Xbox owners who recently turned on their Xbox One consoles might have noticed a new message from Microsoft about your user data. That’s because Microsoft recently revealed exactly what data of yours that it may share with publishers.
According to the statement, Microsoft reserves the right to “share information with the publisher” of any “Xbox Live enabled game (or app through your Xbox console)” that you’re using. The purpose of sharing this information is to further “deliver your online experiences, improve the game or app, diagnose problems, provide support, and connect you with other users.”
The specific information Microsoft may share with publishers includes country, age range, user ID, gamertag, profile, avatars, data about your play session (achievements unlocked, time spent playing), club memberships, friends, error reports, videos uploaded, “information about your interactions and communications” (i.e. messages you send), gamer pics, and your real name (if you choose to share that in your profile settings).
What gave us the biggest pause in this disclosure is the following statement:
Third party game and app publishers and developers are independent controllers of this data, and their data collection, use, and sharing practices are governed by their privacy policies. Please take time to review their policies; you may find these linked from the product pages of the games or apps in the Microsoft store.
In other words, the user data that Microsoft gives to third-party publishers is basically then controlled by the publishers and falls under the jurisdictions of their specific privacy policies. So, the publishers of every game you play and app you use may have access not only to your real name and picture, but also messages you’ve sent via Xbox Live.
This shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise, however. Publishers like EA and Ubisoft make you give them permission to “access and update your Xbox Live account and interact with Xbox Live services on your behalf” before you can use their apps.
If you’re uncomfortable with how Microsoft may be delivering your user data to third-party publishers, you can always remove these permissions from you Live account. Just go to account.live.com/consent to manage your permissions to third-party publishers.