In a disturbing turn of events, Microsoft’s new commitment to transparency has given some Xbox owners a bit of a fright. Though the company intended to explain more about what sort of data it collects (and subsequently gives out) from its players, many would likely have preferred to be kept in the dark.
GameSpot recently reported on a new intiative by Microsoft to be more open about the kind of data its collects and distributes. While good on the surface, things quickly took a turn for the worse after they revealed exactly what they could be sending to game and app publishers. Namely, a person’s name.
In addition to more standard information like games played, play style, or time in an app, Microsoft could also be sending a player’s country of origin and age range, as well as anything else included in a person’s Xbox Live profile. This would include their real name if this is something a person has chosen to enter.
Why a publisher would need this information or what they would intend to do with it isn’t known at this time, mainly because Microsoft claims they don’t know, either. In their statement on the matter (automatically displayed when a person logs into Xbox Live for the first time since the update), the company claims that it does not control what a publisher may do with a person’s information after they have given it to them, which doesn’t exactly breed confidence.
In addition to simple information, though, a person’s social data is also up for grabs, including “interactions and communications” with other players. Whether this means only written messages or that the Xbox One will now be recording everything a player says over the microphone is not known.
As bad as this may sound, there is a way to avoid it from happening. In both a person’s gaming console and through their account login on Microsoft’s webpage, players can choose to revoke access to their information, preventing it from being given out to publishers. By doing this, your data will hopefully be protected from any prying eyes.