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Over the weekend, during a marketing and advertisers conference, Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi was misinterpreted by an attendee. Unfortunately that attendee (who opted to remain anonymous) was then picked up and quoted by advertising publication Advertising Age. According to an article run by the publication, Kinect for Xbox One will allow Microsoft to harvest personal data to sell off to advertising agencies. It was described as the “holy grail in terms of how you understand the consumer in that 360 degrees of their life.” Naturally, people went wild and the whole debate about Kinect spying on households kicked into high gear.

This isn’t the first time people have talked of such things; this originally cropped up when the Xbox 360’s Kinect sensor first hit the scene.

Needless to say, Microsoft has gone into damage control mode to reassure gamers that in fact no, Kinect on Xbox One will not be spying on you. Well, unless you ask it to.

Microsoft has told website All Things D that Mehdi’s comments were misinterpteted, and when he was talking about harnessing marketing power, he was in fact talking about SmartGlass and how advertising agencies could utilise this technology with SmartGlass-to-TV-series tie-ins.

In an emailed statement to All Things D, Microsoft said: “For example, just as Xbox SmartGlass allows companion mobile experiences that are synchronous to what is being watched on TV, advertisers could create new experiences unifying their content across devices.”

Just in case the explanation of Mehdi’s comments weren’t clear enough, Microsoft added:

“The quote from Yusuf in Ad Age is not in relation to Kinect. We do not have plans to target ads or content to you based on any data Kinect collects. We have a long-standing commitment to your privacy and will not target ads to you based on any data Kinect collects unless you choose to allow us to do so (emphasis ours). Furthermore, we will give you a clear explanation of what is collected and how it will be used.

Importantly, we do not collect your personal information to share or sell to third parties, and you are fully in control over what personal data is shared. We have strict policies to protect your privacy and these policies will continue to be upheld with our next generation product.”

So there you go; in case it needed to be said (again): Kinect is not spying on you… unless you’re down with the idea in which case it’s going to know ALL YOUR SECRETS.

Sources: All Things D; Polygon; Kotaku

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