Any attempt by the US government to use Xbox One’s Kinect camera to spy on the public would be resisted.
That’s the message from Microsoft, which in a statement released to The Verge in response to privacy concerns about the new device said:
"Absent a new law, we don’t believe the government has the legal authority to compel us or any other company that makes products with cameras and microphones to start collecting voice and video data, and we’d aggressively challenge in court any attempts to try and force us to do so."
That’s not quite enough to convince American Civil Liberties Union senior policy analyst Christopher Soghoian, however.
Soghoian has previously expressed his Kinect 2 concerns on Twitter, stating: “After today's NSA revelations, who in their right mind would trust an always-on Microsoft-controlled Xbox camera in their living room?”
He added in a further statement to The Verge: "I think the important thing here is when companies say ‘Don’t worry, we’re not recording,’ it doesn’t matter as much as whether they could record. Governments can twist the arms of companies and force them to do things, and in some cases the companies may just go along with it and even volunteer to help."
Indeed, all the reassurances in the world will likely be insufficient to convince everyone. Microsoft has previously admitted that Kinect has been designed specifically to be an adaptive observation device that collects a huge amount of data about users, albeit primarily for the purpose of advertising and gaming.
It was also claimed earlier this month that “Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted” and allowed US authorities to access Hotmail users’ emails and Skype data.
Microsoft has since claimed that it is currently being subjected to a gag order that prevents it from further discussing secret national security requests.