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Microsoft employees listen to your conversations on Xbox since 2014

Published: August 25, 2019
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Source: gadget interest

Microsoft hired human employees to review conversations on Xbox, say US media in another case that returns to the front pages the lack of transparency and control in the use of personal data by large technology companies.

The scandal of human listening to private conversations continues. And Microsoft repeats the same scenario discovered on Skype where human reviewers recorded and listened to personal conversations of users through the translation service of the communications application and voice commands that users launched towards the company’s voice assistant, Cortana.

On Xbox, the “listeners” of audio recordings began in 2014 through the Kinect peripheral and then, starting in 2016, through the virtual assistant Cortana. The case is more serious than that of Skype because it can involve millions of minors who use the console and for whom more stringent privacy guidelines are applied (or assumed).

Although in principle human employees should have only heard the voice commands activated with «Xbox» and «Hey Cortana», they also recorded private conversations that had nothing to do with the supposed objective: to improve the response of the algorithms that control these activated assistants by voice and in general of artificial intelligence systems based on machine learning. Private conversations were recorded “accidentally”, as some contractors explain. Something that seems to be recurring in all these cases.

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