Windows 'blatantly' disregard privacy

Windows 'blatantly' disregard privacy
23 August 2016

There's been a lot of criticisms made about Microsoft's ways with user privacy, concerning Windows 10.

A digital rights group has accused the tech giant of "blatantly" disregarding user's choice when it comes to the launch of Windows 10.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says: "The tactics Microsoft employed to get users of earlier versions of Windows to upgrade to Windows 10 went from annoying to downright malicious."

"Some highlights: Microsoft installed an app in users' system trays advertising the free upgrade to Windows 10."

"The app couldn't be easily hidden or removed, but some enterprising users figured out a way. Then, the company kept changing the app and bundling it into various security patches, creating a cat-and-mouse game to uninstall it."

The EFF went on to accuse Microsoft of "deception".

"In May 2016, in an action designed in a way we think was highly deceptive, Microsoft actually changed the expected behaviour of a dialog window, a user interface element that's been around and acted the same way since the birth of the modern desktop."

"Specifically, when prompted with a Windows 10 update, if the user chose to decline it by hitting the 'X' in the upper right hand corner, Microsoft interpreted that as consent to download Windows 10."

With regard to privacy, they added that an "unprecedented" amount of data is being sent back to Microsoft via Windows 10.

"Here's a non-exhaustive list of data sent back: location data, text input, voice input, touch input, webpages you visit, and telemetry data regarding your general usage of your computer, including which programs you run and for how long."

It is worth noting that Cortana is an opt-in system, and you have to explicitly agree to share data with it. If you haven't, there's no data being collected through that particular application.

They continue: "We at EFF have heard from many users who have asked us to take action, and we urge Microsoft to listen to these concerns and incorporate this feedback into the next release of its operating system."

"Otherwise, Microsoft may find that it has inadvertently discovered just how far it can push its users before they abandon a once-trusted company for a better, more privacy-protective solution."

You can have a look at the entire EFF post by clicking here.

In a statement, Microsoft said: "Microsoft is committed to customer privacy and ensuring that customers have the information and tools they need to make informed decisions."

"We listened to feedback from our customers and evolved our approach to the upgrade process. Windows 10 continues to have the highest satisfaction of any version of Windows."

TOPICS:   Privacy

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