Windows 10 privacy enhancements are a good step, but still not enough
Last week we talked about several changes in privacy management presented by Microsoft in Windows 10. Mainly two, a web portal from which we can manage everything that Microsoft knows about us, and a new privacy panel to be released with Its next major update and will appear when installing the operating system replacing the current one.
The announcement is an important step for users, something they have said even from the EFF. But as soon as the experts have begun to dissect it have seen that it still raises many doubts about the real impact on the privacy of the user, and even means like The Register have begun to qualify it like a mere movement to avoid the fines with which they threatened several Institutions.
The main problem that comes with your privacy panel. When you install Windows 10, the operating system will let you choose between two options for configuring data collection: complete or basic. The basic collection includes the status of the hardware and its specifications, the quality of your connection and the registry of errors and hangs of the system, as well as any compatibility problems, data about the use of drivers and what applications you have installed.
Therefore, in essence, if you are a user of Windows 10 Pro and Home, with these two options you will still not be able to prevent Windows from collecting telemetry on your computer and its use. It is not the same with the Enterprise, Education, Mobile Enterprise, IoT Core or Server 2016 versions, which can turn off data collection in a simple way, although Microsoft does not recommend it.
Those in Redmond defend themselves by saying that the basic level collects only the vital data for the operating system to function properly and so they can keep Windows and its applications secure and up-to-date. So here we enter the classic dilemma of how much it is necessary to sacrifice our privacy to enjoy the latest technologies, and elements such as Cortana or the ease of having a native application store in the system.
Just makeup in front of the institutions?
Both users, organizations like the EFF, and institutions such as the French authorities or the Swiss Data Protection Commission has presented in recent weeks concern about the way in which Microsoft collect data on users. Interestingly, following the announcement last Wednesday the Swiss institution announced that it would abandon its threats of lawsuits after Microsoft implemented the recommendations that had been launched.
Therefore, these new rules can be interpreted to help us better manage our privacy as a reactionary movement on the part of Microsoft to avoid major evils and legal problems that focus on this problem. And that is precisely what Microsoft is now accused of various means of thinking about institutions but not users.
Therefore, we can say that Microsoft has taken an important step to help us better understand and manage the data they collect about us, but it is still insufficient. Seeing that the advanced versions of Windows 10 can totally disable the telemetry, it would be fair that the option was also in the editions Home and Pro. Put all the warnings you want, warns that Cortana will die and that users will be in danger, but so Less damage to that option.