Creepy Microsoft patent filing turns Kinect into 1984-style monitor

Microsoft has registered a patent with the USPTO which could turn the Kinect into a spying device that regulates viewing content based on how many users are in a room.

Microsoft’s bizarre idea would essentially turn a gaming device into a Big Brother-style monitoring screen discretely spying on users and making licensing calls on behalf of big content.

In summary 0004, the patent filing suggests presenting the user with licensing options when they plan to view content. Basically, another way to squeeze cash from the customer. 

The Kinect would then monitor the “number of users consuming the content during the performance” – essentially an extreme conclusion to the notices at the beginning of VHS tapes that told the user movies were for individual consumption only, and not for unauthorised screenings. Who would have thought that gripe was still irking content industry bigwigs? 

Creepily, ‘Processing unit 191’ may include chips that specifically recognise and execute facial, object, and voice recognition. “Facial recognition may be used to detect the face of a particular person,” the patent ays, adding that particular faces, voices, sounds, and objects could be stored in memory.

Theoretically, this patent, Gizmodo notes, could also turn the Kinect into an age verification unit, which would be a lofty presumption for Redmond to make considering the billions of unique faces here on Planet Earth.

We would hope Microsoft’s not insane enough to actually bring this patent into real world use. Although privacy is increasingly being taken away from users online, it’s hard to imagine the consumer buying the idea of giving Ballmer and his voles access to your living room.