Home Gaming Kinect IS Spying on You

Kinect IS Spying on You

2 min read


Do you ever read the terms of service agreements that come with software, hardware and firmware updates? I know I don’t. I’m all too happy to scroll on to the end and click “yes.” One astute reader, liberty, took the time to read through the updated Xbox Live terms of service included with yesterday’s Xbox system update – and uncovered some pretty scary stuff.

Remember how we, via Microsoft’s Phil Spencer, assured you that Kinect wasn’t spying on you? It seems that might not be entirely factual; According to the terms of service, they can – and will use Kinect to monitor players.

Sections 9 and 12 of the updated terms of service are particularly scary :

If you accept the agreement, you “expressly authorize and consent to us accessing or disclosing information about you, including the content of your communications, in order to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft, our partners, or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the Service; or (c) act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public.”

Also scary? they reserve the right to monitor your voice and chat sessions using their new camera system. Personal privacy? Not so personal, not so private.

“You should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features (for example, voice chat, video and communications in live-hosted gameplay sessions) offered through the Service.” They obviously won’t – and can’t – monitor every single system at the same time, but they say that they have the right to do so “to the maximum extent permitted by law.”

Microsoft also “reserves the right at all times to disclose any information as necessary to satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request, or to edit, refuse to post or to remove any information or materials, in whole or in part, in Microsoft’s sole discretion.” Break the law in front of your Kinect system? You could be up against the law.

Thinking of disabling or bypassing any of these monitoring systems? Well, that’s illegal. Of course,the TOS has always included sections that one might deem questionable if they favoured privacy – but with the inclusion of camera, it’s edging ever closer to an Orwellian level of surveillance. It seems Big Brother really is watching you.

Read over the new terms of service here : Xbox.com

[Thanks to liberty for the tip]

Last Updated: November 2, 2010


  1. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 2, 2010 at 13:16

    With the Patriot Act and Patriot Act 2 fully entrenched in the states, it was only a matter of time before Big Business (in cahoots with the American government) wants to curb your civil liberties, by spying on you using commercial products. Think 1984 warmongering is a joke. Think again.. Comrade!

    It’s only a matter of time before Jacob Zuma, the NIA and Microsoft SA utilise Kinect to spy on you, after all, most gamers are generally white and middle-class. In other words, the enemies of the tripartheid Alliance!! Don’t give them more ammunition by jumping and waving your hands in font of kinect like a retard!

    Run for the hills, Comrades, grow a beard and join me on my hippy commune in the Kalahari.


    I know I’m making light of it, but it is a genuinely serious matter though, and the potential for data mining with Kinect is insane. That’s why I never go in front of the PS Move when it’s connected to the internet. Just in case! 😮 :cwy:


  2. Tarryn

    November 2, 2010 at 13:25

    You know, I’m guessing the Xbox LIVE Vision camera has exactly the same TOS. Tabloid sensationalism much?


  3. DuDe

    November 2, 2010 at 13:25

    LOL…..beter not yank in front of the TV :tongue:


  4. Milesh Bhana

    November 2, 2010 at 13:27

    the funny thing is that the kinect camera can “follow” you. Imagine walking around your living room, your xbox is off and the kinect camera follows you.
    That would creep me the phuck out.

    anyway, this is a warning to all to disconnect your kinect camera when you’re watching porn. NO-ONE wants to see that!


  5. fighthall

    November 2, 2010 at 13:30

    Nothing new?

    It makes sense, if you got a pirated game, it allows them to check if you have it and thus ban you.
    Making threats to other players that may result in murder or other? they can pick up on this and act.

    Imagine if we could all do what we pleased? Most xbox players are quite young, and imagine young johnny was playing a game and receives a video of some guy showing some private part at him?

    Well thats what i understand from this. :silly:


  6. lans

    November 2, 2010 at 13:30

    im glad people can see through microsoft’s, shock and awe marketing.


  7. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 2, 2010 at 13:32

    Au contraire, government spying on us is a much less threat than companies data mining and using our data in all sorts of nefarious ways. What you really should be asking is what is Microsoft doing with our data and what will it do with your late night Kinect party pictures? 😛


  8. Geoffrey Tim

    November 2, 2010 at 13:33

    That already happens far too regularly. ever tried playing Uno on XBL? 😛 More penises than chatroulette!


  9. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 2, 2010 at 13:36

    What is it with dudes and this urge to unleash their captains when the camera is on?

    There will be quite a few people trying to molest the tiger in kinectimals… ugh.. probably a good thing Milo will never be released.


  10. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 2, 2010 at 13:37

    I can see it all ready: Kudo Tsunodo masturbating to you masturbating to porn. :sick:


  11. fighthall

    November 2, 2010 at 13:41

    Think its their inner child screaming to be heard 😛


  12. Raymond

    November 2, 2010 at 14:04

    Anybody else notice that you need to be 18 to play on Live?

    “By selecting “ACCEPT” below, you are representing that you are 18 years old (and have reached the “age of majority” if that is not 18 years of age where you live)”


  13. Geoffrey Tim

    November 2, 2010 at 14:07

    Which is odd, considering there are provisions for child accounts on Live.


  14. GH Addict

    November 2, 2010 at 14:43

    Does this mean I have to wear pants when I am playing Guitar Hero @ 2am?


  15. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 2, 2010 at 14:50

    It means we all have to wear pants…


  16. Luna

    November 2, 2010 at 15:37

    This has *nothing* to do with marketing.


  17. lans

    November 2, 2010 at 15:47

    i was not speaking too you plz be respectful woman!


  18. Luna

    November 2, 2010 at 15:49

    Don’t start your crap again with me, lans. I simply said, and it’s right there in black and white, that this has nothing to do with marketing. Why did I say that? Because it’s true. Is this a problem? To an extent, yes it is, but it’s not marketing. The end user license agreement has nothing to do with marketing a product, as it is normally not seen in any way until you use the product. This has nothing to do with how they will sell Kinect. It only has an effect once you own and are using the product.


  19. Geoffrey Tim

    November 2, 2010 at 15:52

    Knock it off, folks. Please?


  20. medo

    November 2, 2010 at 15:53

    all this is telling you is that if you wimp out your dong to some 13 yearold girl using kinect then microsoft will report you to the cops and kick you off of xbox live….and if you try and sue them claiming that you got hurt while using kinect then you they will pull up the video feed of you playing it to debunk your claim…and you might end up in an ad for a game


  21. Luna

    November 2, 2010 at 15:53

    Geoff, I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve only explained myself. But if this is going to be a problem, then I will find a way to get it taken care of without making a problem as one person desires.


  22. Geoffrey Tim

    November 2, 2010 at 15:56

    Yeah, I know…but you two just seem to end up exploding at each other, and I’m trying to nip it in the bud.


  23. Luna

    November 2, 2010 at 15:58

    Listen, I stated a fact about how a EULA works. I wasn’t being a bitch, I was trying to participate in a conversation. lans does not have any right to tell me not to participate in a public conversation, especially when I’m not attacking him in any way at all. As a matter of fact, I was attacked and told I was not being spoken to and to be respectful. I will be taking care of this right now, because I refuse to allow this … person … to attack me every time I comment on something here.


  24. Nick de Bruyne

    November 2, 2010 at 16:31

    @lans – please dude, show some basic respect to other commenters. The point is that we don’t want to have to start moderating or deleting comments, so keep it cool folks.


  25. lans

    November 2, 2010 at 16:35

    yes luna, calm down its good for your heart!, go bother Acid,bobby, they more witty and willing to have a conversation


  26. Luna

    November 2, 2010 at 16:38

    Congrats, you piece of shit lans, you win! I’m gone. I’m done with this place because YOU HAVE RUINED IT. Now just go and die. Or don’t. I don’t care. I’m gone.


  27. Nathan Six

    November 2, 2010 at 16:38

    It seems that folks will do anything to help Kinect fail, its one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever witnessed in consumer behavior.

    Without precedence you are being horribly unprofessional by writing this article in the way that you have. Before claiming Microsoft will spy on us with Kinect, did you bother to read other TOS from other companies and products to see if the Kinect TOSA is any different or unique? It’s clear that you dont read these things very often, because if you did you would know that this kind of language is EXTREMELY common, and in many cases they use the same TOS for several products and just change a few lines unique to each product. Further more, what the language in these things appear to say, and what can and will be practiced is two very different things in most cases.

    I would suggest you re write or pull this write up before you get sued, far too many inaccuracies in this write up, talk about sensationalism,you are doing the exact thing people accuse Glen Beck of doing, are you a fan?


  28. lans

    November 2, 2010 at 16:40

    @nick this is me being respectful!
    seriously dude i know when im not wanted
    i won’t be dick and have you guys add moderating software cause of this foolishness,

    So ill be the bigger man and leave this site coz there is no way in a million years i can tolerate this person.
    you guys can keep Luna im out!



  29. Nathan Six

    November 2, 2010 at 16:42

    Medo is correct, in fact MS will not report you to the COPS, the COPS would approach MS and ask or order them to release the video, IF they have it, which they most likely would not since it is unlikely that MS will record every second of every Kinect session and store it on their servers.

    Most likely the COPS would set up a sting with MS to monitor an individual who was seeking out children for sex via Kinect technology, dirty pictures would probably not even get much more attention than a ban.


  30. Grant Hinds

    November 2, 2010 at 16:52

    Everyone just calm the hell down!!!


  31. Cole

    November 2, 2010 at 17:20

    Ever read google’s TOS?


  32. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 2, 2010 at 17:21

    What makes lazygamer one of the coolest sites to visit is the fact that comment sections are not moderated, however much of that depends on trust. They are trusting us to behave civilly and to treat others with respect. I know debates sometimes get heated, and we all try to fight under “insert appropriate gaming/console banner”, but at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter if you’re a PS3 man, or an Xbox 360 girl.


    • HvR

      May 27, 2013 at 14:57



  33. lans

    November 2, 2010 at 17:36

    Ok im still here i just read Luna’s comment. im actually sorry this time, you don’t have to leave the site im sorry for being sexist and hurting your feelings, but i am sometimes annoying by nature please don’t take it as a personal attack on you, if you want to stay i won’t give you any more grief, i did not know you were talking this so personally.


  34. lans

    November 2, 2010 at 17:37



  35. lanstroller

    November 2, 2010 at 17:43

    That’s what you get for being anal in the first place bud :/


  36. ikaris

    November 2, 2010 at 17:43

    Why did Luna get attacked? lol
    She was the most respectful of the lot, and most accurate.
    Let her rant if she wants.


  37. ikaris

    November 2, 2010 at 17:44

    No more smoking my medical marijuana infront of my xbox I guess. lol


  38. Dj Ron360

    November 2, 2010 at 17:56

    I don’t see where the problem is. If you’re not using it to do or say illegal things then you shouldn’t have to worry about anything. What they gonna do put you on the news jumping up and down playing kinect adventures (which may be cool)? The only ones who’ll worry are the ones who know they’re eventually gonna use it for some dumb s#!t! :w00t:


  39. lans

    November 2, 2010 at 18:14

    ok i have apologized to Luna on her blog thing http://www.ayumi-hamasaki.net

    so if she ever returns just don’t moderate her or anything please. i wont be a bother to you guys


  40. Poplin

    November 2, 2010 at 18:44

    That’s just silly. This just means if someone reports illegal activity they can check up on it, like when kids flash their penises at people in UNO games. Pretty sure this policy was already in place with the old live camera.


  41. kev

    November 2, 2010 at 20:56

    If your not doing anything wrong then they won’t be watching u.but I bet when they catch the pedifile next door to you u won’t b complaining


  42. Alex1sMach1ne

    November 2, 2010 at 22:17

    Haha Bobby Kotick, that last comment (PS3 man or Xbox Girl) is a ripper! Hahaha.. Not trolling, just found it funny.
    Lans and Luna, get a room… and turn off the Kinect 😉


  43. Alex1sMach1ne

    November 2, 2010 at 22:19

    I bet you meant ‘Calm the F*** down’ :tongue:


  44. Alex1sMach1ne

    November 2, 2010 at 22:21

    Shameless plug


  45. Payne

    November 2, 2010 at 22:45

    Whats the big deal? don’t break the law and you don’t have a problem…… also worth mentioning, laws are different around the world


  46. Gavin Mannion

    November 2, 2010 at 22:55

    What about when they launch a brand new product that you were talking about in private with your business partner… pretty sure you will be complaining then


  47. Christo le Grange

    November 2, 2010 at 23:26

    @Gavin, do something!!! lans is driving all the chics away!!……..again!….

    (..I can’t help but silently laugh my ass off in my sleeve, its like we’re this messed up redneck family…)


  48. lans

    November 2, 2010 at 23:39

    dude im sorry, i really did not understand what was going on i just wanted to win the argument i only realized when she left, my bad i will try to be more friendly but i really did not like people correcting me all the time…i understand sometimes but not all the time being corrected, and being forced to have a conversation.

    i have developed a friendly persona so don’t worry about me i won’t mess up your game!


  49. Kat

    November 3, 2010 at 04:33

    Looks like I’ll either be unplugging it or just putting something in front of it when mine isn’t in use.


  50. fuzz

    November 3, 2010 at 06:59

    wow. just wow. some guys apologizing for making a girl leave the site? dude, who cares? shes a big girl, if she gets bothered by shit people say online then thats her problem. why do people put there emotions in this bullshit anyways? stupid.


  51. Gavin Mannion

    November 3, 2010 at 07:06

    I don’t think it’s to much to ask that people have basic respect for others on this site. If someone wants to run wild then 4chan is more than willing to accept them.


  52. dan

    November 3, 2010 at 07:10

    i got xbox and theres noway id have something that can spy on you at home.


  53. NiteFenix

    November 3, 2010 at 07:24

    I have a realistic question.

    We’ve had mention that you could probably throw a cloth over the camera to avoid being seen. But what about audio?

    Surely they can still hear you if you’re plotting a terrorist attack.

    Will switching the unit off work or do you need to physically unplug it from the wall.

    My chief concern is, Nikola Tesla developed wireless electricity, so even if we plug it out, maybe Microsoft has implimented this technology and can hear us without the device being plugged in!

    *SHOCK* *HORROR*!!!


  54. NiteFenix

    November 3, 2010 at 07:25

    There’s a bit of Big Brother clandestine thrown in for good measure 😛


  55. Dr.Evil

    November 3, 2010 at 08:16

    What? No SEX while gaming? that’s enough to throw the KINETIC in to THE DEATH PIT!! :angry: THIS IS MY ROOM!!


  56. Fred

    November 3, 2010 at 08:40

    It’s ok , i’ve got nothing to hide. Freedom gets abused by the evil people anyway.


  57. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 3, 2010 at 10:45

    That’s what you think Fred, until they discover (through Kinect) that you have Mein Kampf in your bookshelf, and you find yourself crucified in the media, because supposedly everyone think you’re a Neo-Nazi, but in fact, the only reason you have Mein Kampf is because you studied history, and you needed it for a 2nd year project, but nooo… the police are too busy probing your anus to listen to your screams.
    True story!


  58. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 3, 2010 at 10:52

    PS Fred, Martin Niemöller says hello!


  59. bradley

    November 3, 2010 at 12:33

    @commenter and everyone else causing a stir – Here’s what…dont buy the kinect then! Don’t use social sites like Facebook, Don’t use google services. They all do blatant data collection in one form or the other, yet I don’t hear you all complaining then. Even if you complain, you all still use it. So buck up…if you all really had a serious concern, you would be ditching this unit and other services in life.


  60. Nevets

    November 3, 2010 at 13:56

    In good faith I think if your dumb enough to do stupid S@#t in front of a camera thats connected to the web they should use it against you; MS is just protecting them selves due to a little case where a family of a known pedophile tried to sue after MS gave the feds his home address because the bastard convinced a ten or eleven year boy to pose nude in front of camera in exchange for XBL points check it out it happened in central Florida


  61. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 3, 2010 at 14:20

    @Christo I got dips on our cousin, y’all!


  62. Kirkpad

    November 3, 2010 at 21:39

    So, no more bong hoots on the couch then?

    Guess I have to go to the kitchen.


  63. Mikey

    November 4, 2010 at 05:36

    So I figure the only way to stop our, now imminent, Orwellian future is to NOT buy the Kinect? I can assure that at least I will never knowingly own an item that can watch/record anything I don’t publicly state. If I’d wanted motion capture I’d have bought a WII!!!!!!


  64. Christo Le Grange

    November 4, 2010 at 09:04

    hahaha…just hope ‘THEY’ aren’t reading this blog…right now…at this very second…mmmm


  65. Christo Le Grange

    November 4, 2010 at 09:11

    no worries lans…for me, personally, between my friends on our gmail threads, we constantly tell each other to “F#c%-off and die” but then we’re still able to drink beers together around the same table on the weekend…so I must be a bit vain of me to expect it to be the same over here.
    So as contemporary poets, ERASURE would say..”Oh baby please give a little respect…ooo-hhhooowww”

    but its all good, just dont chase away girls or, as Bobby pointed out, our cousins for that matter.


  66. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 4, 2010 at 09:38

    Always hide your bong from a webcam enabled peripheral!!


  67. old school gamer

    November 4, 2010 at 19:35

    this is a very scary thing indeed, microsoft and sony placing a camera and mic in our homes. if it aint pluged in to the internet not a problem. but it is and broadcasting our life styles and habbits back to them or who ever they sell the infomation to (would u let your goverment do this). this is not normal and we as adults know it. the kids do not know anything diffrent and this is what they rely on, get the next genaration to acept it so i become the norm. next will be tvs as they getting internet connections now. i been playing games since the atari 2600 and over the last couple of years i seen games change from being games to tools of polictical views. i medal of honor ,which is set in a now day war, killing the so called terroists. this is just my view.

    peace to all


  68. Tim

    November 5, 2010 at 04:59

    Maybe this is just me, but i am now getting the feeling that Luna & Ians are the same person. Just the way this conversation has gone even after this post it seems fake to me. But i could be completely wrong and i mean no disrespect to either of them if they are different people.


  69. JDE

    November 5, 2010 at 05:07

    It’s confirmed: Kinect is just a front for Skynet. It’s watching. 😆


  70. BiG DaH

    November 5, 2010 at 19:09

    Nice to see other people are picking up on this too as I had also reported on this when the new terms came out. Aside from the potential of it being scary, it’s downright annoying and frustrating.

    Thanks for keeping your customers best interests in mind, Microsoft.


  71. Caryll

    December 8, 2010 at 15:52

    So does this mean that if anything classified is said or done in front of a kinect, that Microsoft is going to go through ALL of the collected data to make sure they aren’t in possesion of state secrets? Or will they be accused of treason because they WON’T be able to prove they did or did not record anything. Didn’t Furbies get banned because of the potential of leaking state secrets? Isn’t this the same thing times 1000?


  72. SubXaero ZA

    December 8, 2010 at 16:45

    It can’t spy on you if you’re not on xbox live


  73. Blackhat

    December 15, 2010 at 12:09

    Anyone ever just think of disconnecting the ethernet cord/unplugging the wireless adapter? :shocked:


    • TheRevanchist

      April 9, 2013 at 18:13

      That will work until Durango comes out, which will require that the Kinect be connected at all times to work AND MS is all but confirming that this console will always have to be online to play.


  74. Josiah Evans

    January 19, 2011 at 05:26

    Ian I will be the ass. Leave it to a woman to convert a conversation about gaming hardware to a giant sissy board about feelings. I frankly don’t understand how her opinion is relevant anyway. If text on a computer screen makes you cry, then how on earth do you navigate the insult mine field that is xbox live. By the way my friend pulled up a picture of my living room from his laptop in my driveway.


  75. gibberish@yahoo.com

    May 30, 2013 at 03:03

    When I am not using kinect, I place a standing card in front of the cameras that says STOP LOOKING AT ME. and also all my laptop cameras are covered with black tape. And just to add in some fun, every now and then we will get together around the laptops and kinect, and talk about how ants are taking over the world, and they are truely the new super power, if they only had a single leader.


    • Karen G

      May 30, 2013 at 03:27

      Thanks for sharing that. Gave us a good laugh imagining them calling the looney bin on the people who think the ants are taking over the world. HEHE


      • Damian

        May 31, 2013 at 00:27

        I keep hearing this one so I really want to reply to it, Kinect uses heat sensors it can see through anything walls, lead, an entire car blocking it will not stop it from seeing you period it sees heat not you.


  76. stickyball

    August 2, 2013 at 16:43

    Lol, just read this, little late? This makes me want to get an xBox and play some sports games on the Kinect naked… lol. Maybe jerk it a little on the couch, haha. They’ll love it.


  77. InsanityFlea

    August 2, 2013 at 16:47

    Well if they want to see my wang while I game naked, that’s their punishment. THEY want to spy on me.


  78. godalmight

    August 14, 2014 at 23:19

    yeah i keep my cam and mic covered on my laptop and such…. and disconnect the kinect when not using it…


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