However, indoor cameras serve a much broader purpose.
The Kinect allows the Xbox to record video snippets of users playing a game, but the users control whether those clips are shared, according to Microsoft.
The device's most potentially intrusive feature is its ability, for exercise-related games like "Xbox Fitness," to estimate a user's heart rate through "gradual changes in (the) face," but the company says the information is stored privately and can be deleted. Department of Justice to investigate the devices and the data-handling practices of the companies that make them.
Today you can buy dinosaurs bears and even a Barbie doll that carry on conversations with the help of remote servers.
The companies that make these products say they take numerous steps to protect children's privacy.
Voice data are collected when the Xbox is used as a search engine, Microsoft says, but not when people are speaking to each other via the Internet.
Facial and body features are stored on the console as a series of numbers and can't be reassembled into images, it says.Toy Talk, the company that partnered with Mattel to produce the doll, said the researcher didn't gain access to any toy other than his own, and that it has swiftly fixed all bugs brought to its attention.As for the Kinect, Microsoft has a lengthy "privacy FAQ" that goes into great detail about the information the device collects and what the company supposedly does with it.But unless you unplug or otherwise disable the device, it's always on, always connected to the Internet, and with Snowden's unnerving story fresh in my mind, I had to ask myself: What did I just bring into my house?I'm sure I'm not the only parent asking such a question, given the ever-multiplying selection of Internet-connected toys.Like it or not, our children are growing up in a time when their virtual lives are entwined with their real ones.