In its hour-long Xbox One presentation, Microsoft blazed through announcements for its new next-generation console, including one ostensibly important feature that may raise some eyebrows: the new Xbox will always be listening to you, even when it's turned off.
(In fact, the new console needs the Kinect to operate at all — it's not an optional add-on like with the Xbox 360.) Even when the console's turned off, users can simply say "Xbox On" to power up — which means the new Kinect will be listening to you in your living room at all times.
In fact, the new camera and microphone system is so sensitive to your presence, that Microsoft says the new Kinect can even read your heartbeat while you're exercising, and recognize and process audio that's personalized to specific individuals.
"This is rocket science level stuff," Xbox's Marc Whitten said during today's reveal.
Of course, that's not necessarily a gloom-and-doom situation, and listening doesn't mean recording.
Still, compared to privacy concerns over a device like Google Glass, which doesn't actively listen to its surroundings at all times, the new Xbox could pose greater privacy implications — especially if the system, which many users will connect to the internet, is compromised remotely by a malicious actor.
"If I'm recording you, I have to stare at you — as a human being," Google Glass engineer Charles Mendis told The Verge when asked about Glass' privacy concerns.
"And when someone is staring at you, you have to notice." But will you notice a fixed camera in your living room that's always listening?
This isn't the first time Microsoft has dealt with privacy issues related to Kinect.
When the first iteration of Kinect headed to the market in 2010, Microsoft's Dennis Durken suggested to investors that the peripheral might pass data to advertisers about how you look, play, and speak.