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Xbox One privacy concerns raised regarding Kinect

Always-on Kinect functionality questioned

Xbox One's new Kinect functionality raises privacy concerns, according to a German politician.


According to German federal commissioner for data protection and freedom of information Peter Schaar, Kinect's ability to monitor users even when the console is switched off raises concerns for privacy.

"The Xbox continuously records all sorts of personal information about me," Schaar told De Spiegel. "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 [be] deleted, the person can not influence."

Meanwhile, Microsoft program manager for Xbox Incubation Jeff Henshaw told CNET that users will be able to switch Kinect off should they wish.

"The system is designed to have Kinect be an integral part of the experience. It's not the case where you'll be able to remove the camera altogether. But you'll be able to put the system in modes where you can be completely secure about the fact that the camera is off and can't see you," Henshaw said.

Kinect will be a mandatory peripheral for the Xbox One. According to a Microsoft exec it "understands the slightest rotation of wrist, shift balance, transfer of motion and when you're exercising it can read your heartbeat."