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Contractors working for Microsoft have listened to the audio of Xbox users speaking in their homes in order to improve the console’s voice command features, Motherboard has learned. The audio was supposed to be captured following a voice command like “Xbox” or “Hey Cortana,” but contractors said that recordings were sometimes triggered and recorded by mistake. The news is the latest in a string of revelations that show contractors working on behalf of Microsoft listen to audio captured by several of its products. Motherboard previously reported that human contractors were listening to some Skype calls as well as audio recorded by Cortana, Microsoft’s Siri-like virtual assistant. "Xbox commands came up first as a bit of an outlier and then became about half of what we did before becoming most of what we did," one former contractor who worked on behalf of Microsoft told Motherboard. Motherboard granted multiple sources in this story anonymity as they had signed non-disclosure agreements. The former contractor said they worked on Xbox audio data from 2014 to 2015 before Cortana was implemented into the console in 2016. When it launched in November 2013, the Xbox One had the capability to be controlled via voice commands with the Kinect system. Straight away, some users and commentators were concerned with the idea of Kinect listening to Xbox users, waiting for commands such as "Xbox on." Microsoft said in a statement at the time "Kinect for Xbox 360 was designed and built with strong privacy protections in place and the new Kinect will continue this commitment."  For further details please visit OUR FORUM.

 

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