It shouldn't come as any surprise that companies (particularly those in the technology realm) are now being asked to explain themselves more frequently when it comes to privacy
. And, given that the next generation of home consoles are nearly here, it's Microsoft that's coming clean on privacy as it relates to the Xbox One and the forthcoming Kinect sensor. The company has this week published a privacy statement that applies to its Xbox line
, Xbox Live, Windows Phone Games, Xbox Music, Xbox Store and Games for Windows Live.
The post goes on to describe how and why it'll be collecting data, with these statements doing a solid job of summing it up: "When you sign in to Xbox using your Microsoft account, we collect certain information in order to verify your identity, to protect you from malicious account usage, and to protect the efficiency and security of the Microsoft account service. If you choose to link your Microsoft account with your account with a partner company, Microsoft may share limited account information with that company. Such account information may include name, address, email and date of birth but will not include any credit card or other payment information. For games that enable in-game communications, the game publisher may also have access to the content of in-game communications when you are signed into your account with the publisher."
The company also admits that it'll collect information when you register, sign in and use Microsoft's sites and services. It also notes that it may use that intel to "improve and personalize" products, and yes, you may also be contacted as well. As for Kinect
? "The camera can be used to sign you in. To do so, it measures distances between key points on your face to create a numeric value that represents only you. No one could look at the numbers and know they represent you. This authentication information stays on the console and is not shared with anyone."
As you'd probably expect, Microsoft seems to be covering its tracks fairly well here -- of course, they wouldn't tell users that they have ill plans for using their data, but also, they've made themselves responsible for holding up their end of the bargain by making this information so public. Something tells us other companies are going to follow suit in the weeks and months ahead.