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Microsoft tackles Windows 10 privacy concerns with new data collection viewer

Microsoft tackles Windows 10 privacy concerns with new data collection viewer


A lot more transparency is on the way

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Microsoft has faced continued concerns around its collection of data with Windows 10. France previously ordered Microsoft to stop tracking Windows 10 users, the EU has voiced its concerns, and the EFF has blasted Microsoft over its data collection. While the software giant revealed what data Windows 10 really collects last year, it’s going one step further with the next update to the operating system.

Starting this week, Windows 10 testers will be able to access a new Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer. The viewer includes an overview of data being sent to Microsoft’s servers by Windows 10. Microsoft collects a bunch of anonymous Windows 10 data from users to help improve the operating system and make product decisions. The new viewer is similar to something like Wireshark, and it lets Windows 10 users decrypt data that is sent encrypted to Microsoft’s servers.

Any Windows 10 user will be able to dig into the data

The diagnostic data includes device connectivity, peripherals, configuration options, performance data, movie consumption, installed apps, and a lot more. Windows 10 users who want this granular level of detail will be able to filter it and inspect the contents. It’s a lot more transparent than Microsoft publishing documents and hoping to ease concerns.

The viewer will be available to Windows Insiders first, and Microsoft is promising to include it in the next major update to Windows 10. Codenamed Redstone 4, we don’t currently have a name for the next update but it’s expected to be available in the spring. Microsoft is also updating its online privacy dashboard to provide a clearer activity history page, and the ability in the future to export and delete data, or view and manage media consumption data.

All of these privacy improvements are clearly a response to growing concerns around Windows 10 data collection. Microsoft’s Windows 10 privacy headache has been an ongoing issue for more than two years. Microsoft has addressed a number of complaints previously, but some misleading stories suggested Windows 10 has a built-in keylogger, while others have focused on unfounded concerns about gaming and ad-supported versions of Solitaire. Microsoft is now being transparent as possible, and it’s clearly hoping that the new data collection viewer will silence any remaining concerns.