Initiative: Stop the Kinect from always monitoring us

Did you know that the Xbox One Kinect is considered to be a surveillance device in Australia?

If the device is always listening, then of course it is a surveillance device. That’s what surveillance devices do. So… does the Kinect for the Xbox One always listen? Look at what Microsoft has to say about that:

Click on the picture to be connected to the page

Click on the picture to be connected to the page

So your conversations are not being recorded or uploaded. But is the microphone still on? Is it still taking in sounds without listening for key phrases like “Xbox On?” We are in control of how the data is used, but the problem is… the Xbox One Kinect is still collecting that data. And that’s the problem in a nutshell. What if we want the microphone off? What if the data we want collected is zero. What if we wanted an option to kill all the power to the microphone?

The problem with a microphone always being on is the potential for abuse. I can easily imagine a government deciding to use it to listen in on any dissidents they may want to keep tabs on. This isn’t too far fetched. Microsoft has no problem letting governments snoop around whenever a government may want access. Or maybe bored hackers with nothing better to do than listen in on private conversations. I firmly believe no electronic system is hack-proof. If it is connected to the internet… and the Xbox One is set up to be connected…. then it is a potential security risk.

xbox-one-everybreath

So what can be done about this?

Fortunately, there is a bill in the House of Representatives that may put a stop to this. It is called the “We Are Watching You Act of 2013.” Click on the link. You can find a copy of the bill for yourself. It will require any machine that has an active listening device to alert the user that they are being listened to. It will make it far more difficult for companies to put on things like microphones always being on onto their systems.

The Bill is in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce where there is a chance it could be killed. So if you want to see this bill succeed and pass into law, you have to take action.

What can you do?

  1. Click here to find out who your Representative is.
  2. Send him/her a message through his/her personal website and ask him/her to support this bill.
  3. Find out if your Representative has a twitter and/or facebook page and leave him/her messages to tell him/her to support this bill.
  4. Tell your family and friends about what is gong on with this and ask them to support this bill.

Spread the word! We need to support this bill and see it pass before it is too late!

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One comment on “Initiative: Stop the Kinect from always monitoring us

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