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. 

Apex Legends

Apex Legends Evo shields are being nerfed again in Season 7

Published: 8/Oct/2020 1:12 Updated: 8/Oct/2020 1:28

by Alan Bernal


The Evo Shields in Apex Legends are set for another balance update that could come in Season 7, as Respawn are still fine-tuning how the armor upgrades to its max level.

Respawn brought the Evo Shields in the System Override patch in March, then made them a staple in the battle royale later on. Ever since then, the studio has been trying to find the right balance with the armor and its scaling defense as the game continues.


As for the studio, the hunt for that equilibrium to the item will continue as Respawn Game Designer Daniel Z. Klein indicated that players could have an increased damage threshold to hit before getting a fully evolved shield.

This change is still in the implementation phases, however, since Respawn need to tinker with the game’s networking to actually bring in the patch.

Respawn Entertainment
The Evo Armor values for max level will change, most likely in Season 7.

“We have a change planned for red Evo Shields for patch 7.0, but it required a little networking work (don’t ask; game dev is dumb) so we couldn’t ship it in 6.1,” Klein responded to a player who noticed there weren’t any changes to the shields in the Aftermarket update. “The plan is to increase the damage required to go to Red.”

At the time of writing, the Evo Shields need 500 damage inflicted to reach max level. That requirement is going to change, although the developer gave no indication for how much.

Complaints about the gear stem from how many people seem to have a fully upgraded Evo early in games.


Though this could be attributed to the typical gunfight fiestas that happen at any major POI after dropping into the Arena, the problem is going to get a closer look within the studio.

There’s no word if there will also be a change to the armor max Evo Shields provide, but it’s not likely since Respawn tuned that not too long ago when Season 6 started.

In any case, the company is hoping the next round of changes will leave Apex Legends in a healthier state as it concerns the popular Evo Shields in the game.