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“Most often these are children”: Microsoft contractors listen to the sounds that Xbox captures

After recent media publications, it turned out that almost all major IT companies listened to what users of their voice assistants said. Due to the scandal that erupted in Apple, Google and Facebook abandoned such quality control, and now Microsoft has come.

According to the Motherboard portal, citing former employees, Microsoft began to study audio from user consoles with the advent of Kinect. The company hired contractors to listen to recordings from user rooms and evaluate how the console responded to them.

With the release of the Xbox One, quality control has become even greater – after all, the console has a full-fledged voice assistant Cortana, which by 2019 they decided to remove from the device in favor of the version for smartphones.

According to the contractors, they were paid $ 10 per hour to listen to the recordings. More often than not, they listened to people pronounce the names of the same games or basic commands.

Most of all, children used the function. From them one could hear commands like: “Give me all the games for free.”


Many of the notes were made by accident – when the user chatted with friends over voice or with people in the room. Formally, this can be considered an invasion of privacy, but all contractors signed non-disclosure contracts.

In response to the Motherboard investigation, Microsoft did not close the quality control program, but simply updated the license agreement, clearly indicating that audio can be processed both by software and by people. In addition, the company launched a special page on which users can delete any entries from their console.

Microsoft noted that they never hid that they process records in this way. Information began to be collected only after the user accepted the license agreement.

However, the contractors anonymously told Motherboard that they were asked not to spread the word that they work for Microsoft during the hiring process.


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