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Microsoft has quickly responded to new information brought to the public about the NSA, the National Security Agency, infiltrating and using popular web and online gaming services to monitor, collect data and spy on various individuals. According to the Redmond, Washington corporation they were not aware of any spying by the NSA.
The Examiner did a follow-up article to the previous reports about the NSA spying via services such as World of Warcraft and Xbox Live. The Examiner reached out to Microsoft for a comment and the company responded, with a representative putting forth the following PR-friendly retort...
"We’re not aware of any surveillance activity" ... "If it has occurred as reported, it certainly wasn’t done with our consent."
Previously, Kinect 2.0 picked up a lot of flack when it was revealed that the device would always be on and always watching and always listening. Gamers and the general public at large reacted very strongly to those policies, especially given that Microsoft had made it known that the Xbox One would be unusable without Kinect being plugged in and turned on at all times.
After a lot of pressure from movements such as the #NoDRM campaign from NeoGaf and other public officials and politicians (none of which were American, since the last thing the American Government cares about are the interests of the American people) Microsoft relented and changed the policy and requirement use of Kinect 2.0.
One of the main reasons that there was so much pressure from the general public about the Xbox One was related to the fact that – around the exact same time – it was made known that Microsoft was one of the prime culprits taking part in the NSA's PRISM program, as outlined in the detailed exposé by the Guardian.
Even though Microsoft has repeatedly claimed that they didn't willingly give over user information, many consumers and gamers alike have been skeptical of Microsoft and their willingness to hand over private information. I mean, what about your illegal cousin visiting you from out of town... do you really want Kinect storing and collecting their data? How about that time you got busy with "Molly"... is that something you want your local law enforcement agents privy to? And what about that special "package" uncle Vlad sent you to hold on to for a little while... is it really imperative that Kinect find out about that?
To make matters worse is that Microsoft's public security notice relating to the NSA's fiat for data mining and collection, never once mentioned the Xbox Live or Xbox Kinect services and features as being exempt from such data infiltration from the National Security Agency. What's said is just as important as what's not said.
As it stands, you'll have to make an informed decision about whether you want something like Kinect in your home and whether you want a corporation and the Government having easy access to all your personal information and data, even more so than they already do.