We live in a world where CCTV is a fact of life for certain countries. A hot button issue stateside has been the controversial news about the alleged invasion of privacy powers given to the NSA. News continues to roll out information about the NSA working alongside the most popular browsers and software firms. However, many of the consumers who are up in arms about the infringement of their liberty may be purchasing a type of nanny spy camera and bringing it voluntarily into their living room.
The Microsoft Kinect was unveiled as a motion-detecting camera peripheral for the Xbox 360. It maintained its popularity and was announced as a required accessory for the latest console, the Xbox One. As the console hardware has advanced, so has the specs and technology in the latest Kinect model. Microsoft came under heavy scrutiny as they announced that their newest console would require a 24/7 internet connection and the Kinect would always stay on, even when the console it is attached to wasn't. Because of negative feedback and press, Microsoft has been quick to retcon some of their early plans. However, the Kinect is always on.
The technology of the Kinect is so advanced that it can recognize your body and facial structures and immediately sign you in to your gaming profile. The former COO for Microsoft's gaming department described that the Kinect will soon be able to recognize the objects in your TV room and cater targeted advertising based on the information the Kinect collects. He said, "We can cater which content we present to you based on who you are. How many people are in the room when a game is being played." Microsoft has since been quick to rebut the failed strategy by issuing a statement saying, "Microsoft has a strong track record of implementing some of the best privacy protection measures in the industry. We place great importance on the privacy of our customers' information and the safety of their experiences."
In reality, the NSA requires legislation and permission to request content from a corporation. The chances of the NSA watching you eat Cheetos and binge-watch Netflix is an infinitely rare possibility. However, hackers may prove to be a hidden threat. This has long been an issue of home security and nanny cameras. During the 2013 Black Hat Internet Security Convention, the Kinect came up on a list of tech with the high potential for hacking. As long as the Xbox constantly updates the software for the Kinect, this won't be a major issue for the average consumer.
If you are inclined to use the Kinect as a personal nanny cam, it is possible. However, you need to "hack" the device using your personal computer. This will essentially command the Kinect to start recording based on motion activation. The quality of its camera and the lens scope is fantastic and even records using infrared for night vision.
There are many pros and cons to using the Xbox peripheral camera. You can simply tell the console "Xbox on" to turn on the system or "Xbox TV" to switch from gaming to watching TV. This is all done without ever having to find the remote. You can even set the Kinect to record what is happening in your house while you're away. The privacy threats of the Microsoft Kinect are largely hearsay at this point, but the company has been very reactive to eliminate any bad press about the camera that must always stay on.
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