Tuesday, November 16, 2010


This is the kind of crap that drives me absolutely crazy.

Last Thursday, the Wall Street Journal published a story titled Is Your Videogame Machine Watching You? The article included this:
Dennis Durkin, who serves as chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Microsoft’s Xbox video game business, told investors Thursday that Kinect - which allows users to play video games without so much as a joystick - presents business opportunities for targeted game marketing and advertising.

Kinect is a camera peripheral that plugs into the Xbox 360 console and allows players to control games with only body movements. The system uses facial recognition technology to sign in players and match them with their avatars and profiles. But the technology can also be put to use beyond those purposes, Durkin said in a presentation at an investors conference sponsored by BMO Capital Markets.

“We can cater which content we present to you based on who you are,” Durkin said. “How many people are in the room when an ad is shown? How many people are in the room when a game is being played? When you add this sort of device to a living room, there’s a bunch of business opportunities that come with that.”

George Orwell, line four. George Orwell.

Now those quotes are about as damned specific as they could possibly be, and the meaning in what Durkin said is abundantly clear. That's clearly where Microsoft wants to head with this device.

So what does Microsoft do? Respond with feigned outrage and this statement:
Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE do not use any information captured by Kinect for advertising targeting purposes. Microsoft has a strong track record of implementing some of the best privacy protection measures in the industry. We place great importance on the privacy of our customers’ information and the safety of their experiences.

Yes, and clearly you dickhats* (new term) are going to be strongly committed to those privacy protection measures in the future--that's why your CFO was talking about "a bunch of business opportunities" that involve sticking a rectal probe up our collective asses.

Look, I understand that the era of having privacy inside our homes has, to a large degree, been compromised by the Internet in exchange for all the wonderful and disgusting things it has to offer. But Kinect looks like a genuinely interesting device, particularly in the hands of hackers. Couldn't you f-ers have let us bask in the warm glow of potential for at least a week before turning into Lord Voldemort?

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