It has been nearly two months since the launch of Windows 10, and Microsoft is finally responding to the growing privacy concerns around the new operating system. In a detailed blog post from Windows chief Terry Myerson, Microsoft details all of the ways Windows 10 collects and uses data. Myerson claims "Windows 10 collects information so the product will work better for you," and that "you are in control with the ability to determine what information is collected."
Microsoft dismisses concerns over application crash data
There have been a number of concerns over the content of application crash data, but Myerson reveals Microsoft doesn't collect content or files, and that the company takes "several steps to avoid collecting any information that directly identifies you, such as your name, email address or account ID." Why does Microsoft even need this data? Myerson says Microsoft has used the data collected to roll out reliability fixes to Windows 10 "within 24 hours" of a particular crash.
One large part of Windows 10 is the new Cortana digital assistant, but its integration has been causing privacy concerns. Myerson claims that if you enable Cortana then "you are in control of the information we collect for these purposes and can update your settings at any time." However, Myerson doesn't directly address some of the concerns around Cortana- and OneDrive-related features still sending data after they're disabled.
Windows 10's default family settings will be improved
Windows 10 also includes family features that are enabled by default to send activity data to a parent. Concerns have been raised over internet history data being sent automatically to parents, and Microsoft is planning to update Windows 10 to change this. "All Windows 10 customers will receive an upcoming update to family features, with default settings designed to be more appropriate for teenagers, compared to younger children," says Myerson. "Additionally, we’re working on ways to further enhance the notifications that kids and parents get about activity reporting in Windows."
While Microsoft isn't addressing every concern today, the company is welcoming feedback if Windows 10 isn't "behaving the way it should with your privacy settings." Issues can be reported at Microsoft's website or though the Insiders program.