Microsoft has expressed concern over a recent report of British spies considering to use the Kinect for surveillance purposes.
This morning The Guardian published a report that detailed Optic Nerve, a British surveillance agency GCHQ, who with aid from the US National Security Agency targeted around 1.8 million web cam images from Yahoo users. The same report also mentioned that Kinect piqued their interest because of its “fairly normal webcam traffic.”
While there is no evidence to suggest GCHQ did use Kinect to spy on gamers, the thought of a spy agency even considering to head down that road is frightening.
Upon being contacted by Eurogamer, a Microsoft spokesperson said that the company had no knowledge of Optic Nerve or them being interested in the Kinect.
“Microsoft has never heard of this program,” the spokesperson said. “However, we’re concerned about any reports of governments surreptitiously collecting private customer data. That’s why in December we initiated a broad effort to expand encryption across our services and are advocating for legal reforms.”
In December last year there were allegations of the NSA listening in on Xbox Live Chat. Even before that, prior to the release of the Xbox One, consumers weren’t too happy with knowing the mandatory Kinect would be always awake and lying in wait for its owner’s voice commands.
Microsoft at both instances shut down the allegations, saying that they are not aware of “any such surveillance activity” being carried out on Microsoft services.