Microsoft launched its Windows 10 operating system on July 29th, and it was praised for its wealth of new features, remarkable stability, performance, and return of the Start menu. However, the operating system has been dogged by issues surrounding user privacy. From machine IDs, to key logging, to silently downloading a multi-gigabyte ISO of Windows 10 to Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines without user permission, Microsoft has a lot to answer for.
Today, Windows chief Terry Myerson took to the official Windows blog to help clear the air with respect to Windows 10 and user privacy. Myerson starts off by stating that Windows 10 was designed from the onset to “[collect] information so the product will work better for you” and that “you are in control with the ability to determine what information is collected.”
Myerson says that some information — which includes an anonymous device ID, device type, and application crash data — that is sent back to Microsoft and often shared with “developer partners” is instrumental in improving Windows 10 reliability across the board. He goes on to state that none of your content or files is transferred in the process that no personally identifiable information is submitted. This this sharing of information allows Microsoft to deliver software and driver fixes in as soon as 24 hours to Windows Insiders to further test.
As for concerns that Cortana oversteps its boundaries when it comes to sending data back to the mothership, Myerson adds, “Features like Cortana which require more personal information to deliver the full experience, you are asked if you want to turn them on and are given additional privacy customization options.”
Myerson also addressed the thorny issue of “spying” in Windows 10 courtesy tools that allow parents to see what sites have been visited on their children’s computers. Microsoft has received plenty of feedback on that subject, with Myerson adding, “As an example of direct response to feedback we’ve received, all Windows 10 customers will receive an upcoming update to family features, with default settings designed to be more appropriate for teenagers, compared to younger children.
“Additionally, we’re working on ways to further enhance the notifications that kids and parents get about activity reporting in Windows.”
Myerson of course doesn’t delve into every single bullet-point concerning beefs that consumer and the tech community at large has with Windows 10 and privacy, but we’re glad that Microsoft is at least addressing the issues head-on. And despite all the hoopla surrounding Windows 10 security and privacy, the operating system is still doing incredibly well for Microsoft. The company has officially confirmed that Windows 10 has been installed on over 75 million computers worldwide. However, new numbers today from Petri suggest that that number has already swollen to over 100 million installs as we approach the two-month mark since the operating system’s public release.