MICROSOFT HAS BEEN FOUND GUILTY of breaching Dutch data protection laws in the way that it collects telemetry metadata in Windows 10.
The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) said on Friday that, after investigating Microsoft's Windows 10 Home and Pro operating systems - of which there are four million users in the Netherlands - it has concluded that the firm "does not clearly inform users about the type of data it uses, and for which purpose".
The DPA adds that the firm also makes it impossible for users to give their consent to their personal data being processed.
"The company does not clearly inform users that it continuously collects personal data about the usage of apps and web surfing behaviour through its web browser Edge, when the default settings are used," the DPA states.
The Dutch watchdog says that "Microsoft has indicated that it wants to end all violations", adding that if this is not the case, it can impose a sanction on the company, which would likely take the form of a financial penalty.
Commenting on the decision, Wilbert Tomesen, vice-chairman of the DPA, said: "It turns out that Microsoft's operating system follows about every step you take on your computer. That results in an intrusive profile of yourself.
"What does that mean? Do people know about this, do they want this? Microsoft needs to give users a fair opportunity to decide about this themselves."
Microsoft has responded to the DPA's finding in a blog post (translated), stating: "We are committed to continuing to improve and build on the innovations in Windows 10. In listening and responding to feedback from customers and regulators, we continue to make each update better than the last."
The firm goes on to point out a number of privacy-related changes that it has made to Windows 10, and notes that more will come in its forthcoming Autumn Creators Update.
"This year we have released a new privacy dashboard and several new privacy features to provide clear choices to our customers and easy-to-use tools in Windows 10. Next week, we have even more privacy improvements coming in the Fall Creators Update," the firm said. µ
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