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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Microsoft under fire over collecting user data in new Windows 10

Just days after a smooth launch of its Windows 10 OS, Microsoft has come under fire for its approach to user privacy. The latest OS by Microsoft was installed in more than 14 million systems in a day of going public, however, it is now being criticised for its default settings that apparently send personal information to Microsoft.
After a recent discovery that the so-called free game of Solitaire is laden with ads unless you pay to make it ad-free, users have now reported that some of the default settings of Windows 10 uses bandwidth to upload data to other computers running the OS, shares Wi-Fi passwords with online friends and removes the ability to opt out of security updates.
report on Guardian notes that when the new OS is installed, Microsoft assigns the user a unique advertising ID that is tied to the email address registered with the company. This address is also linked with other services like app downloads, cloud storage, etc.
With this information, Microsoft is able to send personalised ads to users when they surf the web or make new downloads. Other than that, its digital assistant Cortana collects data from the device, such as emails, text messages, calendars, call log, etc. to provide better ‘assistance’ the next time you use these apps.
Although Microsoft is giving users the option to opt out of most of the data collection; some of the base settings still do not offer sufficient choices. For example, Windows 10 offers only two settings when it comes to Windows Update: either install and restart immediately, or install and ask permission to restart. The option to not install updates does not appear to be present on the base version of the OS.
Meanwhile, some researchers have also criticised Microsoft for its terms of service, which allow it to share user data based on nothing more than ‘good faith’ belief that doing so is required to comply with law enforcement agencies and protect user privacy.
The European digital rights organisation (EDRi) sums up the company’s 45 pages of terms and conditions by saying: “Microsoft basically grants itself very broad rights to collect everything you do, say and write with and on your devices in order to sell more targeted advertising or to sell your data to third parties.”

Madhav Biju

Author & Editor

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