Xbox to update privacy settings, will no longer "collect data from voice search"

By Heidi Nicholas,
Xbox is rolling out a new privacy update today, with an explanation of how it's aiming to "improve transparency and choice on your console data."


Over on the accompanying Xbox Wire post, corporate VP of Xbox Operations Dave McCarthy details Xbox's approach to personal data, and references Microsoft's aim to increase transparency about customer data. "Today, we're taking another step to reflect those principles by updating the privacy settings for our consoles," McCarthy continues. "Offering our users choice has always been a priority, and we have built on our existing controls to provide you with more choice over your diagnostic data."

On your console — this will include the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X when they launch in November — you'll get an "overview of the required diagnostic data" to be collected, and, if you want, an option to "share additional, optional diagnostic data" to help the Xbox team "further improve your console experience." According to Xbox, this "required diagnostic data" includes error details and details of the success or failure of console setup and software updates, and helps the team to manage security and issues. "We know your experience on Xbox is important and this required diagnostic data gives us the information we need so you can game with minimal interruptions," says McCarthy.

One change is that Xbox won't "collect data from voice search and speech-to-text conversion" any more, as the team assesses "what data we need to support positive player experiences on Xbox" and has "determined that this information is not what we need to accomplish that mission."

As for the optional diagnostic data: if you want, you can choose to share data about "actions you take while using your console," as well as more detailed reports on errors which would help to pinpoint the reason behind crashes, and "console performance data." This applies for your profile and for the console, and you can change your mind about this at any time — you can also choose these settings for family members.

"Xbox runs on trust," concludes McCarthy. "It’s important that you know what data we collect and why... Trust among our users is crucial, and moving ahead, we’ll continue to listen and support your preferences on your data collection and privacy. We have a busy year ahead and you will continue to be at the centre of everything we do."

The updated privacy settings should be rolling out later today.
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!