NOT ONLY HAVE Microsoft contractors been eavesdropping on your Skype conversations, but they've also been listening to you barking at your Xbox.
So says a report from Motherboard, which reveals that contractors began to record and listen to Xbox One users following the launch of the Microsoft Kinect system in 2014 and continued to do so during the company's switch to Cortana in 2016.
The audio recordings were supposed to be triggered by the words "Xbox" and "Hey Cortana," but were sometimes captured by mistake, which means staffers were often listening to private conversations.
Worse still, contractors speaking to Motherboard said that most of the recorded voices they reviewed were those of children, which while hardly surprising given we're talking about a game console, could likely in breach of the FTC's Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
However, according to one contractor, the Xbox recordings weren't as salacious as the, er, "intimate" conversations heard by contractors hired to listen to Skype conversations.
"Most of the Xbox related stuff I can recall doing was obviously unintentional activations with people telling Cortana 'No' as they were obviously in the middle of a game and doing normal game chat," the contractor said.
"The Xbox stuff was actually a bit of a welcome respite, honestly. It was frequently the same games. Same DLCs. Same types of commands."
Microsoft said in a statement that it "stopped reviewing any voice content taken through Xbox for product improvement purposes a number of months ago", which is unsurprising given Cortana has been removed from the console and only can be used for Xbox commands through companion apps for Android and iOS.
"We no longer felt it was necessary, and we have no plans to restart those reviews," the Microsoft spokesperson continued.
"We occasionally review a low volume of voice recordings sent from one Xbox user to another when there are reports that a recording violated our terms of service and we need to investigate. This is done to keep the Xbox community safe and is clearly stated in our Xbox terms of service."
Microsoft isn't alone in hiring humans to review audio; it was recently revealed that Amazon, Apple and Google are also employing staffers to review AI recordings. Since, all three firms have suspended their respective programmes. µ
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