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Microsoft to address latest Windows 10 privacy concerns with Creators Update

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Windows 10 has faced a growing number of privacy concerns in recent months. While Microsoft has responded to some previously, the latest criticism came from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, accusing the software maker of sending an “unprecedented amount of usage data” back to the company with Windows 10. Microsoft is now hoping to quell some of these fears with several changes to its privacy controls in the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update.

Microsoft is planning to simplify the diagnostic data collection levels, so that it’s clear what telemetry data is being sent back to the company’s servers. Currently there are three levels, but in the Creators Update there will be an option to switch between basic and full data collection levels. “We’ve further reduced the data collected at the Basic level,” explains Windows chief Terry Myerson in a blog post today. “This includes data that is vital to the operation of Windows.” Microsoft will introduce a new privacy options set up process, with clearer options for disabling location, speech recognition, diagnostics, recommendations, and relevant ads. The new options certainly look a lot clearer, and it appears the basic data collection will only include necessary error reporting.

Microsoft is also introducing a new web-based privacy dashboard. It’s designed to show Microsoft Account users any activity data including location, search, browsing, and Cortana data in a single view. You can clear data like browsing history, location data, or search history all in the new privacy dashboard which is available now. Microsoft says it’s planning to “add more functionality and categories of data over time.”

Privacy advocates have argued since the introduction of Windows 10, that the operating system sends back location, text input, voice input, touch input, websites you visit, and other telemetry data to Microsoft. The company’s latest changes are clearly designed to address some of these concerns, but we’ll have to wait until the Creators Update is available in April to see whether Microsoft has truly addressed all of the EFF’s concerns.