MICROSOFT OFFERS FULL DISCLOSURE AMID FEARS OVER KINECT SURVEILLANCE.

ScouseCarl Nov 2, 2013

  1. ScouseCarl

    ScouseCarl Dream/Believe/Achieve.
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    In what could be a crucial clarification amid growing paranoia and distrust over Microsoft's privacy policies, the corporation explained that this unique number - even if passed onto government officials - could not be retroactively used to build an image of the user's face.

    With this clarification, Microsoft is promising that it is not technically possible for security agencies and state officials to access images of players.

    The company also clarified that, while game software can read player expressions and respond accordingly, that data is not sent to Microsoft.

    "It stays on the console and is destroyed once your session ends," the company claimed.

    Microsoft has come under significant scrutiny regarding its privacy policies. In July it was discovered that the corporation supplied email and Skype details to the NSA. Microsoft said it was legally bound to not discuss the matter openly.

    Doubts and suspicions over Microsoft's handling of personal data has not abated. Late in September, a former Microsoft privacy adviser said he no longer trusts the company after reading about the NSA mass-surveillance operation.

    Days later it was revealed that Microsoft handed over the personal information of more than a thousand customers to Australian government agents in the first half of 2013.

    In response, Microsoft has launched a privacy policy disclosure web page, detailing its rules and limitations.

    Standout Xbox privacy policies include:

    Players can turn Kinect off at any time.
    When Kinect is used with certain games and apps, a user's skeletal movements can be used to estimate exercise stats. Microsoft says "you can decide how your stats are managed and whether they are shared".

    Kinect's facial-numeric identifiers, as described above, "stays on the console and is not shared with anyone".
    Microsoft can share user info "with companies we've hired to provide services on our behalf". Those companies must pledge to keep the information confidential.

    Microsoft can share user info "to comply with the law or respond to legal process or lawful requests, including from law enforcement and government agencies"
    Aside from these exceptions, the company "will not disclose your personal information to a third party without your consent".

    For games that enable in-game communications, the game publisher may also have access to the content of in-game communications when users are signed into their account with the publisher.

    Xbox applications built by partner companies, from Netflix to Sky, have their own separate terms and conditions with regards to privacy.

    Microsoft will read player data to serve better targeted advertisements, which users can opt out of.
    If customers link their Microsoft account with a partner company, "Microsoft may share limited account information with that company". That information may include name, address, email and date of birth, but not credit card or other payment information.
    Xbox applications using Windows Phone that require location data "will only collect and store the approximate location of your phone"
    Payment data is stored and used for "detection and prevention of fraud". In support of these uses, "Microsoft may share your payment data with banks and other entities that process payment transactions or other financial services, and for fraud prevention and credit risk reduction."
     

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