Wires Crossed #119 – June 18

Will The Xbox One Be Snooping On You?

Will The Xbox One Be Snooping On You?
There is concern in the United States that the Xbox One’s built-in Kinect technology might be used to gather data for advertisers on what people are doing at home. It is believed – although not yet proven – that not only will Microsoft collect information via the Kinect technology on what ads people are watching on television but even observe anything within the peripheral view of the Kinect’s camera to get an idea of peoples’ buying habits. A couple of US congressmen are putting a bill together to nix the intrusion by giving consumers the option to opt out if they wish. Appropriately called the We Are Watching You Act, it is a bipartisan piece of legislation that those in the gaming industry are hoping to be adopted as soon as possible.

How Much Information Does Yahoo Give Law Enforcement Agencies?
And staying with snooping, in case you’ve been hiding under a rock then you’ll know that there has been a firestorm in the United States recently about the country’s internal government security department, the National Security Agency (NSA), collecting data on US citizens. Americans like their freedom, and if you mess with it they get a little antsy. Yahoo is the latest company to admit that it has given over information to law enforcement agencies to the tune of 12-13,000 documents, although they have refused to say how many were under the controversial Foreign Intelligence Security Act (FISA) due to the US government using the ‘classified’ argument. Are you watching Julian Assange and Edward Snowden?

Ubisoft Hit Up Fans For PC Version Of Game
File this one under “You Don’t Know Your Audience” or “Unusual Marketing Ploys” – either way it’s a weird one for us. Game publisher Ubisoft is releasing Tom Clancy’s Division for the PlayStation and Xbox consoles, leaving PC users out in the cold. One PC gamer felt so aggrieved he started an online petition demanding a PC version. Having collected more than 50,000 signatures, Ubisoft is apparently encouraging computer gamers to sign. We think – although it’s not spelt out – that if enough signatures are collected then a PC version will be forthcoming, which leads us back to our first sentence with Ubisoft coming out the winner either way. If they don’t know their audience then maybe they should start, and if the online petition is successful then they’ve found an audience for the game without having to put in any effort.

Facebook Boosts Organ Donors
Facebook has taken a few hits over the past 12 months with privacy and advertising issues, but we are pleased to report a feel good story from the social networking company. It added a ‘donor’ status field to your profile information so people can know if you wish to be a donor or not, which in turn has led to a two-fold increase in the number of people who are willing to donate their organs if the unthinkable happens. With the US Department of Health and Human Services stating that up to 18 people die a day waiting for transplants, this kind of initiative is a boon for those running transplant programs. Well done Facebook.

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