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Microsoft adds new Windows 10 privacy controls
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-03-06 20:12:12

Microsoft is once again tackling privacy concerns around Windows 10 today. The software giant is releasing a new test build of Windows 10 to Windows Insiders today that includes changes to the privacy controls for the operating system. While most privacy settings have been confined to a single screen with multiple options, Microsoft is testing a variety of ways that will soon change.

There have been some concerns that Windows 10 has a built-in “keylogger,” because the operating system uses typing data to improve autocompletion, next word prediction, and spelling correction. Microsoft’s upcoming spring update for Windows 10 will introduce a separate screen to enable improved inking and typing recognition, and allow users to opt-out of sending inking and typing data to Microsoft.

I doubt any of these changes will reassure people who refuse to use Windows because of privacy concerns.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-30 -- 31-40 -- 41-47
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Comment by Drumhellar
By Drumhellar on 2018-03-06 21:25:02
> I doubt any of these changes will reassure people who refuse to use Windows because of privacy concerns.

Of course not, at least not until Microsoft figures out a way to keep people from moving the goalposts.

If Microsoft completely stopped collecting telemetry, many of these people would believe Microsoft just found a way to do it secretly - after all, now that there is a tool that lets you view all the telemetry Windows collects, those people still believe there is data Microsoft is hiding - a belief based on no evidence.

And then, there are the people that have the opinion that Microsoft knowing how many times you click the start menu is the same as breaking into your home to read your diary.
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RE: Comment by Drumhellar
By leech on 2018-03-06 22:01:49
To be fair, can you really trust it not to send anything unless it was open source and people could go through the code to see EXACTLY what it is doing?

With a tool "oh, we show you what we collect (at least that we're okay with you knowing what we collect...)"

The fact they started doing it in the first place is the big 'why'.
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RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
By BluenoseJake on 2018-03-06 22:04:27
Why is MS any different then Google, or Apple? They also collect all sorts of info, and are less transparent. The reason they started doing it is the same as MS, but for some reason, they get a pass.

Edited 2018-03-06 22:05 UTC
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RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
By Drumhellar on 2018-03-06 22:33:03
> To be fair, can you really trust it not to send anything unless it was open source and people could go through the code to see EXACTLY what it is doing?

I can. Not absolutely, but then again, that level of absolute trust isn't available for open source projects either.

Unless you are capable of reliably analyzing every bit of code that produces your OS on your own, you have to trust somebody.

You have to trust developers that say their software does what it says and nothing more. You have to trust your distribution that they're giving you the packages patched only in the way they say they're patching software. You have to trust that third parties actually bothered to check to make sure your distribution maker is giving you what they say, and that they are actually competent.

At some point, you just have to trust somebody. Pretending this isn't the case is naive, and simply incorrect.

Do I trust Microsoft software?
After all the years I've been using it, I've never heard of their software doing anything nefarious w/r to user data. They have consistently been clear about what they do, and in the areas they have been less clear, at least their opacity has been well defined.

I haven't seen any reasons why I should specifically distrust them.

From Microsoft's perspective, not doing so is a huge financial risk - think of what would happen in Europe especially if they were caught sending data they said they weren't collecting. The EU isn't shy from imposing huge fines and tight restrictions on large companies that break the rules.

> The fact they started doing it in the first place is the big 'why'.

Started doing what in the first place? Collecting telemetry? That's easy: Makes it easier to find bugs and diagnose problems. There's been plenty of examples in Windows 10 where users were afflicted by bugs in updates that didn't show up in insider releases, that telemetry was able to provide answers for.

Why did they release the tool to examine all the telemetry? People have been asking for it, and it actually will assuage some of the distrust about the telemetry data when people are able to analyze it.
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RE: Comment by Drumhellar
By WorknMan on 2018-03-07 00:26:39
> those people still believe there is data Microsoft is hiding - a belief based on no evidence.

Well, hopefully those people are not using Windows 7, if they're that paranoid.

As for the 'FOSS or death' crowd, they would never use anything proprietary anyway, so their opinions don't matter much in this regard.
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RE[2]: Comment by Drumhellar
By FlyingJester on 2018-03-07 01:39:10
Being "Open Source" never stopped Chromium from downloading backbox binaries on Debian that could listen in on your microphone.
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RE: Comment by Drumhellar
By Alfman on 2018-03-07 01:41:23
Drumhellar,

> Of course not, at least not until Microsoft figures out a way to keep people from moving the goalposts.
If Microsoft completely stopped collecting telemetry, many of these people would believe Microsoft just found a way to do it secretly - after all, now that there is a tool that lets you view all the telemetry Windows collects, those people still believe there is data Microsoft is hiding - a belief based on no evidence.



That's not all of us though, a simple option to turn off all data collection without having to block the OS at the firewall would go a long way. A user's choice should be respected regardless of their reason.


> And then, there are the people that have the opinion that Microsoft knowing how many times you click the start menu is the same as breaking into your home to read your diary.

To be fair though, even trivial evidence like that can be used in court. Beyond that, it's also a matter of principal, some of us just don't want corporations monitoring us at all. Microsoft has no business monitoring me in my home against my wishes no matter how innocuous it claims the data collection is.
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RE[3]: Comment by Drumhellar
By Alfman on 2018-03-07 02:10:30
Drumhellar,

> You have to trust developers that say their software does what it says and nothing more. You have to trust your distribution that they're giving you the packages patched only in the way they say they're patching software. You have to trust that third parties actually bothered to check to make sure your distribution maker is giving you what they say, and that they are actually competent. At some point, you just have to trust somebody. Pretending this isn't the case is naive, and simply incorrect.

It's true, sometimes claims about FOSS get exaggerated. However just one minor counter point: with proprietary software, trust typically has a single point of failure (the commercial vendor). With FOSS on the other hand, trust can span multiple parties, adding a form of "trust redundancy" that isn't possible with proprietary software because no one else has the source.


> Do I trust Microsoft software?
After all the years I've been using it, I've never heard of their software doing anything nefarious w/r to user data. They have consistently been clear about what they do, and in the areas they have been less clear, at least their opacity has been well defined.

I haven't seen any reasons why I should specifically distrust them.


This is a dated reference, but what about the "_nsakey" that was revealed when microsoft accidentally published a debug version of the kernel?

https://www.heise.de/tp/features/...

Microsoft tried to rebuke the accusations in public, but it never really provided supporting evidence.
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To be fair
By Poseidon on 2018-03-07 02:19:02
Seriously, Apple, Google and Microsoft all collect on their mobile operating systems immense amount of data. There's not really much that can be done about that on any platform except Android, which is released in open source mode (most of the os except drivers from vendors), but even then, that means you'd have to re-image the phone with the clean, audited version. Since the drivers are not open source, that means that your device could just be a nice PDA and that's about it, unless someone takes the time to write drivers for devices as well.

I only know of Copperhead, and they're still not as open as one would like.

That's some disturbing situation.
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RE: Comment by Drumhellar
By l3v1 on 2018-03-07 06:38:02
> now that there is a tool that lets you view all the telemetry Windows collects, those people still believe there is data Microsoft is hiding - a belief based on no evidence

So, we don't know what they collect, but if they give you some tool that shows you something, then suddenly i). you know what they collect, ii). you believe what they collect is what the tool shows you, iii). everyone else is crazy tinfolhatter. The one thing you're right about is that there's no evidence, but that goes both ways, and this issue is clearly not one of belief. There's no absolute way to tell what they collect, thus, there's no way anyone could believe anything about it. You could disable telemetry service, but again, there's no evidence that's the only way they collect anything, plus, they have a habit of renaming services for fun's sake.

My point is, unless we know for sure, which we don't, there's no reason to believe anything they try to convince us about. But this is not a Microsoft/Win-specific issue, you'd do better take everything with a grain of salt.
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