As the month of next-generation console releases begins, both Sony and Microsoft are tying up every loose end that they can in order to provide as clear a picture as possible of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A major point of contention for many gamers in regards to the Xbox One has been the lack of clarification about how the Kinect will distribute the information it stores. In order to answer these questions, Microsoft updated its Privacy Statement to shed light on the specifics of the Kinect’s ability to gather information.
When an Xbox One owner uses the Kinect to sign in, the camera “measures distances between key points on your face to create a numeric value that represents only you.” This authentication is stored on the console and cannot be shared with anyone else. Even if someone managed to take the number from the console, there would be no way to match the number with the original user.
Some Kinect-enabled games take photographs of you while you play, capture your voice commands, and even record your skeletal movements. Individual users will have control over whether any of these can be shared with others, and Microsoft assures users that the Kinect can be turned off at any time, a feature that was in question after the console’s announcement.
The Xbox One will also be capable of determining your expressions via the new capabilities of Kinect. Much like the numerical value determining your face, these expressions cannot be used to identify a Kinect owner, and all expression data is destroyed once the play session is over.
Some of your personal information will still be used to personalize your experience and make advertisements more relevant, but this transparency is definitely a step in the right direction to patch things up with gamers that had concerns about their privacy after the Xbox One announcement.