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Xbox One's Kinect may violate proposed government privacy bill

The recently-proposed We Are Watching You Act, which seeks to prevent corporations from storing and sharing personal data, could affect the Xbox One's next-gen Kinect, according to a statement on United States House of Representatives official website.

The bill, proposed by Congressman Michael Capuano (D-MA) and Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC), would require companies to explicitly ask the consumer's permission to store their data. This would necessitate the technology in question, in this case the next-gen Kinect, to display an opt-in message and on-screen warning reading "We are watching you" every time the device begins recording.

The device would also have to inform the user how the data is collected and who will see it. If the user declines to allow the device to record and share, the company — Microsoft in this instance — would have to offer a new service identical to the existing one save for its ability to record.

"This may sound preposterous but it is neither a joke nor an exaggeration," Capuano wrote. "These DVRs would essentially observe consumers as they watch television as a way to super-target ads. It is an incredible invasion of privacy. Given what we have recently learned about the access that the government has to the phone numbers we call, the emails we send and the websites we visit, it is important for consumers to decide for themselves whether they want this technology. Think about what you do in the privacy of your own home and then think about how you would feel sharing that information with your cable company, their advertisers and your government."

"Allowing this type of technology to be installed in the homes of individuals without their consent would be an egregious invasion of privacy," added Jones. "When the government has an unfortunate history of secretly collecting private citizens' information from technology providers, we must ensure that safeguards are in place to protect Americans' rights."

Polygon has reached out to Microsoft and Congressman Capuano and will share more information as we receive it.

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