Microsoft is in hot water again for another privacy issue, this time involving the Xbox game console.
Previous reports revealed how contractors working for Microsoft admitted to have listened in to some voice conversations recorded via the Skype Translator service as well as conversations or commands given to Cortana. A new report reveals that these aren't the only services that allowed humans to listen in.
According to a report from Motherboard, contractors also revealed that they have listened to audio recordings taken from Xbox game consoles. The console was supposed to capture audio only after a voice command like "Xbox" or "Hey Cortana" was said. The contractors, however, revealed that recordings were also made by mistake.
"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," one former contractor told the news outlet.
Some recordings featured children's voices as they asked their consoles to give them free games, download skins packs for certain games, and more. Some recordings featured more specific commands like telling a certain game character to heal.
The contractor who spoke to Motherboard said they worked on evaluating Xbox audio recordings from 2014 to 2015 -- before the Xbox had Cortana. The game console reportedly recorded audio using Kinect, then kept recording audio after Cortana was implemented in the system.
The recordings were made for the purpose of improving the Xbox's voice command features. The Xbox made fewer recordings at the system improved over time, but the issues never left. Some contractors continued to hear audio from Xbox users who accidentally triggered the recording function.
Some of these accidentally recorded audio had players telling Cortana "No" after it was unintentionally activated in the middle of a game.
Microsoft responded with an email saying that it has stopped recording for some time now.
"We stopped reviewing any voice content taken through Xbox for product improvement purposes a number of months ago, as we no longer felt it was necessary," the tech giant said. Additionally, Microsoft said it has no more plans to record audio for the purposes of improving its services.
This article was first published in IBTimes US. Permission required for reproduction.