One of my major concerns about the Xbox One is this built-in Kinect camera that has the capacity to pick up audio and visual data. This might come off as paranoid, but what if this technology could be hacked or commandeered by individuals, or even governments? I'd like to pose a few hypothetical situations where this technology could be abused.
1. You are currently living in Russia . You're an anti-Putin dissident and the government wants to bug your apartment and monitor who you meet and who you talk to. They've got the setup right in your living room, all they need to do is bully Microsoft into allowing Russian intelligence services to spy on you via Kinect. Microsoft caves instantly to the pressure and sells you out.
2. You're an up and coming actor on British television. You've come out to close friends and family, but not to the general public. You feel it actually might harm your career at this stage and you want to keep your private life private. You and your partner have sex in the same room where you keep your Kinect. In a week, you're hounded by the British tabloids who now have pictures of you in a compromising position. Unknown to you, The Daily Mirror has actually paid a private investigator to illegally hack your Kinect camera and "leak" the photographs to the tabloid.
3. You've been a naturalized US Citizen for some years now, but you still keep in touch with your friends and family in Yemen via Skype on your XBox One. You still worship at a local mosque near your neighborhood. Your friends in Yemen are outraged over drone attacks and are highly critical of US foreign policy in the Middle-East. One of your friend's name comes up in a CIA terrorism investigation and they start monitoring his internet activities. They take interest into your communications and use your XBox One Skype calls as justification for the FBI to start investigating you. FBI agents start following you to your local mosque and start taking pictures of people you associate with outside the building.
I'm not against the Kinect as a whole, but there are serious privacy concerns that need to be addressed before XBox One hits store shelves. If a few hackers can compromise thousands of credit card numbers and user accounts on Playstation Network, imagine what could be done with a device like Kinect?