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Kinect May Be Listening To You Without You Knowing It

sjohnson
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Posted November 8, 2010 - By Stephen Johnson

Microsft Unveils Kinect, Formerly Project Natal

The Microsoft Kinect may be eavesdropping on you, listening to your most intimate, personal conversations without you even knowing about it. If you're not careful, Kinect will broadcast audio from your home to anyone who's playing video games with you.

Our editorial director Eric Eckstein was playing an online first-person shooter last night, and overheard both sides of a teammate's conversation with his wife. The guy was totally unaware that his conversation was being broadcast, and both he and his wife were clearly heard.

The problem is this: When you initially set up the Kinect, it asks you whether you want to use Kinect to chat, and if you say "yes," "on" becomes the default setting for Kinect's microphone. This lets you use Kinect to communicate in non-Kinect game (so no more headset) but if you're playing a multiplayer game, your Kinect's mic will be on, and unlike a headset, the Kinect will be picking up audio from the entire room.

So this is a word of warning: If you don't want your multiplayer friends hearing every detail of your life while you're online, be aware of the Kinect's microphone settings, and mute it if you have to. There is an upside to the situation. I expect YouTube to be flooded with hilarious, overheard conversations very soon.

Kinect May Be Listening To You Without You Knowing It
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