Xbox One's Kinect 2.0 Could Be Affected By New Government Privacy Act

By William Usher 2013-06-18 21:21:16 discussion comments
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A new bill in the works from state representatives Mike Capuano (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) called the “We Are Watching You Act” could prevent corporations from doing exactly what Microsoft is doing with Kinect 2.0, by first warning users about being watched and alerting them about having their data stored by the device.

The IB Times caught wind of the act from the House.gov website that details what Capuano and Jones have planned to help keep your privacy rights private.

Capuano states on the website that...
“This may sound preposterous but it is neither a joke nor an exaggeration. These DVRs would essentially observe consumers as they watch television as a way to super-target ads. It is an incredible invasion of privacy.

Given what we have recently learned about the access that the government has to the phone numbers we call, the emails we send and the websites we visit, it is important for consumers to decide for themselves whether they want this technology. Think about what you do in the privacy of your own home and then think about how you would feel sharing that information with your cable company, their advertisers and your government,”

This all came to a head after the PRISM information outbreak that followed closely on the heels of people recognizing that the Xbox One's Kinect is always listening and stores data about its users. The Australian Civil Liberty Director chimed in on the issue after Germany's data protection commissioner called the situation a potentially “twisted nightmare”, and called the Kinect a potential surveillance device, especially with the patent that allows it to monitor how many individuals are watching copyrighted material at any given time.

The act would definitely help out on the consumer's end by a huge margin. Having obvious and blatant warnings before even using the device, or allowing for screen prompts indicating when data or users are being monitored, recorded or watched is always helpful.

If Microsoft is going to go through with the always-on Kinect, even in its low-powered state, the We Are Watching You Act is the perfect accompaniment to Kinect 2.0. This guarantees that no casual consumer will pick up an Xbox One and use it with unwitting nonchalance, only to later find out that their information and data was used in something like an ad marketing agenda or worse yet, something like PRISM.

For now, the act is aimed at telecommunications companies using DVRs that contain the same kind of information gathering technology as Kinect, but it wouldn't be much of a stretch or far-reaching beyond the bill to also specifically target devices such as the upcoming, second generation version of Kinect, as well, which is set for release this fall.

If you know someone who has plans on buying an Xbox One, be sure to inform them about the policies so they don't unknowingly purchase the device and subject themselves to any kind of potential privacy invasion machination.


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