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German commissioner highlights Xbox One privacy concerns

"The Xbox continuously records all sorts of personal information" says Peter Schaar

The technical capabilities of the new Xbox One have upset Germany's federal data protection commissioner Peter Schaar, leading him to call it a "monitoring device" in local press.

"The Xbox continuously records all sorts of personal information about me," Peter Schaar told Spiegel.

"Reaction rates, my learning or emotional states. The are then processed on an external server, and possibly even passed on to third parties. Whether it be deleted ever, the person concerned cannot influence."

Privacy issues around the console are something Microsoft has had to address from early on, but this is the first suggestion that it could face trouble on a political level. The Xbox One's built in Kinect has an always-on listening mode, ready to react to its users command even if it's turned off.

Microsoft's Phil Harrison has recently assured consumers that this won't mean their data is up for grabs.

"Microsoft has very, very good policies around privacy. We're a leader in the world of privacy, I think you'll find," he told Eurogamer.

"We take it very seriously. We aren't using Kinect to snoop on anybody at all. We listen for the word 'Xbox on' and then switch on the machine, but we don't transmit personal data in any way, shape or form that could be personally identifiable to you, unless you explicitly opt into that."

The Xbox One is due for release later this year, and has already faced separate controversies over its online requirements and its approach to second-hand games.

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Rachel Weber avatar
Rachel Weber: Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.
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