A lot of consumers have expressed concerns regarding the Xbox One's Kinect, which is required in order to use the new console. The improved camera features facial recognition software, and previous comments have implied that perhaps facial data could be sent to advertisers. Albert Penello, Microsoft's director of product planning, posted a response to these concerns on NeoGAF earlier today.
He began by clearing up that some of the Xbox One's features 'could' be used for advertising, since they can see facial expressions and therefore analyze how interested one may be in a certain product. However, he stated that no one at Microsoft is working on that sort of functionality, and that if this were to become a feature, users would have complete control over it.
There could be some cool features we could enable if we stored that data in the cloud, like being able to be auto-recognized at a friend's. I get asked for that feature a lot. But, for privacy reasons, your facial data doesn't leave the console.
He also pointed out a safety feature built into the console's Skype application. If Skype is put into the background while the user begins another app, the video automatically freezes. This is so gamers won't accidentally begin another application or leave the console with the video stream still running in the background.
Penello finished by asserting that he and the team take preventing people from using the Kinect inappropriately, very seriously. He acknowledged that Microsoft has received a lot of criticism for things they have done in the past, and states that some of it was well deserved. Hopefully this open statement regarding privacy helps to reassure those who hope to purchase the Xbox One when it launches on November 22nd.