To calm concerns over the always-on Kinect, a Microsoft rep has confirmed that the sensor can be completely turned off.
If you thought that the amount of confusion over anything Xbox One related was reaching ridiculous levels then feast your eyes on this update. One of the many concerns that emerged after the big reveal that happened on May 21 was the fact that Kinect was “always-on”. What that means it that even when you’re not gaming, the sensor remains active, waiting for a voice command at all times.
The reason this concerns people is because the Xbox One itself relies heavily on an internet connection and people became worried of potential breaches in privacy if someone were to gain access and see everything your kinect was seeing. This is similar to those websites that offer the ability to view people who have not protected their webcams, giving you a live feed of everything their webcam is pointing at. Which is understandably creepy.
As CVG notes, these concerns were even reiterated by the German federal commissioner for data protection and freedom of information. The reason I call this a bit ridiculous is because Microsoft’s solution is both completely obvious but also a bit amusing that something like this even has to be explained, which just goes to show how confusing everything has become when talking about this console.
What’s the solution? "Yes, you can turn the system completely off," That’s right, just power it off and it will stop working. It’s sad that we’ve reached the point where something like this has to be explained, but it shows how Microsoft has failed to clearly communicate how this console will operate. They continued to assure that they will put in ways to ensure privacy for users and that they will offer more details in the future, which seems to be the standard line for everything.
There you have it. Just turn your system off. One mystery down, a few more to go.