“Safe While Gaming Guide” is a content series including tips, strategies and tutorials about protecting yourself during online multi-player gaming sessions and other online activities on your gaming systems and platforms. It is also detailing features and policies on how to report abuse, inappropriate behavior, harassment/stalking, and other bad behavior. This guide is not exclusive to consoles.
Microsoft just released an updated version of their Xbox privacy statement explaining not just how Xbox One‘sKinect collects our user data but also about Xbox products and services. I will outline the stuff you need to know in a series of parts or cuts.
Please use this information as a guideline when using Microsoft products and services for the first time or upgrading. It would be presumptuous to believe that you do not need to read any statements concerning the very things you are most animate about on the Internet such as Privacy, Terms of Service, User Agreements, Internet Rights, etc.
Cut 2: Kinect, Xbox Media and Video Uploading Privacy
What exactly is the Kinect? It’s a combination of camera, microphone, and infrared sensor which you use your voice, gestures and body movements to control the console menus, applications, settings and games. Basically instead of using the controller, you use your body.
The Kinect tracks the following:
- Your gestures or body movements when you operate the Xbox 360 or Xbox One. This includes hand gestures for system interactions.
- Microsoft may monitor communications for online voice talk between players during gameplay or services such as Skype to the extent permitted by law, but not your entire use of communications. In other words, their secure connections are not used or to be used for private communications and may be monitored to ensure players are abiding by the Xbox Terms of Service.
- Microsoft lets you opt-out of letting them use your Kinect voice data for product improvement. If this option is enabled, at your consent, samples of voice commands or voice search requests may be collected and periodically sent to Microsoft for product improvement. You can change this setting by going to your Settings on the console (or Xbox.com) and select the option for Allow to Block. All voice data are stored separately from any account information that directly identifies you. And when you opt-out, all voice samples stored, if any, are deleted.
The Kinect records the following:
- Facial recognition for signing you into the Services and games on the consoles. It is stored as a string of numbers and not actual images of your face. This information is stored on the consoles and not shared.
- How you interact with games using the Kinect. In certain games, a video playback can be recorded and sent over social networks with your permission, only if you are playing online. This data is also temporarily stored in memory as numerical values on your console(s). However, Microsoft may choose to collect those numerical values for improving gameplay and the experience. Microsoft, after analysis is complete, destroys all the numeric values that are sent to them. These representations of your gameplay analysis cannot identity you.
- Some games and apps allow you to take photographs while you engage in gameplay. These are recorded and then kept, discarded, transferred to another console, sent to social media networks, all at your discretion.
- Microsoft Xbox does not listen in on Skype calls, however communications in Skype or other services using voice talk may be recorded by someone else. Therefore never give your personal information to anyone over any voice-enabled service or other communications. If you do, Microsoft is not held responsible.
- Communications in live-hosted gameplay sessions may also be broadcast to others.
- Audio commands collects voice snippets for voice control use of the console. Xbox voice search service converts your voice to text to provide search results.
Managing the Kinect data:
- If you sign-in with the Kinect, this data does not leave the consoles. You can delete this stored data by going to your Settings and disabling Kinect sign-in. It also works by removing your profile from that console.
- Unauthenticated guests receive a temporary Xbox unique identifier to allow them to participate in gaming sessions. When session is finished, the Xbox deletes the data about them.
- You can at anytime disable or enable Kinect from Settings menu. You can also disable it by disconnecting the Kinect by unplugging it from the back of the Xbox consoles.
- Instant-mode is when the console is turned off, but the Kinect is in a state of ‘sleep mode’ and can turn the console on by saying “Xbox on”. Manage this setting in your Settings menu and look for “console listening for phrases”.
What Microsoft collects about your media likes:
- Any content you play, the length of play, and ratings you give in Xbox Music and Xbox Video are collected. This helps you discover content that may interest you. It’s similar to how Netflix stores your likes and gives you personalized preferences.
- There are privacy settings to control your public display of your music, TV and on-demand videos feed.
- In order for Microsoft to display related content you may like, the Services send an information request to Microsoft containing standard device information like your device IP address, device software version, language and regional settings, and identifier for the content. The results are then stored in your content library.
- Some content may be protected with Microsoft’s DRM therefore you may have to be connected to the internet for ‘checks’ of that content and any updates in order to play the content.
- TV viewing history have settings that allow adults to choose whether Microsoft may collect information about their live TV and provide them with recommendations and to improve the service.
- Third-party applications have their own privacy settings and may send your media history to Microsoft. Please read their set of privacy settings before using their services.
New Feature: GameDVR and Upload Studio
What are GameDVR and Upload Studio used for:
- This Xbox One only feature allows you to record gameplay including local and multiplayer on Xbox Live. You can also capture brief recordings at certain moments that you may want to share.
- In multiplayer sessions, any player can record their view of the gameplay taking place in that session. It may capture your in-game character and gamertag in-game clips created by other players in the session. However, no audio chat is recorded in these game clips.
- To manage: Go to your Settings to Allow or Block GameDVR for game clip creation and upload. You can also set sharing preferences.
- Upload Studio, an application allowing you to edit your game clips, provides options to add video and voice-over to the clip. Your able to set Allow or Block options for family.
- Microsoft may review game clips for violations of their Xbox Live Code of Conduct. Clips can even be reviewed if their sharing preference is set to Block. If a clip is being viewed, there may be a delay before it becomes visible.
Like my Guides? Tell me what you think of them in the comments or forum. Read the whole series here!
Stay tuned for the final Cut 3: Xbox Live, Social and Family Consent.
Coming Soon: Playstation 4/ PS Vita and Nintendo Wii U / 3DS/2DS Privacy Guides
Sources: Microsoft Xbox Privacy Statement