Xbox owners who have hooked up a Kinect or made use of Cortana's voice commands may have had their audio recorded and then listened to by Microsoft contractors. Vice reports that a number of contractors have come forward anonymously to admit part of their job was listening to recorded audio from Xboxes as far back as 2014. This was in response to a Motherboard report attesting that similar listening in occurred for Skype and Cortana audio on PC and mobile.
"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," said a former contractor. They added that most of the audio they listened to came from children.
While much of this audio was taken from deliberate user initiations such as "Xbox on" or "Hey Cortana," though some of it was clearly accidental. The contractor added that most of the Xbox audio was also fairly benign compared to the Skype and Cortana audio on other platforms, the latter of which included material that "could clearly be described as phone sex." The audio also reportedly included fewer accidental initiations as time went on.
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