Microsoft Bans Offensive Language on Xbox, Skype

March 27, 2018, 3:21 PM UTC

Privacy experts are sounding an alarm over changes to Microsoft’s service agreement, saying it’s filled with vague terms and gives the company the right to review your content without your consent.

The update, which goes into effect May 1, prohibits users from using the services to “publicly display or share inappropriate content or material” including “offensive language” and nudity.

Civil rights activist Jonathan Corbett notes the ambiguity of the term “offensive language,” as that definition varies from person to person. It’s worth noting that trash-talking is a regular occurrence among Xbox Live players.

“If I call someone a mean name in Xbox Live, not only will they cancel my account, but also confiscate any funds I’ve deposited in my account?,” he asks.

Additionally, he notes, couples who engage in sexy video chats when they’re separated could not only be banned, but monitored by the tech giant as the new rules specify “when investigating alleged violations of these Terms, Microsoft reserves the right to review Your Content in order to resolve the issue.”

“In 2018, when anyone can be offended by anything, these terms allow Microsoft staff to play unrestrained censor if and when they choose,” says Corbett. ” What’s also clear is that they reserve the right to go through your private data, and these terms seem to pretty clearly allow them to watch and listen to your Skype calls, so long as they are ‘investigating’ something. The terms don’t appear to require any complaint to be filed against you—just that an employee deciding that they want to investigate.”

Microsoft did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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