MICROSOFT HAS ADMITTED that Windows 10 is collecting more data than any of its predecessors, and there's not much you can do about it.
In an interview with PC World, Microsoft corporate vice president Joe Belfiore defended the collection of what the company refers to as "basic telemetry", explaining that it is a necessary part of improving Windows' functionality.
Windows has always collected information like this. Every blue screen of death creates an error report which is uploaded to Microsoft. But so much more is collected now and, yes, this does mean that search terms that you enter into Windows as well as anonymous machine gibberish is going up to the cloud.
Microsoft has said that personal information is seldom taken and that when it is, there is an opt-out. However, the firm added that "in the cases where we've not provided options, we feel that those things have to do with the health of the system, and are not personal information or are not related to privacy".
The company has already had to relax its stance on enterprise users having telemetry data sucked up. Microsoft is relying on Windows 10 being a hit with enterprise customers as well as home users, and as a consequence if the confidentiality of user terminals and their servers is in any way in doubt, it's game over. As such, Windows 10 Enterprise now has the option to turn telemetry off, but Microsoft strongly recommends that you don't.
There's not a lot you can do for other versions of Windows 10, however. Microsoft is harvesting big data to make your day nicer and nicer (it thinks) and, because Windows is now 'as-a-service', this is all done automatically for your comfort and convenience. Apparently.
Belfiore added: "We're going to continue to listen to what the broad public says about these decisions, and ultimately our goal is to balance the right thing happening for the most people - really, for everyone - with complexity that comes with putting in a whole lot of control."
The problem is that it's at the expense of choice. Microsoft is making a lot of decisions with Windows 10 we used to be able to make for ourselves, and there's a fine line between convenience and space invasion. µ
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