from the hoover-up-ALL-the-data dept
This week, Microsoft penned a new blog post claiming that the company has been listening to annoyed customers and privacy activists, and will finally be making substantive changes to Windows 10 privacy settings to give users more control. Among them will be new operating system-level privacy controls that make consumer options more granular. But Microsoft also says it is building a new privacy dashboard the company says will be doled out to Windows Insiders in an upcoming build, and will look something like this:
"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."The problem is that Microsoft has often hidden behind claims that it has to collect a lot of this data or the operating system won't work, and there's still no option to eliminate the collection of telemetry data completely. "Full" data collection, in contrast, will collect everything that the basic setting covers, as well as "inking and typing data." That can include sending Microsoft the document you were working on that caused a system crash, and giving Microsoft support permission to access the OS remotely for troubleshooting.
The entire goal, Microsoft claims in the post, is to make consumer privacy easier to understand:
"When it comes to your privacy, we strive to make choices easy to understand while also providing clear visibility and control over your data. We believe finding the right balance is one of our most important tasks in delivering great personalized experiences that you love and trust."We'll have to wait until Spring to see if these changes address concerns of the EFF, which last August criticized Microsoft's malware-esque forced upgrade tactics and its refusal to answer consumer privacy inquiries in a straightforward fashion. Microsoft's also trying to appease French regulators, who last summer demanded that Microsoft "stop collecting excessive user data" and cease tracking the web browsing of Windows 10 users without their consent. Of course if having total, granular control over how chatty your OS is over the network is your priority, not using Windows whatsoever probably remains your best option.