A story I wrote on the German government concerned over the Xbox One being a monitoring device blew up over the last 24 hours, and it seems like they aren't the only ones that are worried about the always-watching, always-listening Xbox One.
Now the head of the Civil Liberties Australia has said that the Kinect voice and video features on the Xbox One make it a "surveillance device" in people's homes. Gizmodo's Luke Hopewell says "Come on. Really?!" as if people who think that are paranoid, but the Xbox One is an always-on, always listening and watching device. The Xbox One's Kinect sensor is infrared, which means blocking it with some tape won't work, and you can't block it's microphone at all.
This would mean you'd need to physically disconnect the Xbox One from the power at the wall, to get true privacy - but the question remains, are you being 'paranoid', or do you wholly trust Microsoft (or big brother) to not be listening and watching? To continue, the head of Civil Liberties Australia, Tim Vines, spoke with GamesFix about the new always-on Kinect, saying that users should be wary of what the Xbox One is actually capable of:
Microsoft's new Xbox meets the definition of a surveillance device under some Australian laws, so they need to be upfront and tell customers whether anyone else can intercept their information or remotely access their device. The Xbox One continuously records all sorts of personal information about me. My reaction rates, my learning or emotional states. These are then processed on an external server, and possibly even passed on to third parties. The fact that Microsoft could potentially spy on my living room is merely a twisted nightmare.
Now, I'm not the super paranoid type, and I understand there are more things that are recorded and collated by huge government think tanks, the NSA, CIA, and so forth - but I'm not the type of person who would duct tape the front-facing camera on my smartphone, or the Xbox One. I also wouldn't disconnect the Xbox One from the wall, hoping it would stop "someone" from spying on me. The reason? If they really want to spy on you, they will - and I would be more scared of the telecommunications device you're holding in your hand, or have in your pocket right now.