Windows 10 roll-out began on 29 July and the operating system is getting mixed reactions from all over the world. Everything, from its series of new features and upgrades like Cortana and Microsoft Edge to its "Something happened" error message, Windows 10 is building a whole new platform for all devices under a single banner.
In a shocking revelation earlier this week, BGR dug through Microsoft's 12,000-word service agreement and discovered Windows 10 is spying on almost every activity that the user does on the PC. Luckily, there is a fix and it just takes a few simple steps to regain control of your personal data on a Windows 10-powered machine.
Microsoft, with its intense publicity and free upgrade to select users, managed to get up to 14 million devices onboard with Windows 10 in the first 24 hours. This certainly looks promising for the Redmond-based software titan that failed to ignite love for Windows with its previous iteration. But, the success of Windows 10 is not coming without a few roadblocks.
According to Microsoft's privacy statement in the service agreement, the company reveals in plain words that it "will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders)".
BGR reiterated the four main reasons why Microsoft keeps a close watch on its users and their data.
- "Comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies."
- "Protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud users of the services, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone."
- "Operate and maintain the security of our services, including to prevent or stop an attack on our computer systems or networks."
- "Protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services – however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft."
If it's any consolation, Microsoft said that it will not go through its users' private data but let the law enforcements handle such matters.
It is absolutely normal to be worried about the fact that everything you do on your Windows 10 computer is being spied on. Hence, Rock Paper Shotgun is offering a workaround to safeguard your personal data. The publication listed four main settings that has to be performed on your Windows 10 machine to regain your privacy:
To begin with, go to Settings, then Privacy and go through all the 13 screens to disable what seems distressing. Carefully go through the General tab to adjust the level of access Microsoft gets through Windows 10.
Secondly, users must be willing to make a sacrifice. Avoid using Cortana as it can risk your data while offering you a great voice-guided service.
Third important step is to turn off targeted advertising, while using Microsoft Edge browser. You can find two options "Personalised ads in this browser" and "Personalised ads wherever I use my Microsoft account" under Microsoft's ad preference settings.
Finally, dissociate your Microsoft account from Windows 10 to prevent cross-platform syncing. Rock Paper Shotgun recommends using a local account in place of Microsoft account.