Recently I’ve been reading articles about the Kinect. It seems everyone who has played it has loved it and that’s fine; I personally don’t have an Xbox 360 nor the extra $150 for the Kinect but I understand how fun it could be. I then read an article stating how it costs somewhere around $56 to make and they are selling them for $150. That too is also okay. Everyone needs to make a profit and I understand. If they know that’s the max people will pay for it…hey, go for it.
One article in particular, however, concerns me. It’s about the possibilities of the Kinect and it’s seemingly intrusive advertising capabilities, specifically in capturing personal information. Dennis Durkin, CFO of Microsoft’s gaming division, recently said in a presentation at an investors conference that the Kinect is able to “cater which content we present to you based on who you are.” Durkin supposedly gave and example which was if people were watching a sporting event, the camera could see what jerseys they were wearing and deduce what team they support. Then advertisers would be able to specifically tailor to them.
To me, this example seems too intrusive. Some compared it to the same logic behind Facebook advertising, and to some extent it is, the difference being that with Facebook you voluntarily add information. If the example Durkin gave comes to fruition, then the Kinect would be taking information.
Now before you get all bent out of shape remember there would obviously be a Terms of Service to agree to or checkbox you would need to tick/untick in order for it to gather this information (at least I hope so), but what about the rest of the family and friends who come over who didn’t sign the ToS. It’s just the principle of the matter. This is potentially some scary technology for personal privacy in the future. Think about it, if this goes through without a hitch and there is no resistance to this tactic, then this could snowball and every company would want to jump on the bandwagon and eventually this type of tactic could be implemented in every piece of technology everywhere in the world. People are scared of Google already, I imagine Google executives are frothing at the mouth for this type of information.
I know this sounds a bit like a conspiracy theory, but I take my privacy very seriously and Microsoft has stated that they are serious about my privacy and the privacy of others as well. They also reiterate that they “do not use any information captured by Kinect for advertising targeting purposes,” at least for now. This is all good and swell but I still just see it as a stepping stone away from total lack of personal privacy. Good for advertisers and investors, bad for the privacy of the general populous.
Let me know what you guys think in the comments.