A version of this article appeared in print on January 06, 2016, in the Health & Family section of the Chicago Tribune with the headline "Is my Xbox spying on me?Nearly 4 Million of our users are watching over 60 000 cameras worldwide!Even if you believe that, though, no company can promise that information traveling through the Web will remain safe from hackers or spies.
Once it knows you, you simply say "Xbox on," and the console springs to life.The Kinect understands all kinds of other voice and gesture commands, creating an immersive gaming experience that is definitely cool.Just to be safe, though, I'll tell my kids to keep the rec room tidy when they're playing the Xbox.I wouldn't want the NSA to think we're a bunch of slobs.However, indoor cameras serve a much broader purpose.
Indoor security cameras can help you keep tabs on pets, kids, and the overall security of your home.
Like it or not, our children are growing up in a time when their virtual lives are entwined with their real ones.
Something like the Kinect can help them develop some healthy paranoia, while allowing them to still be a part of this Brave New World.
I couldn't find any examples of Kinect-related privacy breaches, but that doesn't mean they're impossible: The Guardian, relying on documents provided by Snowden, reported last year that a British spy agency had evaluated the device for its "potential and capabilities."In July, the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center included the Kinect on a list of "always on" devices that it said could be used for unlawful surveillance. I understand why many parents wouldn't want something like the Kinect anywhere close to their kids, but after reviewing its privacy settings, I'm confident that hacking crews won't be peering at my children as they play "Just Dance 2016."Well, relatively confident: There's no such thing as perfect security on the Internet, and engaging in online activities means accepting the risk that whatever you're doing could be intercepted and used against you.
As with anything else, you should take sensible precautions — in the case of the Kinect, that could mean using a "privacy cover" to block the camera when you're not using it — and stay vigilant, while understanding that those steps might not be enough.
Today you can buy dinosaurs bears and even a Barbie doll that carry on conversations with the help of remote servers.