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The Drum

Microsoft faces questions over Xbox voice recordings

Microsoft faces questions over Xbox voice recordings

Microsoft could be subject to a formal investigation by Ireland’s data regulator amid claims that it recorded voice conversations of US Xbox gamers.

This follows reports in Vice News that the firm had employed external contractors to listen in on the chatter to improve the console’s voice control functionality, with some audio recorded by accident as a result.

Eamon Ryan, the leader of Ireland’s Green Party and a member of the international grand committee on disinformation, is taking a lead on the case. He said: “We should be asking the data protection commissioner to look at this case, it’s appropriate that ourselves and anyone else, like children, are protected. We in Ireland particularly have to set a high base because we’re European headquarters to so many of these companies.”

To get to the bottom of the accusations The Data Protection Commission has asked Microsoft to provide detail on its processing of personal data. Microsoft concedes that it reviewed voice content but ceased the practice months ago and always obtained permission before collecting data.

The privacy scare follows similar concerns raised over Amazon’s Alexa after the company conceded that employees listened to verbal exchanges to improve speech recognition.

As the world's largest tech companies get probed on their listening habits, voice adoption continues to trust, indicating that these issues haven't quite eroded trust yet.