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Microsoft Reverses (Another) Anti-User Xbox One Policy

A Microsoft executive has confirmed that, contrary to earlier reports from the company, the upcoming Xbox One console will not require the Kinect sensor to be activated at all times after all. This change comes after a widespread backlash from gamers concerned about the privacy implications of an always-on camera pointed from the television back at the couch. Microsoft's original announcement of the Kinect requirement came at an awkward time, as its privacy practices have been receiving a lot of attention over the past few months. The company was in the midst of an advertising campaign that used the tagline "Your privacy is our priority" when the Guardian published information connecting Microsoft and its product Skype with the NSA's PRISM program. Just days later, Bloomberg published a report that the company provides U.S. intelligence agencies like the NSA with advance information about its products' security vulnerabilities, which could in theory be used to get backdoor access to a person's computer.Against that backdrop, users expressed concerns that an always-on Kinect camera could be co-opted for surveillance. Some referred to the product as "the future of PRISM." Two Congressmembers even introduced a bill called the "We Are Watching You Act" aimed at Kinect and similar devices.

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14 Aug
DHH @dhh
Microsoft drops the always-on telescreen requirement for new Xbox One citing user fears re: NSA, https://t.co/6IIXPdMKe8 - smart move!
13 Aug
EFF @EFF
The next Xbox won't require an always-on camera after all, calming concerns about the NSA watching gamers https://t.co/obFCgqiEQ0