Lately there has been an increasing concern about Microsoft sending user data to its servers in huge amounts through its Windows 10 operating system. The Electronic Frontier Foundation had recently accused Microsoft of violating its customers’ privacy through Windows 10 by constantly sending user data to its servers without customers’ knowledge. According to a report from the foundation, if you are regularly using Cortana, you’re sending user data to Microsoft with great frequency. Information about your location, text input, voice input, touch input and websites you visit, are constantly being sent to the Microsoft servers.
According to the concerns raised by the foundation, “While users can disable some of the settings, it is not a guarantee that your computer will stop talking to Microsoft’s servers. A significant issue is the telemetry data that the company receives.”
Telemetry data is the data that is automatically acquired from remote locations using sensors and other wireless devices. This data is stored on the company’s servers for targeting, processing and analysis.
How does Microsoft send user data to its servers?
A big problem is, while Microsoft is sending user data to its servers, the software company hasn’t revealed how it collects the data, where it is stored and for how long it is going to keep the data on the company servers. It just goes on sending user data to its servers without explanation.
Due to voices of dissent coming from different sources, Microsoft has decided to address this issue by releasing a “Creators Update”. It plans to provide some means to stop Windows 10 from sending user data to its servers by controlling various levels of data collection.
With the new update Microsoft will be simplifying the diagnostic data collection levels so that it becomes clear what telemetry data is being sent to the company’s servers. Currently, Microsoft seems to be sending user data to its servers at three levels. After the update, there will be an option to switch between basic and full data collection levels.
Why is Microsoft constantly sending user data to its servers?
Every software company asks you if you would let it collect some sort of data while you are using its software application and you can choose between different levels. Some of the data, according to this Microsoft blog post, is “vital to the operation of Windows” and hence, cannot be avoided being uploaded. The highlight of the message is:
We’re launching a new web-based privacy dashboard so you can see and control your activity data from Microsoft including location, search, browsing, and Cortana Notebook data across multiple Microsoft services. Second, we’re introducing in Windows 10 a new privacy set up experience, simplifying Diagnostic data levels and further reducing the data collected at the Basic level. These Windows 10 changes are being introduced in a Windows Insider build soon for feedback first and will be rolled out to everyone when the Windows 10 Creators Update becomes available.
If you’re concerned about Microsoft sending user data to its servers then maybe after this “Creators Update” you will be able to decide how much data you would like to share with Microsoft.
But what do they mean by “Creators Update”? As the name suggests, the latest update, that should be available in the spring of 2017, will be primarily targeting “creators”; people who want to unleash their creativity. With these updates you will be able to use Paint and PowerPoint to create 3-D objects. Basically, in the “Creators Update” Microsoft will be introducing various features that will allow you to use your creativity digitally.
But people concerned for their privacy look at this update hoping that they will be able to control sending user data to Microsoft servers.