German agency expresses privacy concerns over Xbox One

The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, has expressed concern over the potential invasion of privacy possible with Microsoft's next-generation console.

“The Xbox [One] registered all sorts of personal information about me,” said Schaar, according to a Polygon translation of a Spiegel report. “Reaction rates, my learning or emotional states. You are then processed on a remote server and possibly even to third parties. Whether it be deleted ever, the person concerned cannot influence.”

A number of the features of the Xbox One might set privacy advocates on edge, such as the new Kinect's ability to listen for commands even when it is powered down, meaning the microphone is always on. The revamped motion capture can also identify individual users with facial recognition and can see movement in the dark.

Since the Kinect is required to use the Xbox One, all users of the console will be faced with these issues. Growing concern over the impact of technology on privacy may prompt lawmakers to bring in new legislation, particularly in the wake of controversy over Google Glass.

Microsoft said privacy is a top priority for the company and suggested that the settings for the Kinect could be changed. It is unclear at this stage if this means that some of the more invasive features can be switched off.

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