The Kinect for Xbox 360 was once considered for its potential use as a mass surveillance tool by the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), according to documents published by The Guardian

The GCHQ is the British equivalent to the United States' NSA.

The information comes from documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. They document a program entitled "Optic Nerve" that collected images of users through their webcams, including users of Yahoo chats between 2008 and 2010.

Documents from The Guardian's report suggest that webcams were useful for matching faces to mugshots. 

One presentation discussed the Xbox 360 version of Kinect, which GCHQ believed delivered "fairly normal webcam traffic." The report does not mention if Kinect made it passed the evaluation stage or if it was used to capture images of you playing Dance Central.

"Microsoft has never heard of this program," a spokesperson told Polygon. "However, we're concerned about any reports of governments surreptitiously collecting private customer data. That's why in December we initiated a broad effort to expand encryption across our services and are advocating for legal reforms."

Microsoft's new console, Xbox One, comes with a Kinect packed in. Microsoft insists it only listens for pre-programmed commands when not in use.

RELATED: "Angry Birds" Among Apps Leaking Data to NSA
 Apple Buys 3D Sensor Company Behind Xbox Kinect

[via The Guardian, Polygon]