Kinect and Xbox One Privacy

Xbox One and Kinect offer easy and approachable ways to control your games and entertainment with your voice and gestures. By recognizing you, Xbox One can tailor personal experiences and customize content just for you. To do this, Xbox One has to know certain data about you, such as how your Kinect device is working and usage patterns in how you play games or use your voice for search. This data allows you to control and play games and allows us to provide better search results.

Whenever we collect data, we want to make sure it’s the right choice for you. In this case, some people worry about the data collected by the Kinect, because it may contain personal photos of them or track their movements. That’s why we provide choices like the controls described on this page. For all the details about the data, we recommend reviewing the Xbox section of our Privacy Statement.

How the Kinect and Xbox One use data to work for you

Kinect and Xbox One can collect several types of data, some of which directly affects how well the Kinect and Xbox One work and your ability to control and play games. Microsoft doesn’t share any data collected by the Kinect sensor with third-party partners, nor is it used for marketing or advertising purposes.

Third-party partners may collect data through their games or apps to deliver Kinect experiences, to understand how customers use their Kinect experiences, and to improve performance or even to help plan new experiences. They’re not permitted to use the information for marketing purposes, such as selling you games or services, or for personalizing advertising. Also, third-party partners aren’t allowed to collect player personal information without review and approval by Microsoft.

Types of data Kinect and Xbox One collect

Operational data

This information allows us to deliver basic services and helps us continuously improve Kinect and Xbox One performance. As you play, we collect information on how your Kinect device and platform software are functioning, usage patterns within the Xbox Dashboard app, and other data that does not directly or personally identify you. This information also helps to keep your Xbox One operating optimally, including checking for updates, and maintains the ability for you to connect to Xbox Live.

Session data

Kinect and Xbox One collect and use data to enable you to control and play games. We call this session data; it allows you to control games, either with Kinect or the controller and is temporarily stored on your console’s memory only while you are playing a session of one or more games. Microsoft uses this data, consisting of numeric values, to enable gameplay or improve the gaming experience, and it does leave the console but is deleted at the end of the session.

Profile data

This data includes the information you choose to add to your Xbox Live profile, like what games you’re playing or your game clips. You determine who can see this information, and you can customize how much to share with your friends or followers. For detailed info about changing these settings, see Xbox One privacy and online safety settings.

Data used for Kinect-enabled sign-in

You can allow Kinect to identify your face and enable automatic sign-in to your Xbox Live profile. To do this, Kinect measures distances between key points on your face to create a numeric value that represents only you. This value is stored only on your console as a set of numbers, which can’t be transformed into a picture of a person. No one could look at the numbers and know they represent you or a family member.

Voice data

Voice data may be collected to enable search and to control the console. Voice data used for search is passed to the search engine on Xbox servers that provide you with results. Some voice commands, such as “Hey Cortana, Xbox on,” are processed on the console. Microsoft doesn’t access or store peer-to-peer audio or video chat data including Skype calls. For more info about what data Microsoft collects from the Xbox speech feature, see Xbox speech and privacy.

Photos and videos

As part of the gameplay experience, some games and apps that use Kinect may photograph or take video of you while you’re engaging in game play. You can view your photos and videos and decide whether to keep, transfer, or discard them.

To control who can see the photos and videos you upload to Xbox Live, go to your Xbox privacy settings either on Xbox.com or on your Xbox One console.

And for more info about what data Microsoft collects from the Xbox camera, see Xbox camera and privacy.

Game clips

Game DVR is an Xbox One feature designed to let you share your fun gameplay experiences on Xbox Live. Game clips are brief recordings of the on-screen gameplay, which you can create by saying “Xbox record that” or games can create when they know something cool is about to happen. No audio chat is recorded in these game clips. Adjust any of these settings in the Xbox privacy settings either on Xbox.com or on your Xbox One console.

How the Kinect sensor works

Kinect maps distances between your body’s joints to create a stick figure—a “skeleton”—that helps Kinect enable gameplay on your console or between you and another online player. In addition, some game titles may take advantage of a new Xbox capability that allows you to use your facial expressions to control or influence a game.

Neither the stick figure representation nor any of your facial expressions can be used to identify you. The associated numeric values are only temporarily stored in memory on your console during the gameplay session, then are destroyed when you end the session.

When Kinect collects info

Kinect doesn’t collect information about you or your environment if you’re not engaged in a Kinect experience, such as playing a Kinect game, using a Kinect-enabled application, or navigating using voice or gesture.

When you have “Instant-on” enabled and your console is turned off, the sensor will only be listening for you to say “Hey Cortana, Xbox on.” The “Hey Cortana, Xbox on” command is processed on your Xbox One and doesn’t leave the console.

You can always tell when Kinect is ready to go by referring to two lights on the front panel:

  • When Xbox One is on and Kinect is ready to respond to voice and gesture commands, the Xbox symbol on the right of the sensor will illuminate.
  • If Kinect can capture video or an image, like when you’re engaged in a Skype call or using Upload Studio, a second white light on the left side of Kinect, near the camera lens, will illuminate.

Turn off Kinect at any time within Settings on your console. Or unplug your Kinect, and your Xbox One will still work.

How you control data for Xbox One and Kinect

You have two places where you can change your privacy and online safety settings: either on Xbox.com or from your Xbox One console.

From Xbox.com:

  1. Sign in to your Microsoft account at Xbox.com.
  2. Under My Xbox, select Profile.
  3. Select Privacy settings or Online safety on Xbox One. Due to the secure nature of these settings, you may be asked to enter a security code that we’ll send to the alternate phone number or email address previously saved to your account.
  4. Select the account you want to manage.
  5. Review the settings currently in place and update those you want to change.
  6. Save your changes on each tab before moving on to the next.

From your Xbox One console:

  1. Sign in to your Microsoft account.
  2. Scroll left on the Home screen to open the guide.
  3. Select Settings > All Settings.
  4. Under Privacy & online safety, select Xbox Live privacy.
  5. Choose a default, or customize your settings by selecting View details & customize.