Electronic Frontier Foundation blasts Microsoft with regards to Windows 10 privacy concerns
The Electronic Frontier Foundation or as more commonly known as EFF has accused Microsoft of ignoring user choice with regards to privacy with Windows 10.
There is an article circulating online posted by an EFF employee named Amul Kalia that has stated that Microsoft needs to “come clean with its user community” due to the barrage of privacy concerns being raised against them.
According to him “Windows 10 sends an unprecedented amount of usage data back to Microsoft”.
This is done by enabling Cortana which increased the data being forwarded back to Microsoft.
He is not alone on this argument. Privacy experts and advocates have stated that Windows 10 transmits the following data which are listed below:
2. text input
3. voice input
4. touch input
5. websites you visit
6. and other telemetry data to Microsoft.
It is a known fact that even though users can disable some of these settings, however, it is not a 100 percent guarantee that your computer will communicate back to Microsoft’s servers.
According to Kalia, “A significant issue is the telemetry data the company receives.” Microsoft has previously insisted it anonymizes telemetry data, but the EFF is concerned the company hasn’t explained exactly how it does this. “Microsoft also won’t say how long this data is retained, instead providing only general time frames.”
Being said, telemetry data is clearly a huge concern, the EFF focuses on Microsoft’s confusing link between this data and security patches.
They have been trying to explain it to consumers that Windows update would not function as it should on computers that have telemetry data set to a minimum.
According to Kalia, “Microsoft is claiming that giving ordinary users more privacy by letting them turn telemetry reporting down to its lowest level would risk their security since they would no longer get security updates.”
On top of that, EFF also criticized Microsoft for its very aggressive Windows 10 upgrade tactics. Eventually, they have ceased the deceptive and annoying pop-ups that offers a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users.
According to the EFF, “The tactics Microsoft employed to get users of earlier versions of Windows to upgrade to Windows 10 went from annoying to downright malicious,”
It has been been forced to consumers by doing an automatic Windows 10 installation. Due to that, they have received a backlash of complaints. The notification to upgrade even though dismissed by the user still proceeded to install. One woman even received payment over a court case against Microsoft amounting to $10,000 which resulted to Microsoft tweaking its upgrade notification.
This small and harmless looking issue has grown into a major privacy headache over the past year which triggers genuine concerns and fear among users of the software.
It’s clearly a breach of trust by against Microsoft’s tactics. Windows 10 users who do not wish to transmit data back to the software giant, no matter how anonymized it is is still a pressing issue.
Transparency is the key here. Though Microsoft was forced to address some of the concerns over a course of months, full transparency has forced the EFF to demand “real, meaningful opt-outs to the users who want them.”
Microsoft responded to the EFF concerns which said “Microsoft is committed to customer privacy and ensuring that customers have the information and tools they need to make informed decisions,” says a Microsoft spokesperson. “We listened to feedback from our customers and evolved our approach to the upgrade process. Windows 10 continues to have the highest satisfaction of any version of Windows.”