One of the biggest knocks against the Xbox One — DRM policies aside — has been the mandatory Kinect. Already bundled with the console, the Kinect 2.0 must be connected to the Xbox One for it to function; although, the camera can be "switched off" if the user wishes to do so. Still, Microsoft could hit a snag with its Kinect, which has the ability to watch and listen to its users while active.
The new "We Are Watching You Act," proposed by representatives Michael Capuano (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC), looks to place restrictions on technology that monitors and records the "personal activities" of American citizens. Although the language of the press release only specifically mentions technology for digital video recorders (DVRs), it's quite possible the Act could expand to that of the "services" offered by Kinect, should it pass.
If the "We Are Watching You Act" does go through, consumers would have to first give consent to using such recording technology. Furthermore, Microsoft would be required to inform users on "how collected information will be used, and who will have access to the data." Lastly, when the recording device is in use, the words "WE ARE WATCHING YOU would appear," and in large enough font to be readable from a distance.
Should consumers opt out of the new technology, companies would be forced to offer a "video service that does not collect this information, but is otherwise identical in all respects." Perhaps with the ability to switch off your Kinect, Microsoft and the Xbox One could steer clear any potential trouble.
Again, the proposed Bill only specifically references DVR technology, but with the Kinect able to watch and listen to Xbox One owners I could easily see a similar type of requirement. Surely, the words "WE ARE WATCHING YOU" won't bode well for certain customers already wary and skeptical of Microsoft's plans. Microsoft has been adamant in assuring gamers that the Xbox One's Kinect won't spy on them. Do you trust them?