Since the launch of Windows 10 on 29 July 2015, privacy concerns have been a hot topic regarding Microsoft’s latest Operating System (OS). Although Microsoft has made efforts to alleviate user concerns, user control over what data and how much of it Windows 10 collects continues. According to The Verge, the latest incident where Microsoft has been criticized about Windows 10 privacy is when the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) accused Microsoft’s OS in August 2016 of sending “unprecedented amount of usage data” back to the company.
Clearly, the privacy concerns surrounding Windows 10 have not been adequately addressed just yet, but Microsoft is now taking steps in the right direction with two new “experiences”.
Two steps in the right direction
In a blog post last night, Microsoft explained their commitment to protecting users and talks about the steps taken to give users more control and understanding of what data Windows 10 collects:
“At Microsoft, we are deeply committed to protecting our customers’ privacy. This includes providing clear choices and easy-to-use tools that put you in control of how your information is collected and used. Trust is a core pillar of our More Personal Computing vision, and we are working hard to make sure Windows 10 is the most secure Windows ever and a product you love and trust. Many of you have asked for more control over your data, a greater understanding of how data is collected, and the benefits this brings for a more personalized experience. Based on your feedback, we are launching two new experiences to help ensure you are in control of your privacy.” - Source
The two “new experiences” mention by Microsoft is a web-based privacy dashboard and a new privacy set up experience, coming with the Windows 10 Creators Update set to release in April 2017.
The privacy dashboard is available right now for anyone using a Windows 10 device, which allows you to review and if you want, clear data such as search history, location activity and more. Microsoft calls it their “first step in expanding the tools that give you visibility and control over your data spanning Microsoft products and services” and notes that they will continue to add more data categories and functionality to the privacy dashboard “over time”.
The new privacy set up experience (image above via the Microsoft Blog) will, according to Microsoft, “simplifying Diagnostic data levels and further reducing the data collected at the Basic level.” The set up experience will allow users more control over how much data is collected, however, some data will still be collected. Microsoft explains:
“This includes data that is vital to the operation of Windows. We use this data to help keep Windows and apps secure, up-to-date, and running properly when you let Microsoft know the capabilities of your device, what is installed, and whether Windows is operating correctly. This option also includes basic error reporting back to Microsoft.” - Source
Even though both of the new experiences doesn’t seem to give any option to completely turn off data collection, it is definitely a massive step in the right direction. Giving users as much control as possible is obviously important to some; and Microsoft being more transparent about data collection in Windows 10 is an excellent move.
What do you think about the ways Microsoft is going about addressing Windows 10 privacy concerns? Let us know in the comment section below.
Sources: Windows 10 Blog, Microsoft Account page | Horse image credit: Fritz Ahlefeldt on Flickr
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