Windows 10 criticised over privacy issues

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Microsoft’s brand new Windows 10 operating system was only released on the 29th of July, but has already been downloaded over 14 million times. It has been described as “faster” and more “user-friendly” than Microsoft’s previous operating systems and users can easily upgrade free. However, some tech experts have criticised the operating system, labelling it as “intrusive”.

Tech bloggers have said that the default settings for Windows 10 have several privacy issues and that changing them is not an easy task for users. Users can sign in with their Microsoft account, which means that Windows has access to personal information such as emails and calendar information. The operating system comes with the brand new Edge internet browser and Cortana, a voice assistant, both of which have access to personal data.

Web developer Jonathan Porta voiced his concerns over privacy in a blog post, stating: “I am pretty surprised by the far-reaching data collection that Microsoft seems to want. I am even more surprised by the fact that the settings all default to incredibly intrusive. I am certain that most individuals will just accept the defaults and have no idea how much information they are giving away.”

Porta also noted that Microsoft has access to personal data such as users’ contacts and “other associated data”. The company also asks users for access to information such as location history. This information is passed onto trusted sources, which has led to Porta branding the operating system’s default settings as “vague and bordering on scary”.

Alec Meer from the Rock, Paper and Shotgun website, expressed his concerns over Microsoft wanting access to personal data and posted this passage from the company’s terms of use in his blog post:

“We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to protect our customers or enforce the terms governing the use of the services.”

Meer also criticised the operating system for placing personalised ads in its new version of solitaire.

“Essentially, you might wind up clicking on more ads than you otherwise would, because they’re tailored to your interests. Some people may not mind that, others will find it to be profoundly sinister,” he said.


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