Microsoft ready to fight NSA if it requests access to Xbox One Kinect

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xbox-one-Kinect.jpgMicrosoft have stated that it will “aggressively” challenge any requests made by the NSA to access the Redmond company’s forthcoming Xbox One and its connected Kinect sensor.

The next-gen Microsoft console had already raised concerns over privacy issues when the company confirmed that the Xbox One would require its Kinect camera and microphone movement sensor to always be connected (even when the console was not in use), which lead some to speculate that the NSA may wish to tap into the technology after the Prism spying initiative was revealed.

In a blog post, Microsoft have now moved to allay those fears:

“We don’t believe the government has the legal authority to compel us or any other company that makes products with cameras and microphones to start collecting voice and video data,” reads the Microsoft statement, responding to the potential for the NSA to make use of the Kinect sensor to spy on US citizens.

“We’d aggressively challenge in court any attempts to try and force us to do so.”

However, with claims circulating that Microsoft has already given US authorities access to user’s private communications, including Skype calls, many will likely question the company’s conviction on this latest point.

The Xbox One had, at best, a rocky unveiling, and there still remains details of the console that need clarification. To speak specifically of the second-generation Kinect sensor, Microsoft claim that when in sleep mode it is only listening out for a specific trigger phrase rather than noting everything that is said, though surely this must mean it is also listening to all the stuff said around the trigger phrase in order to identify the one it is tracking? It’s just one of the many points that Microsoft still need to communicate more lucidly if they are to fully gain consumer confidence in their next-gen machine.

Gerald Lynch

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