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Government Privacy Games

The Spy In Our Living Room 148

An anonymous reader writes "Ben Kuchera at Polygon ponders the surveillance capabilities of our gaming consoles in light of recent NSA and GCHQ revelations. 'Xbox One Kinect can see in the dark. It can keep a moving human being in focus without motors. It knows how to isolate voices from background noise. The privacy implications of having a device that originally couldn't be removed pointed at your living room at all times was always kind of scary, and that fear has been at least partially justified.' Kuchera, like many of us, habitually disconnects cameras and microphones not currently in use. But he also feels a sense of inevitability about the whole thing: 'If the government wants this information they're going to get it, no matter what we do with our gaming consoles. It's important to pay attention to what our government is doing, but this issue is much bigger than our gaming consoles, and we open ourselves up to much greater forms of intrusion on a daily basis.'"
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The Spy In Our Living Room

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  • 1984 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slapout ( 93640 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @06:51PM (#46371519)

    Reminds me of the TVs in "1984".

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @06:56PM (#46371561) Homepage

    What if I put an XBox360 in a locked room with no windows, turned it on with a kinect camera pointing at a sign which threatens a top political figure. If someone acts on it, how would they justify their actions? Legally it would be extremely questionable and ultimately, it would not be a threat as much as it would be a trap for the government to fall into. After all, discovery would result in all manner of details which should enter public record. ...or I could disappear into a puff of darkness.

  • by dtjohnson ( 102237 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @07:02PM (#46371625)
    The landline telephones in the old USSR didn't hang up when the user put the handset back in the cradle and so people routinely put a pillow over them.
  • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @07:25PM (#46371837)

    Ben Kuchera is a fucking tool who has no business writing about anything. The same goes for Polygon.
    Kuchera was one of the assmunches on the front lines defending MS's initial DRM and always-online schemes for the XBOX One.

    His opinions were so bad and so obviously paid-for that he got kicked out of Penny Arcade for shit like this [] (I think they pulled it down because it was so bad) and this [] .
    Penny fucking Arcade realized how shitty he was, Yes, that Penny Arcade. The one run by the no-standards shills that did an instant 180 from gamers to tools once MS started paying them. The PA that bullies its own fans and offers a kickstarter to remove ads from their massively-profitable website, with stretch goals to remove more ads, but still not all the ads.

    Ben Kuchera's internet fame was spawned from PA, and he became such an insufferable goon that even PA realized he needed to be cut loose. He shat around Arse Technica for a while and now he's shitting it up at Polygon.

    We all know games "journalism" is about one of the most laughable things ever, but Kuchera and Polygon represent the fucking highest echelon of shilling, shit-flinging, and all around douchebaggery. There is zero integrity involved with Polygon as a whole and with Kuchera as a person. You shouldn't simply distrust their reviews, news, opinions, etc., you should actively trust it to be complete and utter paid-for horseshit.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by memnock ( 466995 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @09:45PM (#46372811)

    ... But he also feels a sense of inevitability about the whole thing: 'If the government wants this information they're going to get it, no matter what we do with our gaming consoles. ...

    Sure, if you keep thinking it's okay to keep your mouth shut and roll over. I suppose though that at least he is writing about this and spreading the word, so he's not just keeping his mouth shut.

    But the way he makes it seem like a foregone conclusion to me just doesn't sit well with me.

  • by Trax3001BBS ( 2368736 ) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @01:45AM (#46373899) Homepage Journal

    And that's just too bad as I'd love to bash MS and their Xbox. -PS4 future owner.

    I just purchased a SAMSUNG UN32F6300AFXZA is it 120Hz or not being a running question? I use it as a 32" monitor, and it has one hell of a display []

    This HDTV is decked out, WiFi and hardwired, lots of things to keep one occupied, even has it's own web browser, Voice commands, Turn on , Turn off (I guess), and, "Gestures" it reads your body language or maybe just your hand, and face recognition. What you might not see, is my reluctance to set it up to just a SamSung account.

    As usual I read the ToS's and the privacy policy of the system when I set it up;( It's required reading or else you just click on ok and continue) It mentions the privacy policy in passing (a link) in the ToS's, When you enter the "Smart Hub" area your shown another privacy policy (previous link) that shows this HDTV is one hell of a data miner, what's collected is placed in a data base, kept and based as per South Korea laws (jurisdiction).

    Why would it do this? It's for the "S Recommendation", "Find something good to watch. Simply click the recommend button on the remote to get instant recommended shows that are on now". (from link above)

    Cause it should know who you are and what you like; if you've had this HDTV 6 months or more it should know you and your sister apart, or a request to "show me something dirty" could go horribly wrong.

    A person with this set up in their place would most likely have it linked to the Lan, A Web cam setup to read gestures and face recognition, a microphone turned on for the voice commands. All the requirements of an Xbox plus more (the constant Internet connection) while not required to be connected all the time, most likely once it's set-up it will stay in that configuration.

    I've looked and can't find a ToS or Privacy policy easily. I just know what I read and have blocked at the router level for two reasons. I use it as a monitor and don't need it as an 240Hz LCD HDTV, my Panasonic 600Hz Plasma HDTV takes care of that feature poking fun at refresh rates and the big lie) - The second reason is Samsung tries to access and work with your FaceBook account and if you don't have one, highly suggest you get one. Facebook being a third party would have access to all of SamSung's data on you (no basis for that, would seem a given so to me).

    I really would like to read the ToS again I positive it's against Samsung's ToS to watch pornography on this HDTV. :}

    To opt out:
    (Samsung may need to ask you to provide follow-up information in the order to duly process an E-mail request).

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.