, I believe). Lionhead probably does too, judging from their choice to get rid of menus because of how most people did not use them (or something like that).

Still, it’s worth noting that if you’re planning on purchasing the Kinect, Microsoft can watch you. Some samples of the Terms of Service, courtesy of LazyGamer:

  • (Microsoft) expressly authorize and consent to us accessing or disclosing information about you, including the content of your communications, in order to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft, our partners, or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the Service; or (c) act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public.
  • You should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features (for example, voice chat, video and communications in live-hosted gameplay sessions) offered through the Service.
This should pose no problem to people who follow the law/have nothing to hide, but it’s still starling on principle, no? Then again I wouldn’t be surprised if similar ToS are already in effect of voice/video communications.


  1. David

    This shouldn’t be surprising at all. Microsoft is providing a service, with the expectation of privacy equivalent to Twitter. I can pull up anyone’s gamercard, profile, etc. If I’m talking through the mic, anyone “nearby” can hear me. The addition of a camera adds something, but MS is probably talking about augmented reality games.

    What did creep me out was Project Milo, because there user data and interaction was gathered real-time to “improve” the boy’s interactivity.

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