I have worked in IT for 14 years this coming August, and I consider myself pretty well-versed in electronic security concerns, particularly with the ubiquity being gained by cameras and microphones in our homes and offices (a quick count reveals four cameras and five microphones within 20 feet of me right this moment). Some people have expressed concern about adding yet another camera into the home—one that is attached to their XBox 360. Since the Kinect and its interface with the XBox are black-boxed (in other words, Microsoft doesn’t reveal to us all the workings or what data is being gathered at any given time), these concerns may not be entirely unfounded, though most likely severely overblown.
Enter the Pritect for Kinect (a somewhat awkward mashup of ‘protect’ and ‘Kinect’), a device designed to block the cameras on your Kinect while you’re not using it for playing games. A shiny, black, injection-molded plastic cover with small felt pads to help grip it over the top of the Kinect, the Pritect bills itself as protection from potential prying eyes, dust, and infrared interference while leaving the microphone open for voice commands.
Attractively packaged in the standard XBox360 green and purple, the Pritect does precisely what it advertises; it covers the cameras, infrared sensor, and status LED, leaving the microphone open and available. The Pritect also has a nice little cutout so that the XBox360 logo shows through in case anyone wondering what that formless shiny black box is sitting atop your TV.
I don’t have anything negative to say about the Pritect. The problem is, there just isn’t much to say, period. I feel the device’s biggest issue is that it’s a solution in search of a problem. There are people who have security concerns about an always-connected camera in the house, but there is almost zero data to back up the fears, and I can’t imagine there are enough people out there with these concerns to warrant a product whose results can be easily replicated with a couple of Post-It notes.