Microsoft contractors reportedly listened to audio from Xbox owners’ homes - Dexerto

Microsoft contractors reportedly listened to audio from Xbox owners’ homes

Published: 21/Aug/2019 21:17 Updated: 21/Aug/2019 22:09

by Michael Gwilliam


A new report claims that contractors listened in on audio recordings stored by Microsoft from inside Xbox owners’ homes. 

The report from Vice Motherboard says that Microsoft contractors listened to the recorded audio to improve the console’s voice command features. While the audio was supposed to be captured following certain voice commands such as “hey Cortana”, other recordings were triggered by mistake.

As a result, contractors could allegedly hear recordings of other things going on in Xbox owners’ homes and the gamers would have no idea this was going on. 

MicrosoftHalo Infinite is an upcoming Xbox title.

“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,” a former contractor told Vice, whose identity is being kept secret due to non-disclosure agreements.

The contractor said they worked on Xbox audio from 2014-2015. Cortana was introduced to the console in 2016. At the time, they often heard the voices of kids trying to obtain in-game items.  

“The Xbox stuff was actually a bit of a welcome respite, honestly. It was frequently the same games. Same DLCs. Same types of commands,” they added. “‘Xbox give me all the games for free’”

Eventually, the contractors got way less accidental audio, but they would still pick up the occasional unintentional snippet. 

MicrosoftA new report says Xbox owners had their audio listened to by contractors.

“Most of the Xbox related stuff I can recall doing was obviously unintentional activations with people telling Cortana ‘No’ as they were obviously in the middle of a game and doing normal game chat,” a current contractor told Vice. 

Anyone concerned about their audio on file can delete it themselves at this page.

In a statement to Vice, Microsoft allegedly said “We’ve long been clear that we collect voice data to improve voice-enabled services and that this data is sometimes reviewed by vendors.” 

“We’ve recently updated our privacy statement to add greater clarity that people sometimes review this data as part of the product improvement process… We always get customer permission before collecting voice data, we take steps to de-identify voice snippets being reviewed to protect people’s privacy, and we require that handling of this data be held to the highest privacy standards in the law.”

The company said they are working on implementing additional ways to give customers more control over how their data is used. 

Call of Duty

Twitch Rivals $250K Warzone event: Schedule, how to compete, more

Published: 1/Dec/2020 7:04

by Brad Norton


The next major Warzone event is right around the corner as the Twitch Rivals Doritos Bowl tournament has been unveiled. From how you can enter, to when it all gets going, we’ve got everything you need to know.

Warzone competitions have been extremely popular on Twitch since the latest Call of Duty battle royale jumped into the spotlight. Kill-races have your favorite streamers and veteran pro players competing in a new and exciting way.

While odd events are always popping up, some tournaments have come with enormous prize pools. The next landmark Warzone comp falls into that category with a whopping $250,000 up for grabs.

It’s an open style event, meaning a ton of players can get involved and earn some cash. Here’s everything there is to know before the Twitch Rivals Doritos Bowl event kicks off.

Twitch Rivals Warzone schedule

Instead of just a single day of action, this event will be running through a few unique dates in December. For starters, Open Qualifiers take place on December 3, starting at 2PM PT | 5PM ET.

Once all teams are locked in from here, there are two days left to determine the very best players. Across both December 8 and December 16, ‘Show Days’ will drop all remaining teams into competition from 2PM PT | 5 PM ET onwards.

Twitch Rivals Warzone format

Unique to this event, Twitch Rivals will be adopting a hybrid structure. While a majority of Warzone tournaments stick with the standard kill-races, things are being mixed up here. For the open qualifiers, it’ll be business as usual. Trios will drop into public lobbies and search for as many kills as possible.

From this point on, however, things change quite drastically. On the first Show Day, 49 Trios will play in five private lobbies. Points are accumulated for kills as usual, though placement will be more important than ever for racking up the big points. 

Only the top 24 teams at the end of the day will advance through to the second round. During the second Show Day, another five lobbies will be getting underway as teams look to jump up the standings and secure their share of $250,000.

A full breakdown of the point structure and the prizing can be found below.


1st 25
2nd 20
3rd 15
4th 10
5th – 7th 7
8th – 10th 4
11th – 15th 2
16th – 20th 1
Per Elimination +1

Prizing (Day 1):

1st – 24th Advance to Day 2
25th – 20th $900
31st – 40th $750
41st – 50th $600

Prizing (Day 2):

1st $45,000
2nd $30,000
3rd $21,000
4th $15,000
5th $12,000
6th $9,000
7th $7,500
8th $6,000
9th $4,500
10th – 12th $3,300
13th – 15th $3,000
16th – 20th $2,700
21st – 25th $2,400
26th – 30th $2,100
31st – 40th $1,500
41st – 49th $1,200

How to play in the Twitch Rivals Warzone event

Twitch Rivals sign up
Any Affiliated or Partnered Twitch streamer can register for this $250K Warzone event.

While the event is advertised with open qualifiers, this isn’t entirely true. Qualifiers are open, however, only Twitch Partners and Twitch Affiliates can join the open event. In short, if you’re not an established or budding streamer on the platform, you unfortunately can’t join this competition.

If you do fall under either of those categories though, signing up is simple. Follow this Twitch Rivals link to register your interest. Do keep in mind that not every single Partner and Affiliate that registers, is actually guaranteed entry. Get in early and keep your fingers crossed to lock in a spot in one of the biggest Warzone events to date.

Check back over the coming weeks as we keep you updated on results.