If you can't beat 'em, say it was your idea all along. Microsoft
has said that the Kinect
hacking which allows the Kinect to be used with other devices besides the Xbox 360, wasn't really hacking, and that they left the Kinect open by design.
At least, that's what Microsoft said on NPR's Science Friday. However, earlier, in response to a $3,000 bounty announced for an open source Kinect driver, by the open-source hardware company Adafruit, Microsoft had said it did not "condone" such behavior. In fact, Microsoft went further, mentioning that the company would "work closely with law enforcement."
When the bounty was first announced, Microsoft said,
“Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products. With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering. Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant.”
Here's what Alex Kipman and Shannon Loftis said on NPR:
Alex: Kinect was not actually hacked. Hacking would mean that someone got to our algorithms that sit inside of the Xbox and was able to actually use them, which hasn't happened, or it means that you put a device between the sensor and the Xbox for means of cheating, which also has not happened. That's what we call hacking, and that's what we have put a ton of work and effort to make sure it doesn't actually occur. What has happened is someone wrote an open-source driver for PCs that essentially opens the USB connection -- which we didn't protect, by design -- and reads the inputs from the sensor. The sensor again, as I talked earlier, has eyes and ears, and that's a whole lot of noise that someone needs to take and turn into signal.
NPR: You left it open by design, then, so that people could get into it?
You can hear the statements on this podcast
, at about 18:00 minutes. Adafruit, of course, feels totally vindicated by all this, and said
Congrats to everyone in the open source community, in about one week we turned “work closely with law enforcement” to “inspired’ by community finding new uses for Kinect.