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Microsoft finally speaks about privacy settings in Windows 10

Microsoft is trying to bring in more transparency to Windows 10 with its new Creators Update by exhaustively detailing their privacy and telemetry settings.

Apart from enhancing 3D creation and mixed reality tools, game broadcasting experience, and browsing improvements in Edge, the Creators Update on Windows 10 has more. Microsoft has finally opened up on their privacy settings and the kind of data they collect from Windows 10 devices. The update will enable users to know exactly what’s at stake so that they can voluntarily choose to opt-in or opt-out. Microsoft hasn’t been entirely open about their telemetry settings in Windows 10. The Creators Update should effectively address privacy concerns for users ignored by Microsoft since the launch of Windows 10.

More transparency in the Creators Update

Windows had been notoriously collecting a lot of data behind the scenes and sending it back to their servers. Your usage statistics and activity is being collected so that the company can determine issues with your system easily and suggest solutions to resolve them. Although the intention seems to be positive, an option to refuse to allow Microsoft from collecting your data was missing. Now, the company is finally going to allow users to take control of what kind of data Microsoft can collect from you.

Windows 10 Creators Update Privacy Settings
New and improved privacy settings on the Windows 10 Creators Update.

The company is going to list each and every privacy setting with short descriptions to make them easier to understand, to avoid any form of confusion. They have also updated their privacy statement, making the documentation more transparent about the data they collect. Earlier there were three data sharing options – Basic, Enhanced, and Full. The new update will bring it down to two – Basic and Full. In an incredibly detailed report, they opened up about all the diagnostic data points they’ll be collecting in the Basic telemetry setting of the Windows 10 version 1073 (Creators Update). However, an equivalent list isn’t available for the Full telemetry setting, but they’ve released some of the data points inclusive of Basic data. The company has apparently reduced the amount of data collected by half which means that they have drastically reduced the diagnostic data they’ve been collecting. The company says that the remaining data points will stay in order to ensure the Windows 10 systems are up to date and secure.

Windows 10 users will only be able to use the updated privacy settings in the Creators Update it seems. After installing the update, users will be notified to review their privacy settings. Users will have access to the online Microsoft privacy dashboard where you will be able to review and delete data that Microsoft collects. There’s no mention of the telemetry data collection in earlier builds of Windows 10 or even older versions of Windows. However, the company ensures that they’ll be refining their approach based on the feedback they receive about data collection and privacy. In future updates to the dashboard, it will include more control over Cortana’s ability to respond to your voice commands. You will also get to review the voice data collected.

The Creators Update is scheduled to rollout on April 11. If you’ve been living under a rock and suddenly feel vulnerable about your data being sent to Microsoft, download and install Spybot Anti-Beacon. This handy little tool will disable all the telemetry data that is sneakily being collected in the background.

Source: Windows Blog

Abhijit Dey

Abhijit Dey

While indulging deep into conspiracy theories surrounding comic book movie plots, he can be found rewatching them looking for easter eggs. Otherwise, his weekends are spent on gaming and browsing memes.