The NSA, Xbox One and You!

on Tuesday, Jul. 16th

Consumer electronics being used as tools for government spying is so hot right now.

Like, radioactively hot.

Sean Hollister of The Verge has an in-depth feature at the site today which looks at whether of not the "always on" Kinect device that will ship with Microsoft’s new Xbox One game console can be used for snooping. Technically and legally.

But would Microsoft be willing to help the government snoop? That's a good question. Last week, a report in The Guardian alleged that Microsoft gave government agencies access to private Skype video and audio calls, perhaps even going so far as to integrate Skype into the NSA's controversial PRISM surveillance system.

Hollister points out in the piece that the One isn't the only new piece of tech that's making people nervous.

The new MotoX phone will be listening for voice commands at all times as well.

Sci-fi fans have long dreamed of a button-less future. One where, like in Star Trek, we could just ask a question of our devices and they were ready to serve.

Of course, the Star Trek writers didn't necessarily imagine a network connected future. That wouldn't come into space opera until years later, and be the reason why only one Battlestar made it away from the Cylon fleet.

But I digress.

It's impossible not to see the march of technological progress taking place on a tightrope. Carefully balanced between sunny techno-optimism and a corporate dystopian nightmare.

Just how wrong a new piece of technology can go, as Jamais Cascio articulates in a piece for Fast Co.Exist today, are the questions that keep futurists like Cascio up at night. And employed.

Follow Noah Nelson on Twitter (@noahjnelson)


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