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Windows 10 makes Google look like it still does no evil

Posted by on August 2, 2015.

I have no proof of this because I have done neither analysis nor comparison, but I often feel that the European Commission tends to favour Microsoft over Google. It seems to me that the EC is willing to praise Microsoft (such as over its declaration that European data will stay on European servers even though that makes not one jot of difference to US government access), while targeting Google (most people immediately assume the right-to-be-forgotten only affects Google).

But will, I wonder, Windows 10 change all that? At first glance, Windows 10 is no less intrusive than the worst of Google; and potentially more so since its basis is the operating system rather than just the browser. Microsoft, of course, claims it is protecting privacy by being straightforward and transparent in its privacy policy. In June, Horacio Gutierrez (corporate vice president and deputy general counsel in charge of the Products and Services division of Microsoft’s Legal and Corporate Affairs – phew), tweeted:


Here’s a recent comment on that from EDRi:

We copied and pasted the Microsoft Privacy Statement and the Services Agreement into a document editor and found that these “straightforward” terms are 22 and 23 pages long respectively. Summing up these 45 pages, one can say that Microsoft basically grants itself very broad rights to collect everything you do, say and write with and on your devices in order to sell more targeted advertising or to sell your data to third parties. The company appears to be granting itself the right to share your data either with your consent “or as necessary”.
Microsoft’s new small print – how your personal data is (ab)used

And as for the transparency, Alec Meer commented July 30:

There is no world in which 45 pages of policy documents and opt-out settings split across 13 different Settings screens and an external website constitutes “real transparency.”
Windows 10 Is Spying On You: Here’s How To Stop It

From Microsoft itself on Cortana:

Microsoft collects and uses various types of data, such as your device location, data from your calendar, the apps you use, data from your emails and text messages, who you call, your contacts and how often you interact with them on your device. Cortana also learns about you by collecting data about how you use your device and other Microsoft services, such as your music, alarm settings, whether the lock screen is on, what you view and purchase, your browse and Bing search history, and more.

Alec Meer adds,

I most definitely am not cool with this:

“We 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), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to.”

You’ll be getting the picture by now. Microsoft has clearly decided that it can only compete with Google by becoming just as evil as the evil emperor itself. Alec Meer (quoted above) gives some tips on how to preserve your privacy under Windows 10. There are more tips here: My own recommendation is simple: don’t install it.

Not yet, at least. Given the EC’s antagonism towards Google, let’s wait until it unleashes the dogs on Microsoft, and forces a U-turn in, or serious modification to, these policies. Yeah, but actually, I won’t be holding my breath.

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Submitted in: Expert Views, Kevin Townsend's opinions | Tags: , , ,