Electric Frontier Foundation Calls Out Microsoft’s Blatant Disregard For User Privacy In Windows 10

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The Electric Frontier Foundation (EFF) is calling out Microsoft for disregarding user privacy in Windows 10. The foundation is concerned that in Microsoft’s race to get Windows 10 on a billion devices by 2018, it has put user privacy on the back burner.

Microsoft first installed an app in users’ system trays that advertised the free upgrade to Windows 10. When this tactic largely failed, Microsoft bundled the Windows 10 update in a variety of security patches. Microsoft then tried to feature Windows 10 as a “recommended update”. Microsoft even decided to interpret a user’s click on the ‘X’ in the upper right hand corner as consent to update to Windows 10

The EFF stated, “Time after time, with each update, Microsoft chose to employ questionable tactics to cause users to download a piece of software that many didn’t want. What users actually wanted didn’t seem to matter.”

The foundation also accused Microsoft of disregarding user’s privacy. The OS assistant Cortana records and sends location data, text input, voice input, touch input, webpages a user visits, and telemetry data regarding your general usage of an user’s computer. There is also no guarantee that Cortana will ever stop communicating with Microsoft’s servers. Microsoft has argued that it aggregates and anonymizes data, but it has not shared how the accomplish this feat. It also has not revealed how long it will keep the data. Users are unable to opt-out of this feature and have to share at least a little about of data with Microsoft.

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The EFF encourages Microsoft to “come clean”. The organization remarked, “The company needs to acknowledge its missteps and offer real, meaningful opt-outs to the users who want them, preferably in a single unified screen. It also needs to be straightforward in separating security updates from operating system upgrades going forward, and not try to bypass user choice and privacy expectations.”