So What’s the Big Deal?

The camera’s always on, the mic is always recording, but isn’t it possible to just unplug it all so there’s no threat? This may be true, but this is the same device that consumers spend an extra $100 for that Microsoft is requiring all Xbox users to purchase alongside their console.

Microsoft has declared they have no malicious intent, and they say they won’t misuse any data, but security mishaps happen. Hackers happen. Accidents happen and the best thing we can do is be prepared for them.

a reddit user voices his concern below:

“My concern isn’t that Microsoft will misuse the data (they will, for advertising – that shouldn’t be surprising to anyone), it’s what happens when somebody screws up and the data becomes accessible to someone it shouldn’t be.

  • It will accidentally capture adults naked. Breach of privacy or just plain blackmail?
  • It will accidentally capture even more minors naked, considering it’s more likely to be located in their bedrooms, in use for a larger amount of time and a group that’s even less likely to read terms or think about consequences. Child pornography?
  • It will accidentally capture conversations about private information. Insider trading? Stalking? Identity theft?
  • It will accidentally called capture telephone numbers (!) by recording the tones the phones make when you dial the numbers, and the conversation that follows (and even modern smartphones still use DTMF tones or similar per-digit tones when a number is entered directly rather than through the phone book).

This might sound like fearmongering to you, and I suppose to a degree it is since the possible negative outcomes are unlikely to happen to you personally. But the one constant in the world of computing is that somebody will eventually fuck up somewhere in a way people didn’t anticipate.

Whether it’s a lazy staff member leaving a USB drive with an unencrypted database on it on a train, an MS employee working for minimum wage getting bribed, a crazy stalker ex, or a kid pissed off he lost a game, or a competitor, or an Eastern European cybercrime gang, somebody will breach security. It’s impractical for anybody short of a large company or a government to actually mine all the data, but it’s perfectly practical to use it to target individual people or to scan through people at random hoping for dirt.

TL;DR people make security mistakes, and there are people out there who will work hard to benefit from them. Why create a larger attack surface?”

With the Xbox spying on people and invading their privacy, the kinect will be listening all the time It can measure you heart rate, it can know if you are looking at the ads being shown or not, it can detect your emotional states and ability to learn, and they do all this to further cater to your needs. They want to know which advertisements will make you “smile”  and grab at your attention. Is Microsoft really interested in their users, or is it just about increasing their profit?

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