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According to The Guardian, the UK intelligence agency GCHQ had looked into using the Xbox 360's Kinect camera for surveillance. This agency had already been using PC and Mac webcams for the same purpose, and they were looking into whether the Xbox camera could be used as well.
The agency's files dated between 2008 and 2010 allege that a surveillance program called Optic Nerve collected images of Internet users via Yahoo's webcam chat feature. Microsoft has said that the Kinect cannot store user images, and it's not known if the spy agency was able to access devices remotely to capture user images. However, the GCHQ did compile a presentation outlining the surveillance potential and capabilities of the Kinect camera and admitted it was under evaluation for possible use.
CVG reached out to Microsoft about this, and a spokesperson stated that the company "has never heard of this program."
"However, we're concerned about any reports of governments surreptitiously collecting private customer data," the spokesperson continued. "That's why in December we initiated a broad effort to expand encryption across our services and are advocating for legal reforms."
The purpose of Optic Nerve was to search for terrorists and other persons of interest via facial recognition technology. The problem with that is people who resemble said targets could be unjustly reported back to the GCHQ and NSA.
You know, last night while podcasting, my Xbox One turned on without me noticing. I used to joke that it was watching me, but now I'm starting to get a little concerned.
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