Windows 10 Does Not Compromise User Privacy, Says Microsoft

Since the rollout of Windows 10 in late July, many privacy advocates have claimed that Microsoft’s new OS spies on users. Even as privacy conversations overshadowed new features in Windows 10, Microsoft was tight-lipped. Now Terry Myerson, EVP of Windows & Devices group at Microsoft, has tried to assure users that Windows 10 doesn’t violate users’ privacy.

Windows 10 collects data to improve user experience

Myerson said in a blog post Monday that the new OS doesn’t put anyone’s personal information or privacy at risk. Windows 10 collects data to make it work better for you. And users are in control of what information they want to share with Microsoft. The Redmond-based company has also updated its Windows 10 FAQ pages to clear the air on the privacy front.

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He noted that the data the OS collects is encrypted and stored in secure facilities. Privacy advocates have accused Microsoft of lacking transparency on how it shares your WiFi network, logs your keystrokes, and forbids users from turning off all the privacy features. Microsoft has also assigned a unique ID to every machine to track users. The Microsoft exec said data collected by Windows 10 is broadly divided into three categories: safety & reliability data, personalization data, and advertising data.

The data collected through crash logs is used to offer bug fixes and improvements. It falls in the first category. Myerson said Microsoft doesn’t collect anyone’s content or files. The second is personalization data that is collected through apps and services like Cortana, Bing, OneDrive, Skype and Outlook. This is how the system learns a user’s habits and behaviors to personalize their experiences on Windows 10.

Windows 10 doesn’t scan the content to your emails

Talking about advertising data, Microsoft said the advertising IDs ensure that users are served targeted experience. Taking a dig at Google, Myerson said neither Windows 10 or any other Microsoft tool scans the content of your email or other communications to deliver targeted ads “no matter what privacy options you choose.”

By addressing users’ privacy concerns, Microsoft has taken a step in the right direction. However, these issues seem to have had little impact on Windows 10 upgrades. As many as 75 million users had upgraded to Windows 10 in the first month of its launch.