Windows 10 May Put Your Privacy At Risk, Consumer Watchdogs Point Out Microsoft’s Vague Privacy Policies

Windows 10 is undoubtedly what Microsoft needs to get back in the game that Google and Apple are currently playing.

Microsoft’s new operating system has made sure that it’s as far and as different as possible from the disastrous Windows 8 and does this by harkening back to the age of Windows 7, only with better features and settings.

Unfortunately, those settings set people up so that Microsoft can easily access and save personal data, all in the name of improving their services.

After Windows 10 was released, watchdogs and other privacy experts were quick to point out Microsoft’s vague privacy policy that states the company “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.”

This is potentially disastrous as it suggests that Microsoft can begin collating information like the customer’s basic info, passwords, credit cards, search history, phone calls, websites and apps used and even one’s handwriting.

The Cortana feature is being pointed out as the main culprit as the built-in digital assistant is touted to remember and use the information it collects to better serve the user.

Microsoft was quick to allay these fears and a spokesperson for the company gave assurances that “Windows does not collect personal information without your consent” and that the “performance, diagnostic and usage information” that it keeps is used primarily to identify problem areas and help in coming up with fixes.

However, some consumer watch groups claim that even though Microsoft has an opt-out option in its system, the vague terms leave many users unaware of the scale of information that the company is privy to and how to address it.

To that end, some watch groups and forums have come out with instructions and tips on what consumers can do to protect themselves. Interestingly, some sites have pointed out how difficult Microsoft has made it for users to restrict the company’s access to their private data.

One site advises users to select the “custom install” option instead of the “express install” when installing Windows 10. Selecting “custom install” will bring up a page with a lot of toggles regarding a user’s data. The site recommends that a user turns it all off.

It also explained that while some of the settings were just sending Microsoft information about one’s activity, settings that deal with automatic connections to hotspots will put one’s information and all a person’s contacts at risk.

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