Microsoft recently admitted that contractors listen to Skype and Cortana chats. Now, a few reports are claiming that the company’s third-party contractors can listen to Microsoft Xbox players’ voice chats. As per Motherboard, the third-party vendors also “listened to the audio of Xbox users speaking in their homes in order to improve the console’s voice command features.”
The voice chats of users were captured by Xbox consoles “by mistake”, the contractors were quoted as saying. “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 was quoted as saying.
The contractors worked on Microsoft Xbox audio data from 2014 to 2015 before Cortana was implemented into the console in 2016. “Listening continued as the Xbox moved from using Kinect for voice commands over to Cortana,” the report said on Wednesday. Last month, the company asserted that it might soon remove Cortana from the Xbox. But, one can still control it through voice commands with Alexa or Google Assistant on external smart speakers. “We’ve long been clear that we collect voice data to improve voice-enabled services and that this data is sometimes reviewed by vendors,” Microsoft said.
Separately, just recently, Microsoft confirmed that it is not working on a streaming-only version of Xbox. This confirmation comes months after initial rumors about a “Lite” version of Xbox surfaced online. As previously reported, the rumors indicated that Microsoft was planning to launch a “cloud console” with limited hardware. However, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox and Gaming division confirmed that Microsoft is not working on such a console. Spencer went on to confirm that the company is only working on one version of Xbox for 2020.
Spencer also added that “We are looking at the phone in your pocket as the destination for you to stream, and the console that we have allows you to play the games locally.” He went on to state, “The world where compute devices are gone and it’s all coming from the cloud just isn’t the world that we live in today.”
– With inputs from IANS