Privacy in Xbox One and Kinect

Privacy in Xbox One and Kinect

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.

At Microsoft, we prioritize your privacy and know that protecting your personal data is very important. That is why we created Kinect and Xbox One from the ground up with built-in privacy controls and safeguards that put you in charge of your entertainment experiences and allow you to customize how your personal information or data is, or is not shared.

When we launched the first Kinect for Xbox 360 we also made privacy a top priority for the first-of-its-kind technology and we provided you with information on how the technology works, how your data is used and how you can control it. With Kinect and Xbox One we want to again provide a guide to answer your privacy questions and share how you can customize your entertainment experiences.


Q: What privacy updates did you make for the new Kinect and Xbox One?

A: We built the new Kinect from the ground up with entirely new technology to increase its performance and capabilities. With Kinect and Xbox One you get a new world of games, music, live TV, movies and apps, all personalized to your interests and accessible with the sound of your voice. Our approach to privacy on Xbox One is very similar to Xbox 360. This means you will determine how responsive and personalized your Xbox One is to you and your family.

Q: When and where can I customize my privacy settings?

A: You can choose to update or customize your privacy and online safety settings at any time by going to Settings on your Xbox One console or on

Q: How do I turn the Kinect sensor off?

A: You can choose to turn Kinect off within your Settings. You’ll need to turn Kinect back on manually in the system settings to use it again. You can also unplug your Kinect and your Xbox One will still function.

Q: What do the lights on my Kinect sensor mean?

A: We designed different areas of the Kinect front panel to illuminate to help indicate the sensor’s functionality.

  • 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.

Data Collection

Q: What data does Kinect and Xbox One collect and how is that information used by Microsoft?

A: Your privacy and your ability to control what you and your family share with others when using the Xbox Live service are of paramount importance to Microsoft. Please read the Xbox privacy statement to learn more about the types of data we collect, why and how we collect them, and what controls we provide so that you can protect you and your family’s privacy.

Kinect and Xbox One can collect several types of data including:

  • 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 applications, 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. This data, consisting of numeric values, can be used to enable gameplay or improve the gaming experience and can 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 can customize how much to share with your friends or followers.

  • 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. This data, which consists of a long series of numbers, is stored on your console and is not returned to Microsoft.

  • 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 "Xbox On," are processed on the console. Microsoft does not access or store peer-to-peer audio or video chat data including Skype calls.

  • 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 are engaging in game play. You can view your photos and videos and decide whether to keep, transfer or discard them.

  • 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.

Q: What data does Kinect collect when my Xbox One is in "Instant-on" mode?

A: When you have "Instant-on" enabled and your console is powered off, the sensor will only be listening for you to say "Xbox On." The "Xbox On" command is processed on your Xbox One and does not leave the console.

Q: What data does Kinect collect when my Xbox One is turned on, but I'm not engaged in a Kinect experience?

A: Kinect does not collect information about you or your environment if you are not engaged in a Kinect experience, such as playing a Kinect game, using a Kinect-enabled application or navigating using voice or gesture.

Q: How do third party partners use data collected while playing Kinect games or using apps on Xbox One?

A: Third party partners use data to deliver Kinect experiences (games or applications) to understand how customers use their Kinect experiences, and to improve performance or even to help plan new experiences. They are not permitted to use the information for marketing purposes, such as selling you games or services, or for personalizing advertising. Also, third party partners are not allowed to collect player personal information without review and approval by Microsoft.

Q: Does Microsoft share any of the data Kinect collects about me with third parties or advertisers?

A: Microsoft does not share any data collected by the Kinect sensor with third party partners, nor is it used for marketing or advertising purposes.


Q: What data does Kinect use to identify me?

A: 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.

Q: What data does the Kinect sensor collect about my body, and why? Can that information be used to personally identify me?

A: 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. The stick figure representation cannot be used to identify you and 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.

Q: What are expressions and what kind of data does the feature collect?

A: 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. This data does not identify you, stays on the console and is destroyed once your session ends.

Q: I’ve heard that Kinect can estimate my heart rate on Xbox One. How does this work and what does Xbox do with the data?

A: Estimating heart rate is a new Kinect feature that provides a more personalized experience. To do this, Kinect can detect gradual changes in your face and can estimate heart rate based on those changes. If you play Xbox Fitness on Xbox One, Xbox can use the Kinect sensor to estimate your exercise info, including estimates such as your heart rate during an activity or how many calories were burned in a workout. To improve the accuracy of your exercise info, you can enter attributes such as your height, weight, age and gender. On Xbox One, your exercise info is stored online and privately by default. You can delete exercise info through the apps or games you used to create it.

Photographs, Videos and Game Clips

Q: Who can see photos or videos captured by Kinect during game play?

A: The Kinect sensor can take photos or videos of you when you are playing games and, in some cases, make those photographs and videos available for you to download, copy or share. You can control who can see these on Xbox Live using the privacy settings.

Q: Who can see game clips or Game DVR footage captured by Kinect?

A: 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. Users can go to Settings to control whether the Game DVR service is set to Allow or Block for game clip creation and upload. In Settings, users can also control whether their game clips are shared with Friends, Everyone or set to Block. You can also choose to delete your clips.

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