After the initial excitement surrounding the release of Windows 10 died down, claims soon arose that Microsoft was harvesting data from users’ PCs, apparently without their permission. Matters were further complicated when Windows Updates began enabling similar ‘telemetry’ functions on older Windows 7 and 8 PCs in readiness for the upgrade process.
Personal data has become a hot topic as awareness grows of the potential implications of collection and processing. The ambiguous terms of service on many platforms like Facebook and Google mean that people are justifiably concerned to discover data is being collected without explicit permission, or without knowing what happens to it.
2 key privacy principles at Microsoft
Microsoft has moved to quell concerns by explaining exactly how and why Windows 10 collects data. Terry Myerson, who heads up the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, explained that they adhere to two key privacy principles:
- Windows 10 collects information so the product will work better for individual users.
- Users maintain full control, with the ability to determine what information is collected.
In a statement to rebut concerns, Myerson stated that everything Microsoft does is designed to uphold these principles: “No matter what privacy options you choose, neither Windows 10 nor any other Microsoft software scans the content of your email or other communications, or your files, in order to deliver targeted advertising to you.”
Improving services with real-world data
Services like Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-activated digital assistant, collect and store user commands to help improve the accuracy of future operations. But Microsoft has provided a range of customisation options that allow users to control what information is included – as well as the ability to prevent any personal data being collected or transmitted to Microsoft.
With these clarifications, individuals should be reassured that their computer is not spying on them, nor is Microsoft harvesting personal data for use in advertising or other unwanted applications. Similarly, businesses can be sure that corporate data is not at risk of being stolen, reused, or exposed to third parties.
For any business delaying the move to Windows 10 because of privacy concerns, Myerson’s clarification should remove all doubt, so that the necessary work can begin on planning and starting the upgrade process. If you have other questions about using new Microsoft systems such as Office 2016, please get in touch with the expert 365 Business team at Complete I.T. – we’ll be happy to advise you.