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New Xbox Live terms ask users to commit to security, agree to share data with partners

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Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

A new terms of use agreement for Xbox Live will roll out later this week, Microsoft announced today, one that requires its users to agree to commit to keeping their account secure and, more importantly, allow the company to share certain personal data with its partners.

According to a post on Xbox Wire, the new Xbox Live terms of use "now asks all users to commit to keeping their contact information up to date" in an effort to bolster security.

"Protecting your account from unauthorized access and fraud is a top priority for us," the post reads. "It helps keep Xbox Live safer and more secure for everyone."

Microsoft's new terms also cover what information the company can share with partners who publish apps, like HBO Go, Netflix, ESPN, and others that require a separate user account.

"If you choose to link this account with your Xbox Live account, we confirm key data points across the accounts by sharing data such as your name, address, email address and date of birth with the partner," the post reads. "In this TOU update, customers agree to allow Microsoft to share this information in this manner."

Microsoft's current terms of use, effective as of July 2013, can be read at Xbox Live and Games for Windows Live TOU indicates that Microsoft can share certain personal information provided to the company, but the updated terms appear to grant the company broader use of that data.

We require certain permissions in order for you to evaluate or use and for us to enable the features and functions of the Xbox LIVE/Games for Windows-LIVE service. These features and functions include leaderboards, live-hosted gameplay, achievements, tournaments, and gamer profile sharing. If you evaluate or use or we enable these features and functions, you grant Microsoft and its affiliates, resellers, distributors, service providers, partners, and suppliers (each, a "Microsoft party") the following permissions: Microsoft parties may use, track, store, copy, distribute, broadcast, transmit, publicly display and perform, and reproduce: (i) your game scores; (ii) your game play sessions; (iii) your presence on the Xbox LIVE/Games for Windows-LIVE service; (iv) the time that you spend on or within particular portions of the Xbox LIVE/Games for Windows-LIVE service; (v) portions of the Xbox LIVE/Games for Window-LIVE service that are displayed on your monitor or screen and the duration of that display; (vi) rankings, statistics, gamer profiles, avatars, and content that you may submit; and (vii) other usage information. These permissions apply with or without attribution to you, your gamertag or avatar. We may use these permissions without notice or compensation to you of any kind. To avoid any confusion, we have the right to make information pertaining to your use of, and gameplay on, Xbox LIVE available through Games for Windows-LIVE, and vice versa. If you choose to link your Services account with the account of a Microsoft party on the Xbox LIVE service (for example, a game publisher or app provider), you agree that Microsoft may share limited account information with that Microsoft party. Such account information may include name, address, email and age but will not include any credit card or other payment information.

Microsoft's overarching online privacy statement indicates that Xbox Live account holders can opt out of sharing some of that information, but it's unclear if the following will change.

If you have an or Xbox LIVE account, you can set your contact preferences and choose whether to share your contact information with Xbox partners by accessing My Xbox on the Xbox 360 console or on the website. To access these settings on the website, select My Xbox, Profile then Contact Preferences. On the Xbox 360 console, select My Xbox, Profile then Online Safety.

We've contacted the company for additional clarification.