You may have heard about or came across the news regarding whistle blower Edward Snowden, who recently leaked the fact that the US government has been spying and collecting data on pretty much everyone and still continue to do so. It was also claimed by Edward Snowden that the intelligence community is entirely focused on getting intelligence wherever possible and by any means necessary. This in fact is pretty much evident by the recent news stating how Microsoft literally handed the U.S, NSA, FBI and CIA access to encrypted user videos, audio and text communications. Which sounds like Microsoft have been giving access to services such as MSN, Windows Live Messenger, Skype and Telecommunications.
Knowing all this raises alarm bells especially in my head due to the fact that this directly impacts on the gaming community as the Xbox 360 console is very likely something the US government could have tapped into or at least had some form of access. This might also probably explain the reason China has put in place a foreign game console ban – as they probably knew this was possible.
Now this theory also pieces up nicely and has evidence backing it suggesting that the Kinect add on for the Xbox 360 also enhances the amount of data Microsoft can share with the US government. It is also key to know that the Kinect was developed by an Israeli based company called PrimeSense. You may not know this but the US government also have a very strong relationship with Israel – so the Xbox could be more than just a games console and actually a political monitoring device so to speak.
Xbox One a spying tool?
The case also strengthens with the recent reveal of the Xbox One console – which first of all is only available in a package with the Kinect camera. This means all consumers who purchases a Xbox One console is forced to purchase the Kinect camera which is not the case with the PS4 where you purchase the camera as an add on and this is not forced down the consumer’s throat.
The Xbox One was also originally planned to be an ‘Always Online’ console. Meaning it will only give the consumer full functionality and access to their games when connected to the internet. Which in my opinion is a silly move by a company of Microsoft’s standard, which makes you think was the US government a major influence when making this decision initially? As it was obviously going to distraught consumers by forcing a digital only environment when the competing consoles PS4 and Wii U were offering their consumers flexibility.
Luckily however due to the massive response from the Xbox community, Microsoft decided to make a U turn and remove the ‘feature’ which required the console to always be online. I guess there wasn’t any point in having a surveillance device that no one was really going to buy – I guess!
Purchasing an Xbox One?
Now even though Microsoft have decided to go against the always online functionality; I am still thinking whether or not I will buy the Xbox One going by the recent news of surveillance and privacy concerns. Although I see myself as a hardcore gamer and would love to pick up all 3 major consoles this upcoming generation as I did in the current generation; concerns like this are forcing me to think otherwise. Now I am not a paranoid individual with a tin foil hat, but I do feel that privacy should be respected and I will not be willing to support a company who is going to go against certain principles.
So what are your thoughts about this? Am I being paranoid and thinking too much into it? Or did I hit the nail on the head. Let us know in the comments section below!
For full details on the Microsoft recent handover to CIA please see: Source