EU Remains Skeptical Of Microsoft's Windows 10 Privacy Controls And Data Collection Policies

It looks as though Microsoft just can’t catch a break when it comes to the privacy settings incorporated into Windows 10. The company came under fire shortly after the launch of the operating system during the summer of 2015 over concerns that personal information was being beamed back to the mothership in Redmond, Washington; and Microsoft hasn’t completely alleviated those concerns for some.

Windows 10

The latest to show signs of skepticism is the European Union (EU). According to Reuters, the Article 29 Working Party, which is composed of 28 governing bodies that enforce data protection laws, is taking issue with the default privacy settings that are enabled when a user first installs Windows 10 (or boots into the OS for the first time). The group is concerned about how the customer data is obtained and how it is subsequently stored by Microsoft.

"In light of the above, which are separate to the results of ongoing inquiries at a national level, even considering the proposed changes to Windows 10, the Working Party remains concerned about the level of protection of users’ personal data," said the group in a statement.

The move from the EU comes despite the fact that Microsoft recently announced new changes to privacy settings within Windows 10 to increase transparency. The new privacy settings, which will be included in the Windows 10 Creators Update this spring, were added in part to appease both regulators and anxious customers.

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“At Microsoft, we are deeply committed to protecting our customers’ privacy. This includes providing clear choices and easy-to-use tools that put you in control of how your information is collected and used,” said Windows Chief Terry Myerson in January. “Trust is a core pillar of our More Personal Computing vision, and we are working hard to make sure Windows 10 is the most secure Windows ever and a product you love and trust.”

Back in July, France's National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) expressed its own dissatisfaction with Windows 10’s penchant for collecting excessive customer data. “We built strong privacy protections into Windows 10, and we welcome feedback as we continually work to enhance those protections,” said Microsoft at the time.

“We will work closely with the CNIL over the next few months to understand the agency's concerns fully and to work toward solutions that it will find acceptable.”